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All roads lead to (core) values

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Last week, I advised on the right way to ask about company culture. It takes the right question and the right answer—one that tells a story about the company that is truly unique to them.

So here’s something that happened to us that doesn’t happen everywhere:

When we moved offices from a startup incubator in downtown Washington, D.C. to Bethesda, Md. last October, Scott (our stellar co-founder) wrote up an internal article called “Why the New Office?” In it, he gave six reasons why.

Wait a minute…

Ahh—Stories Incorporated has six core values. Here’s a sample of the article:

4) Taking the Long View

1776 is great, but it’s tailored to a different type of company than what we are. You probably noticed all the sessions at 1776 that focus on raising investment. One undesirable part about going the venture capital route is that you have to answer to investors, and unfortunately those investors often have much shorter time horizons than what we’re trying to build here. Anyway, we think that stepping away from the fundraising frenzy of 1776 will help us focus on delighting our customers over the long haul.

Not only did the brief article make a world of difference in answering questions we had, it reminded me of our values and encouraged me to continue evaluating my decisions against them.

I’m not saying that top executives don’t link major decisions to core values. CEO Roman Arnold, of UK bike company Canyon, recently wrote an apology to customers and team members. In it, he outlined mistakes made and how they will achieve the promised core values of greater transparency and better service in the future.

If you’re looking to redevelop or reinforce your core values in a more effective way, take a peek at how Kasasa did it through video. Their story of the “Wolf Pack” making frantic calls and charging toward a midnight contract goal on New Year’s Eve shows a collaborative, crazy, fun-filled night that happened at Kasasa (and one wouldn’t happen at just any company). Send me an email to get in touch about core values at