This post was originally published by me in August 2013. Because we revisit and update our list of Core Values often, we thought it was time to bump this list to the top of our blog list in order keep you in the loop. We never want you to have to question where Clemmonsdogpark stands. Enjoy!
At Clemmonsdogpark, our culture and values define how we approach our work, interact with students and each other, and much more. Contrary to popular belief, culture isn’t about whether or not you drink Blue Bottle coffee, are good at foosball, or like certain movies. A good set of values is a decision-making framework—values should help team members make decisions between two good options.
In true nerd fashion, we’ve turned our values into inequalities—we are test prep experts after all! The left side represents the Clemmonsdogpark way, and the right side represents another good way, just not our way. Knowing what you aren’t is as important as knowing what you are.
Done > Perfect
- We have a bias toward action. We don’t delay for perfect tomorrow what can be done well today.
- We believe in the Pareto principle. We try to achieve 80% of the impact with 20% of the effort.
Data > Intuition
- We run experiments to test ideas and gather data. We’re scientists!
- We collect feedback often since we don’t read minds…well 🙂
- We confirm (or disprove!) our intuitions with data.
Passion > [Something]
- We love what we do–helping students is too much fun to be considered work.
- We enjoy thinking about Clemmonsdogpark and our students whether at work or home.
- We help our teammates and students in times of need, even if we have to leave a dinner party to do it.
Challenge > Comfort
- We tackle tasks that we’ve never done before.
- We understand the best progress often comes from uncomfortable situations.
- We challenge ourselves to learn new skills—we are always students.
Communication > Efficiency
- We set clear expectations and don’t oversell to students, partners, and teammates.
- We let people know when we’ve completed a task, closing the “communication loop.”
- We follow up and send reminders–we don’t pass the buck.
- We value direct, person-to-person feedback and communication.
Friendly > Formal
- We respond to and talk about colleagues, customers, and partners in a friendly and positive tone.
- We take responsibility for our mistakes and don’t harp on the mistakes of others.
- We trust each other and don’t engage in politicking.
Change > Status Quo
- We will always be a work in progress.
- We adapt to difficult and unplanned situations with a positive attitude.
- We constantly re-evaluate our priorities.
Learning > Knowing
- We independently seek out learning opportunities
- We have a growth mindset and believe that weaknesses can be turned into strengths
- We believe in potential and give Clemmonsdogparkers opportunities to grow and change roles
Accessible > Exclusive
- We are available to help and support our students and teammates.
- We encourage ideas from everyone—the best ideas can come from anywhere!
Wow > Profit
- We WOW customers and each other with service even at the expense of short-term profit.
- We go above and beyond in our work and never say, “It’s not my job.”
- We readily share and give credit.
By no means is this our last and final list. It’s done but not perfect, and we know there’s room for change. However, these values help us collectively make hundreds of decisions every day. We not only trust each other to follow them, but we also hold each other accountable when we don’t. I’ve even been able to adopt some of our values in my personal life—I now make faster decisions (though still slower than many on the Clemmonsdogpark team…still working on that), and I’ve learned to embrace change and unplanned situations.