Finding Our Magic: How we developed our company values and brought them to life


Author: Jonathan Friedman

How we Developed our Company Values

Company value creation is often met with hesitation and chalked up as a useless exercise from HR. Is this really a priority? How will this help us develop better products or improve efficiency?

In truth, this is where we started our values journey, feeling a bit cynical.

However, I’m happy to say that our cynicism was quickly replaced with enthusiasm for our values, from leadership all the way down to our most junior Demostackers. How did we do it?

The Why

We first started with why. At Demostack, we strive to create a high-performance culture. One where employees are highly motivated, supported, and aligned with our mission, vision, and values.  Pay isn’t typically the reason that a person chooses to work at one company over another. And price isn’t necessarily the reason a protential customer selects a solution.  It’s our mission, vision, and values that make the difference.

While we had already articulated our mission and vision during our previous rebranding, our values were missing. And our values are our core set of beliefs that guide our actions and our day-to-day decision making.

Developing a core set of values enables us to achieve:

  • Our goal of becoming a high-performing workplace
  • Our mission to architect the next generation of product storytelling
  • Our vision to create a world where anyone has the power to tell immersive product stories

And ensures our unique culture scales with us as we grow - keeping that same Demostack magic since day one.

The How

After aligning on the why, we kicked off our company values journey with our three founders and a virtual whiteboard, placing stickies on the board as we debated what values make us uniquely Demostack.

Lucky for us, we didn’t have to start from scratch or approach this as an exercise to dream up the world’s best set of values, but rather one to capture the essence of who we are and what we believe as Demostackers.  We noticed we already had some circulating lingo that felt very real and organic to depict this “magic.”

So, we ran a small focus group with a few early team members to ensure these values resonated with their experience and captured the essence of what it is to be a Demostacker. Then we incorporated their feedback to formulate our final six values:

  1. Signature Finish
  2. Run on Trust
  3. Dream it, Do it
  4. Create Stars
  5. Speed and Simplicity
  6. Captain your Ship

Then our design team helped us create these amazing visuals to represent each value using our unique brand. Who would have thought hands could be so expressive?

Living our Values

After creating our values, we didn’t want them to die on a poster board on the wall. So we are bringing them to life by:

1. Adding them to our website

We added our values on our website to hold ourselves accountable and communicate what we’re all about so you know who you’ll be working with before you join us as a Demostacker or a partner. We want to be transparent in who we are and what we believe as an organization.

2. Launching peer-to-peer recognition

We launched a peer-to-peer recognition tool allowing everyone in the organization to start using the new language in their day-to-day and celebrate those demonstrating our values.

3. Developing Zoom/ Meets backgrounds

Our design team created awesome Zoom/ Meets backgrounds so we can all have a little fun with our values by displaying a value background that speaks to you that day!

4. Creating emojis to celebrate

We also created value emojis so employees can celebrate one another as they live our values. Who doesn’t love a fun emoji? This works especially well in our Slack channels.

And it doesn’t stop there. We will continue to weave our values into everything we do and across the stages of our talent lifecycle.

The Impact

Our values have created a shared language for our global team to come together, discuss what we believe, and how we show up as Demostackers.

It’s not easy to find language to describe how things feel. It’s also challenging to write down values since it forces you to look in the mirror and ask yourself if indeed, everyone in the company embodies them. It’s actually an important part of the exercise. It’s ok to list some of the values you don’t 100% exemplify but you strive to display.

Overall, we're incredibly happy with how our organization received our values and the positive feedback we received from our Demostackers. Now, we're excited to live out our values each day.

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