This post is about the company principles that we believe in and strive for. During one of my weekly reviews, I was struck by how I’d made some recent decisions. These were all about company issues like the internal discussion about our #NoOffice approach, meeting with team mates in May, and some business-related topics. I felt like I hadn’t been consistent. I wasn’t sure if I had been right and, actually, why I’d made the decisions I had.
The answer came quickly: no, I couldn’t be consistent because my principles, or really, our company principles, hadn’t been properly articulated yet. We needed to get this done. We needed a list.
Our goal is clear: to help people get everything done. The thing is, how do we want to achieve it? I believe that if you, Nozbe users, knew our values, you would better understand why we do what we do.
No Office - Work is not a place to go, it’s a thing you do.
Our Mission: to help teams and individuals communicate through tasks to get more done and enjoy a better work-life balance.
We promote communicating through tasks as the primary and most efficient way to achieve common goals.
Even if you’re getting things done on your own, you are actually communicating through tasks between “yourself from today” and “yourself from the future.”
Our goal is clear: to help people get everything done. The thing is, how do we want to achieve it? (Click to tweet)
1. We are free
- We are free to work from anywhere (any country, city, place, home or other spot).
- We are free to choose when we work (day or night, or in between).
- We are free to choose the tools we use for our work (nope, not everyone has to use only an iPad like I do :-)
We want our teammates to work their best. On their best schedule and in their preferred environment. We are only limited by respecting the team’s needs. We are all obliged to work the hours that we are paid for, but we choose those hours.
To help us with all this, the company helps pay for our tools (both hardware and software) because we need the best ones to help us get things done.
2. We trust each other
“Control is good, but trust is better.” We trust that everyone is 100% engaged in their work as a team, since we’re on the same boat, right?
We can’t control each other 100%, it’s technically impossible even in an office. So we refuse to control at all. We prefer to trust. It’s a conscious choice. Instead of putting effort into controlling, we put it into working on our app. We want to deliver the best product we can for our users.
We are a small team, so the contribution of every person is crucial. Each person’s success is a part of Nozbe’s success, so we have to make sure we remember how important every person’s actions are.
We are open to criticism. And we criticize too. But we always attack a problem, not a person. We want to find a solution, not to prove anything or win an argument.
3. We work asynchronously
- We spend the majority of the time asynchronously.
- We delegate only tasks that are well described.
- We only schedule meetings when needed and when we’re prepared for them.
Asynchronous work guarantees more focus on a task. It allows us to go deeper, to reach flow. We try not to interrupt or disrupt each other if it isn’t necessary (usually it’s not). We follow our own tips and precisely describe every delegated task. It saves time spent on questions and clarification. We use comments extensively.
Slack, Zoom and other tools have only a supporting role at Nozbe. The rule is: make a task, then send a message. We schedule virtual meetings only if they are really required and we are prepared for them. Even fixed, scheduled meetings don’t have to happen if there isn’t anything to discuss or decide that couldn’t be discussed and decided in another, more asynchronous way. We follow The Pyramid of Communication.
4. We are mobile
- We use mobile devices.
- We can work from anywhere. I mean, anywhere.
- We use solutions that support a mobile lifestyle.
We work on our favorite operating systems: Mac or PC, Android or iOS, desktop or tablet. Productive work must be done on a device a person knows well and feels good with.
The same freedom is given to Nozbe Users: we provide apps for six different operating systems (including watchOS) and a browser version.
For our work we choose cloud-based, multi-platform tools. This allows us to work wherever we want and have access to them anytime we need, from desktop or mobile. We see how much time people spend with their smartphones and tablets, so we pay close attention to making Nozbe as perfect as possible on mobile. Because we work remotely, we know how significant it really is to make Nozbe just work perfectly.
Control is good, but trust is better. (Click to tweet)
5. We live on the cutting edge
- We test the latest and greatest, both hardware and software.
- We investigate trends, test new solutions, and go where the puck is going to be.
- We keep learning, improving and automating things.
We live on the cutting edge. We treat using the newest hardware and software as our duty. If we are not going forward, we’re going backward. We love testing new things. Because we can’t predict the future, we want to test it and try it out ourselves.
We want to contribute. We learn new technologies, use new tools. That work is usually invisible to you. What we’re releasing today began many months ago. And we continuously correct our course, fix what isn’t working well and go an extra mile for our users.
6. We help others
- We are building a solution that helps people make the world a better and more organized place.
- We help each other to achieve our common goals.
- We help people around us who are not as fortunate as we are by saving part of our profits for charity work.
We help people by our nature. Thanks to Nozbe we are changing the world into a better place: it helps people get organized. It moves companies to a modern, more efficient way of doing business by communicating through tasks. Every day thousands of people sit at their computers and mobile devices and plan their day in Nozbe. And with Nozbe they get things done!
We help each other, but we as a team help others too. Each month we give 3% of our profits to the Nozbe Foundation. Next, we decide what to spend those savings on to make the biggest and most meaningful change.
7. We question everything
- We have the right to change our minds.
- We don’t stick with things because it’s always been done that way.
- We keep thinking of ways to disrupt and reinvent our business to keep taking it to a higher level.
The only constant thing is change. So we’re fixated on fixing things. We change our minds when the previous idea is worse than a new one. We question decisions when we feel something is going wrong. We don’t believe in “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” We experiment. We want to change, to improve and to run ahead.
We question everything based on trust. When we receive a task from a fellow teammate we trust they need this done, so we assume good faith and start doing the task. It’s only when we’re reviewing our results that we give them feedback and see if things could have been done better.
These are our principles.
We discussed them and approved them together as a team. They guide us and help us make better decisions. They might change over time (because we can always change our minds and question them), but the main path has been timeless and consistent for the last almost 10 years.
I’d love to to hear your feedback. How do you like our values?