Shared values and principles are the driving force behind any successful team. I hold certain values dear, not only in my professional life but also in my personal interactions. These are not attributes that I always embody perfectly, but they are principles that I constantly strive to uphold.
5 of My Values
- Victory is winning people, not defeating others.
- Bring people together towards a common purpose.
- Working on projects with others is more productive, innovative and fun than working solo.
- No problem is solely someone else’s problem.
- Goodness is everywhere and in everyone.
Victory Through Unity
One principle I hold close to my heart is the idea that victory means winning people over, not defeating others. I believe in the power of bringing people together towards a common purpose. Working collaboratively on projects isn’t just about being productive or innovative—it’s also about fostering a spirit of camaraderie and shared excitement.
This approach extends to how we handle challenges. In any organization, it can be tempting to see a problem as someone else’s responsibility, but this mindset only serves to create divisions and stall progress. Instead, I believe that no issue should be viewed as solely someone else’s problem. Every challenge presents an opportunity to learn, grow, and build stronger bridges within our team.
The Power of Positivity and Curiosity
I seek goodness in every situation and every individual. Each of us carries a unique spark of creativity and resilience, and tapping into these strengths can bring tremendous benefits to our collective endeavors.
Curiosity fuels my approach to both life and work. As a lifelong learner, I value the power of continuous education, always looking to broaden my knowledge and skills. Every interaction, every challenge, and every success provides a new opportunity for learning.
Similarly, I find that a curious, non-judgmental mindset helps in interpersonal relations. Rather than assuming incompetence or bad intentions on the part of others, I aim to give the benefit of the doubt and try to understand their perspective. It’s essential to remember that we often don’t fully comprehend their circumstances or motivations.
Qualities I aspire to maintain, develop, and grow
- Lifelong learning
- Giving others benefit of doubt
- Don’t assume bad intentions or incompetence on the other person’s part. Often we don’t understand their reasons.
- There is something good to learn from everyone.
- Do not consider others to be incompetent. Infighting is harmful. Value collaboration, collective ownership and courtesy.
- I’m a connector: I like to connect with people and connect people with each other.
- I approach the world with curiosity and wonder.
- Lead by example.
Building a Safe, Diverse, and Collaborative Environment
My values align perfectly with Google’s findings about successful teams: psychological safety is key. This sense of safety fosters an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their ideas, asking questions, and taking risks. Further reading:
- What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team
- The five keys to a successful Google team
- Guide: Understand team effectiveness at Google
Diversity of thought, opinion, and viewpoints is not just beneficial—it is critical to the success of our work. A variety of perspectives help us to avoid groupthink and promote innovative problem-solving.
This diversity should not give rise to power struggles or internal conflict. Our energy should be focused on dealing with external competition, not infighting, which can be the downfall of any team.
Leading by Example: From Personal Values to PDE Values
As a leader, I believe it’s crucial to lead by example and reflect these values in my actions. I enjoy connecting with people and facilitating connections between others, fostering a culture of collaboration, collective ownership, and mutual respect.
These personal values naturally translate into my professional domain, guiding Product, Data, Design, and Engineering (PDE) team values. We see ourselves as stewards of the product and take shared ownership of our work. Compassion and curiosity underpin our approach to different viewpoints, and we prioritize psychological safety, diversity, and inclusion.
Personal and professional values play an integral role in shaping our actions, decisions, and overall outlook. By championing values such as unity, curiosity, positivity, safety, diversity, and collaboration, we can build successful, innovative, and happy teams. Because at the end of the day, we should love where we work and take pride in the quality of our work, knowing that it makes a difference.
- No problem at our organization is somebody else’s problem.
- We are stewards of the product and share ownership.
- We bring teams together towards a shared purpose.
- The key to successful teams is psychological safety.
- We approach other viewpoints with compassion and curiosity.
- We should not badmouth others behind their backs.
- We should love working here.
- We should take pride in the quality of our work.
- We should focus and avoid context switching.
- We will not be afraid to share bad news.
- Diversity & inclusion are moral values.
- We lead by example.
These PDE values can be tailored to teams within PDE, each aligning with the shared values of our organization while maintaining their unique focuses.
In the realm of engineering, these shared values translate into specific focus areas. Our products must function well for users with minimal downtime. We strive for speed and safety in making changes, and we emphasize reliability, resilience, performance, and security. Collective ownership extends to our code and architecture, and we aim to make a genuine difference through our work. As technology evolves, we adapt and empower our teams to make their own decisions, guided by a transparent architectural strategy.
- Our products should work well for our users with minimal downtime.
- We should be able to make changes quickly and easily yet safely.
- Reliability, resilience, performance, and security are integral.
- We promote collective ownership of our code and architecture.
- Our work should make a difference.
- We should adapt as technology changes.
- We empower teams to make their own decisions.
- A broader architectural strategy that should be transparent to all.
Design & User Research
In the world of Design and User Research, our PDE values manifest in a distinct but harmonious manner. We prioritize creating user-centric designs that deliver exceptional experiences. Every design decision we make is fueled by curiosity about our users and a deep understanding of their needs, habits, and desires. We are not afraid to experiment and iterate, as we believe in the power of continuous learning and improvement. This iterative process, underpinned by thorough and empathetic user research, allows us to consistently enhance our product’s value and usability.
Diversity and inclusion play a significant role in shaping our design philosophy. We respect and value the myriad perspectives of our users, and strive to create inclusive designs that cater to a broad audience. Furthermore, within our team, we foster an environment of psychological safety and collaboration, where every idea is welcome and every voice is heard. This empowers us to collectively deliver designs that not only meet, but exceed, our users’ expectations.
At the core, our Design and User Research team takes immense pride in our work, viewing each project as an opportunity to positively impact our users’ lives and experiences. We strive to love working here, promoting a culture of passion, creativity, and mutual respect that reflects in the high-quality designs we deliver.