The Importance of Being Just

At Percolate, we have a short set of values that define and guide who we are, how we work, and the decisions we make. They’re listed on our blog, they hang on the wall, but, most importantly, they exist through our people, representing attributes we actively look to develop and hire for.

One of those foundational values is “just,” commonly defined as “not doing wrong to any; violating no right or obligation; upright; righteous; honest; true.” As a startup, one of the original inspirations for “just” comes from a tradition of blameless post mortem reviews of errors and company mistakes, kick-started by our founders, Noah and James. The goal of any startup (any company or team, really) should be to always question assumptions, try to understand root problems, and solve for the system’s failures, rather than laying blame on an individual. When you push people to create important change, it’s only fair to also focus on the community and context where that change needs to succeed.

We’ve always strived to embody this value of “just” at Percolate, but sometimes it’s important to reaffirm your beliefs and remind yourself why they really matter.

Looking at the world, or just looking around the office at the type of company you want to build and the people you want to build it with, it’s clear that being just — practicing it, upholding it and standing side-by-side with others who want to spread the same kindness, truth and fairness — is one of the most important things you can do.

And thinking about what it means to be just should make it clear a truly just company, organization or team does a few specific things that go beyond HR mottos or talking points on a poster:

— It champions diversity, tolerance, and equal treatment of people, regardless of where they’re from, who they love, how they look or what they believe.

— It encourages its employees to run fast, be fearless, work hard and be judged on the merits of their contributions, not on external factors connected to their identity or culture.

— It builds community and goodwill through its brand, actions, people and relationships.

Being just strengthens thoughtfulness, and it’s critical to the success of a culture, which is something we believe and work to practice wholeheartedly at Percolate. Even more than that, being just helps Percolate (and other, likeminded startups) play the right role in the broader, more accepting world we want to see and create together. Fundamentally, being just is simply the right way to treat one another. It’s who we are, and it’s the type of workplace, community and brand we strive to be.