Values Eat Culture for Breakfast

So often today the conversation around building a great company centers around building a great culture. But is culture really something that can be created? I don’t think so.

I believe culture is the manifestation of the collective values of the people that make up the company. Each individual brings with them a set of values that drive their behavior and thinking. When you put together the behavior and thinking of all the individuals, we describe the result as the “culture” of the company.

Culture doesn’t exist in a company on its own,
it results from the Values of the people involved.

I spent a lot of time trying to create and control our culture at Orchestra Software before I figured this out. It wasn’t until we clearly identified our values that it become clear what drove our culture and what we needed to do to influence it.

I often get asked “What’s the culture like at Orchestra?” It used to be a very hard questions to answer…without sounding like you are describing any other tech company. I used to describe our workplace and the open floor plan, or how we had fun events, or even that we had beer on tap (we make beer software, but even law firms have beer on tap nowadays).

But then I realized what sets us apart is not our culture, it’s our values! So if you ask me today “What’s the culture like at Orchestra?”, this is my answer:

To understand Orchestra’s Culture, you have to look at our Values. I believe values are the foundation that determines the culture. Orchestra’s core values are: Customer First, Continuous Improvement, Authenticity, Teamwork, and Integrity. So let’s look at how each of these drives our culture.

Customer First -> Obsession with the Customer’s Experience

At Orchestra, a key value is Customer First, so you’ll find that a big part of our culture is an obsession with our customers’ experience. You will find a team of people that are constantly talking and thinking about the experience of our customers. You will overhear conversations about how our customers experience our website, how they view the implementation process, or what it’s like to call support when they have an issue. This obsession drives us to create the world’s best software for breweries and distilleries and to optimize the entire experience of working with us.

Continuous Improvement -> Constant Change

Our second value is Continuous Improvement, which manifests itself as a culture of constant change. You will find that our processes, products, and structure is always in flux, as we seek to make the business and the customer’s experience better and better. Our culture of change and progress makes for a dynamic place to work that is driven by the value of constantly improving ourselves and our business.

Authenticity -> Diversity

Our third value is Authenticity, which drives a culture of diversity focused on people’s strengths. We encourage each person to understand who they are and what they want out of life and work, so that we can leverage that innate uniqueness in each person to its fullest. This culture of accepting diverse ideas enables us to be comfortable in our transparency and the constant change we experience. Because each person knows we value their authenticity, they are free to propose ideas on how to improve the customer experience.

Teamwork -> Collaboration

Our fourth value is Teamwork, which drives the collaborative culture here. We believe that an individual does their best work when they are part of a team, so we have a culture of working together to improve the customer experience. Our type of collaboration is often described with quirky terms like “carefrontation” and “abrasive collaboration”, because our people are comfortable debating issues passionately when it is founded in our values of Customer First and Continuous Improvement.

Integrity -> Good People

Our value on Integrity manifests as a culture of “doing what’s right”. Having a culture grounded in the value of integrity enables everyone on the team to be comfortable always doing what they believe is the right thing to do. Knowing that we value integrity breeds a culture of trust, respect, and compassion for each other, our customers, and our partners.

Put all our Values together and the result is the Culture that you’ll experience at Orchestra.

At Orchestra, you will find a culture obsessed with the customer experience, where good people change rapidly by collaborating around diverse thinking.

We have achieved this culture by stating our values and ensuring that everyone on the team embodies them everyday.

You can’t create, maintain, or influence the Culture without first focusing on the Values.

Cheers,

Brad Windecker
CEO | Founder — Orchestra Software

To learn more about the impact our culture has on our customers, check out what our customers say about us at www.orchestratedbeer.com