We have compiled a list of the stated values that define some famous companies.
Table of Contents
The AppDirect founders built the whole company based on values. They take them very seriously. The company is notable for growing from 0 to a $1B valuation within about 5 years.
Clearly, to have true focus on the customer—which I’ll point out means not focusing on ourselves or shareholders—we must show humility. We must be willing to humbly ask our customers for feedback. The definition of quality that I prefer the most is “The extent that a product or feature meets or exceeds the needs and wants of our customers, as perceived by the customer.” I don’t know who to attribute this quote to, I wish I did. But it is a definition that I have been using for years. How can we possibly know whether or not we are perceived as a quality organization, unless we ask our customers and are willing to listen to the feedback and act on it with humility?
From an ownership point of view, we own the vision and direction of our product. We own the quality of that product. We must step up to that ownership visibly for the customer, in order for them to trust us. This is not a case of “the customer is always right” (a cliché that I do not hold with), but more “the customer is always heard.” We must seek customer feedback, but we own what we do with that feedback. If our customers ask for something that is not in keeping with our vision, we must be willing to be transparent with our customers and tell them “no.” It is always best to set appropriate expectations with our customers, even if it isn’t what they want to hear.
From ownership I want to move directly to true north, because I think it’s a natural corollary to ownership. I apply the concept of true north to customer focus as meaning always doing what is right for our customers, even if they don’t know themselves what that is. We have a great responsibility to our customers to be at the top of our industry. After all, the whole reason they come to us to provide them with a cloud service commerce solutions is that we’re the experts and they expect us to continue to be the experts. So truly owning customer focus means executing against our true north value, and always moving the product and company in the direction of true north to the benefit of our customers.
Positive Mental Attitude
Ok, this is an easy one. PMA and customer focus means that we always have to engage our customers with a smile on our face and a positive, can-do attitude. Even at those times when they’re asking for something unrealistic. The point here is that if we allow ourselves to slip on this, even just internally, any negative mental attitude will be perceptible to the customers, albeit subtly. This will do nothing but undermine their trust in us.
To me this means two things: First to always be willing to do whatever it takes to make our customers successful; and second, to always have the intensity to keep customer focus first and foremost. This is about not taking shortcuts that could be potentially harmful to our customers. This is about holding the quality bar high for our customers. Every customer I’ve spoken with has said that they would prefer to wait for a release instead of getting a buggy one.
Trust is our number one value and fundamental to our success. We are serious about creating and maintaining trusted connections with our customers, and do whatever it takes to keep their data secure. We communicate transparently with every customer and engage intelligently with our technology to ensure all information is safe and secure. We’ve worked hard to build a foundation of trust with our customers, and it’s our job to protect that trust at all times.
Do you know about trust.salesforce.com? You do now! All of our customers can visit this site to get real-time information on our system performance and security. You get live performance data, information on how we safeguard data, and security best practices.
Here are some other ways we keep Trust top of mind all the time at Salesforce:
- We have a Global Ethics and Integrity site
- We make all employees complete Annual Security Awareness Training
- We require Two-Factor Authentication to access our Salesforce systems
- We require badging into all of our offices and floors
Drive down a highway or pass through an airport in cities where we have lots of customers, and you’re likely to see a Salesforce ad that reads “The Customer Success Company.”
This means we are customer centric, customer focused, and dare we say, customer obsessed!
We live by the motto, “Customers first.” Customers are the reason behind everything we do, because at the end of the day, their success is our success. Our customers are our business, the key to our success, and our guiding light. They are a part of our extended family—the Ohana—and it’s our mission and honor to help them succeed.
Salesforce employees live and breathe this dedication to our customers, and to each other. This shows up in the way we pitch in, collaborate, and have each others’ backs. It also means meeting and showing our customers what’s possible to achieve with our products.
In turn, our customers:
- drive us to constantly invent different ways to surprise and delight them
- motivate us to dream up new applications, create new clouds, and build new capabilities
- provide us feedback that propels us to constantly improve
Thinking differently is in our DNA. Our leaders encourage us, and we encourage each other, to challenge the status quo, work outside of our comfort zones, and pursue initiatives that have the potential to influence the way we do business. Our passionate spirit of innovation binds us together and enables us to achieve extraordinary things.
At Salesforce, we like to think big—really huge! We innovate technology and innovate every day how we do our work, make decisions, and support our employees.
We think about things with fresh eyes, looking at problems from all angles with a “beginner’s mind.” With everything we do, we first ask ourselves, “If we were to start this company today, is this the way we would do it?” And if not, then we pivot and do it the way we should.
It’s this innovation mindset that has led to our being recognized by Forbes in 2015 as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for the fifth year in a row. Over the years we’ve been recognized for our innovations in technology as well as our company initiatives such as advancing women in the workplace.
Other ways we take innovation to heart include:
- Rolling out three releases per year, taking customer input to continuously innovate our products so they serve our customers needs better and better
- Acquiring people and products through acquisitions to fuel technology and product innovation
- Creating a Chatter group called “Airing of Grievances” where our employees can call out their concerns and grievances to help drive positive change
- Paid Time On for our technology and product employees to spend time working on innovative ideas and passion projects
Giving back is more than just what we do at Salesforce. It’s who we are. It’s a value we hold close to our hearts that is driven by our integrated 1-1-1 philanthropic model, and it comes to life through salesforce.org. We create impact throughout our global communities to improve the state of the world by leveraging our technology, resources and people.
From the beginning, our founders, Marc Benioff and Parker Harris, wanted Salesforce employees to feel they had a purpose and meaning in their work. And, that everyone—including the communities we live in and serve—would benefit from Salesforce’s success. We believe that by working together, we can truly improve the state of the world.
When the company started in 1999, giving 1% of product, founding equity, and employee time seemed like a small way to give back. Today, through our tremendous growth and adapted social enterprise model, we’ve been able to give back in ways that seemed unimaginable then. Our philanthropic philosophy is spreading like wildfire. Many other companies, including Google, VMware, and Workday, have adopted our 1-1-1 model through an initiative called Pledge 1%.
Equality for All
We passionately believe in equal treatment for all. In order for Salesforce to thrive, each of our employees must feel welcome, valued, and respected. Our diverse workforce gives us the unique perspectives, experiences, and talents we need to build the most innovative products and engage effectively with our customers and partners.
Every day we are striving to do better as we evolve as a company. We’re committed to building a more diverse workforce that mirrors the communities where we work and live. In that spirit, we are working to increase diversity at Salesforce across three fronts: equal pay, equal advancement, and equal opportunity.
- Equal Pay
- Equal Advancement
- Equal Opportunity
- Equal Rights for All
How many times have you promised yourself to hit the gym at lunch? Or after work? And it just doesn’t happen. Or take a mental break and go out for a walk. Maybe catch that yoga class?
It’s hard to take care of ourselves and each other when we’re all so busy. But at Salesforce, both mental and physical wellness is a priority. We know that to do our best work, we must first be happy and well.
- We are most productive and innovative when we are rested and refreshed
- We are more creative and passionate when we spend enough quality time with family and friends
- We can only truly invest in our customers and our technology once we invest in our own physical, mental, and emotional health
Salesforce offers all kinds of programs to help employees prioritize health and happiness, starting with a monthly Wellness Reimbursement that employees can use towards activities that promote their own wellness.
There can only be trust where there is transparency, so, at Salesforce, we always communicate openly and honestly. We are empowered to voice ideas and opinions in order to drive change within our company, industry, and communities.
We encourage our managers and employees to be open and receptive to feedback, while not shying away from the tough conversations. We provide our managers and employees with training and resources to help them cultivate their careers and engage in great career conversations.
Transparency is also at the heart of our company-wide goal setting process, the V2MOM (which stands for Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures). V2MOM is the way we align, prioritize and hold ourselves accountable for delivering meaningful work, and it helps every employee in the company understand how they contribute to our business goals.
The ability to voice your ideas and opinions, even on the Corporate V2MOM, and see how your work impacts the larger company builds trust and increases engagement. You can learn more in this blog by Marc Benioff, How to Create Alignment Within Your Organization.
To live Transparency at Salesforce, we:
- Invite employees to attend or watch the live webcast of our annual company kickoff, where we invite employees to provide feedback on the corporate goals
- Run quarterly, live-streamed all hands calls with our executive team
- Invite employees across the company to executive Town Halls
- Allow our employees to voice their ideas and opinions, no matter how controversial, on our company-wide chatter feed called “Airing of Grievances”
- Utilize feedback tools and the “Thanks” app which allows employees to publicly thank each other on Chatter for doing amazing work, helping others, and upholding our values
- Run bi-annual employee surveys to gather constructive feedback that will help keep Salesforce a great place to work
At Salesforce, we take our work seriously, but we try not to take ourselves too seriously.
We have the privilege of collaborating every day with talented, passionate peers, and we genuinely enjoy each others’ company. So when we achieve our goals, we celebrate! It’s our sense of fun and family that makes our workplace enjoyable, inspiring, and engaging. We love a healthy dose of fun to keep us going strong.
Fun at Salesforce looks like:
- Office celebrations
- Holiday parties
- Dreamforce parties
- Sporting events
- Vibe Ambassadors, employees around the globe who are passionate about bringing the fun to their offices
Netflix is another Fortune 500 company. It is one of my favorites, because they publicly published their values. This presentation is really worth reading. The theme for them is Freedom and Responsibility. Netflix published their values in 2009 and was one of the first companies to do that. They still follow their values today.
You make wise decisions (people, technical, business, and crea<ve) despite ambiguity
You identify root causes, and get beyond treating symptoms
You think strategically, and can articulate what you are, and are not, trying to do
You smartly separate what must be done well now, and what can be improved later
You listen well, instead of reacting fast, so you can better understand
You are concise and articulate in speech and writing
You treat people with respect independent of their status or disagreement with you
You maintain calm poise in stressful situations
You accomplish amazing amounts of important work
You demonstrate consistently strong performance so colleagues can rely upon you
You focus on great results rather than on process
You exhibit bias‐to‐action, and avoid analysis‐paralysis
You learn rapidly and eagerly
You seek to understand our strategy, market, subscribers, and suppliers
You are broadly knowledgeable about business, technology and entertainment
You contribute effectively outside of your specialty
You re‐conceptualize issues to discover practical solutions to hard problems
You challenge prevailing assumptions when warranted, and suggest better approaches
You create new ideas that prove useful
You keep us nimble by minimizing complexity and finding time to simplify
You say what you think even if it is controversial
You make tough decisions without excessive agonizing
You take smart risks
You question actions inconsistent with our values
You inspire others with your thirst for excellence
You care intensely about Netflix’ success
You celebrate wins
You are tenacious
You are known for candor and directness
You are non‐polical when you disagree with others
You only say things about fellow employees you will say to their face
You are quick to admit mistakes
You seek what is best for Netflix, rather than best for yourself or your group
You are ego‐less when searching for the best ideas
You make time to help colleagues
You share information openly and proactively
Amazon is famous for being a data-driven company.
Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.
Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job".
Invent and Simplify
Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by “not invented here". As we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time.
Are Right, A Lot
Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.
Learn and Be Curious
Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.
Hire and Develop The Best
Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.
Insist on the Highest Standards
Leaders have relentlessly high standards - many people may think these standards are unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and driving their teams to deliver high quality products, services and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed.
Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.
Bias for Action
Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.
Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size or fixed expense.
Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.
Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and anecdote differ. No task is beneath them.
Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.
Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.
Microsoft used to be one of the largest companies on the planet. And one day it also started from scratch. Their motto is "We Empower", somewhat similar to Netflix.
Integrity and honesty
Passion for customers, partners, and technology
Open and respectful with others and dedicated to making them better
Willingness to take on big challenges and see them through
Self-critical, questioning, and committed to personal excellence and self-improvement
Accountable for commitments, results, and quality to customers, shareholders, partners, and employees
One of values of Apple is being secretive. So they are not very public about their values. However, they published this.
We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products
We believe in the simple, not the complex
We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make
We participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution
We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us
We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot
We don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change
We want to work with great people
We hire great people and expect a lot from them
We create an environment where people can flourish and grow
We treat people with fairness and respect
We challenge each other's ideas openly
We value diversity in people and ideas
We are a quantitative company that uses data to make decisions
Technology innovation is our lifeblood
Build the world's best technology and products
We apply technology and creativity to solve important problems
Working at Google is fun
We expect our people to know and enjoy each other
We have a challenging/energetic work environment
We celebrate our successes and each other's accomplishments - both professional and personal
Be actively involved; you are Google
We openly communicate and trust you with a great deal of information and we expect you to honor our confidentiality
Understand when you are representing Google and act appropriately
Don't take success for granted
Think and act like an underdog
Be humble with success; don't be arrogant
Be scrappy and resourceful
Do the right thing; don't be evil
Honesty and integrity in all we do
Our business practices are beyond reproach
We make money by doing good things
Earn customer and user loyalty and respect every day
Create, enhance and maintain great products and services
Sustainable long-term growth and profitability are key to our success
Think scale and efficiency
Every dollar is yours
Do things that matter
Google cares about and supports the communities where we work and live
We encourage and enable our people to support local community involvement and expect them to participate
Toyota is one of the first (if not the first) modern companies which actually started from guiding principles.
Always be faithful to your duties, thereby contributing to the company and to the overall good
Always be studious and creative, striving to stay ahead of the times
Always be practical and avoid frivolousness
Always strive to build a homelike atmosphere at work that is warm and friendly
Always have respect for spiritual matters, and remember to be grateful at all times
Agile and SCRUM
This is not a company, however, these are famous guiding principles.
There are several documents online. Here is the original Agile Manifesto. Here are Agile Values and Principles (the most well-known ones). And some folks had organized in SCRUM Alliance and came up with their values.
Because we focus on only a few things at a time, we work well together and produce excellent work. We deliver valuable items sooner.
Because we work as a team, we feel supported and have more resources at our disposal. This gives us the courage to undertake greater challenges.
As we work together, we express how we're doing, what's in our way, and our concerns so they can be addressed.
Because we have great control over our own destiny, we are more committed to success.
As we work together, sharing successes and failures, we come to respect each other and to help each other become worthy of respect.
And there always more values!