Chapter 5. Creating Useful Organizational Values

Uber’s best known corporate value is probably Super Pumped, which, in addition to being a one-time company value is also the title of Mike Isaac’s account of Uber and the subsequent television show. However, personally, the value I remember most from Uber is Let Builders Build I particularly remember the handful of engineers who would claim that any objection to their proposals was a cultural failure to let them build what they wanted. This friction around a well-intentioned value shows just how challenging it can be to use values to operate a company.

As an Engineering executive, you will likely be involved in creating your company’s values, interpreting how those values apply to Engineering, and deciding whether Engineering has additional values of its own. In this chapter I will:

  • Clarify the kinds of problems that values solve effectively

  • Discuss whether organizations (such as Engineering) should have values distinct from company-wide values

  • Propose the ideal time to establish values

  • Provide a clear method for evaluating proposed values

  • Describe the distinction between Engineering values and your Engineering strategy

  • Share an approach for rolling values out

  • End with a discussion of the values that I’ve personally found effective within Engineering

Stated values possess no magic for cultural transformation, but with a bit of care they can be useful for consolidating cultural change that you’ve already made. You will leave this ...

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