My name is Veronica and, as of a few months ago I am the astruonaut leading Truora’s content strategy. In most cases, I’d say that a few months isn’t much time. But, I’ve found that when I’m with Truora time behaves differently than in your typical day. Frankly, I wouldn’t describe many of the things that happen at Truora as typical. If anything, we’re exactly the opposite. Modesty aside...

Time here seems to be almost as short as it is long. On the one hand, there never seems to be enough to give life to our countless ideas. On the other hand, with the impossible amount of things we accomplish in the span of a single week, you might think we are adding something special to our coffee. And I can tell you we aren’t.

We make the most of our time here. In the last few months not only did I join the team, but we’ve also brought two new astruonauts in UI/UX onboard, a few engineers, and several important clients. We also closed our first Growth Week, an internal competition to generate growth ideas and strengthen the team by throwing everyone in the deep-end together. Finally, we celebrated an important milestone: we reached our (aggressive) revenue target for 2019.

Our time and energy seem to grow with the arrival of new faces and challenges. We find time to celebrate, enjoy ourselves and, you might not believe it… teach and help. The team’s motivation and attitude are contagious and it pushes me to learn and improve. It’s easy to get lost in your work when you are part of such a passionate group.

This all might sound over-the-top, but Truora, our founders, and especially our culture deliver more than the hype. Without our leaders and the values they carefully and intentionally instilled in our beloved Truniverse the company wouldn’t be what it is today.

I wouldn’t put our culture on display if I didn’t truly believe it to be one of our biggest strengths. Even more, our founder’s dedication to this culture and its foundational values make it something worth highlighting.

These values are precisely what I want to explore with this post.

What Are Our Values?

Four carefully chosen values define our Truniverse. Every value helps to build a work environment where each member of the team feels energized, heard, valued, and above all empowered with the resources they needs to succeed.

 Trust

Our first value is Trust. We feel that we can turn to every member of the team at any moment for advice, an opinion, or results. A large part of this is grounded in transparency. We all know what our teammates are working on, whether they’re at the same desk, in another functional area, or in another country. The communication is clear across all levels of the organization. Daniel, our CEO, invites us to his meetings in an effort to grow our view of the business and to develop beyond our roles. New business and product developments are shared in our weekly All Hands meeting which, as the name suggests, is company-wide.

If Truora gains a client or makes a painful mistake, everyone knows. And each case is used as a teachable moment to make us better for the next one. Our relationship with our clients is equally forthcoming. We believe that openness is a catalyst.

Ownership

Each one of us acts as an owner, because we are. We are owners of our time, our work, and our results. But, beyond that, we are also owners of the company and we are wholeheartedly committed  to seeing it grow.

This commitment is grounded in humility. Being owners doesn’t go to our heads and it doesn’t come with entitlement. We roll up our sleeves to earn it no matter what.

 Straight Talk

Our suggestion box is delivered live and direct. Everyone gives and receives frank and open feedback without hurt and with understanding. If criticism isn’t actionable, presented at the right time, or backed with concrete examples, it isn’t voiced.

This means that we need to reflect on the feedback we receive and put it into practice. There are always ways to improve at Truora, and this relentless pursuit of learning and betterment (whether it be personal or professional) are a keystone of our culture.

 Grit

Our fourth and final value is, for me, the most important: Grit. At Truora, we face challenges with courage. We are a resilient team for which no obstacle is insurmountable. We are in a constant search to achieve results and we don’t bow our heads to adversity. Why is this important? Because nothing is permanent. Tomorrow there could be another competitor, a government could change the rules of the game, the economy could go south, the market becomes saturated, currency devalued, a better technology invented, you name it. Nothing is written in stone.

We can’t control these things, but we can control our reactions. Having optimism and drive make the difficult and uncertain times easier to bear and force us to receive the successful and happy ones with gratitude and humility.

An Important Thing About the Culture of a Startup

If you are fortunate, your startup will grow at an impossible pace. This growth will help to bring in investors and to calm the anxieties of the founders and other stakeholders. But it is bittersweet: it comes with growing pains that can strain your culture.

If you want your values to have staying power, they must be intentional. Instill them early on when the team is small and every member personally knows the stories that founded them. If your team is coming apart because the company starts to reward things it doesn’t believe in, because they don’t personally identify with the values, or because these values were not explained and demonstrated, it may not be too late. But it is much harder to course correct as your company grows.

I couldn’t overemphasize the importance of organizational culture. This importance and my pride for what defines our Truniverse, are the motivation for describing these values. My logic is:

  1. Describing our values clearly makes sure our team is aligned.
  2. If anyone is interested in joining our team, they’ll have clear expectations and there won’t be any surprises.
  3. 1 and 2 will make us happier and more committed astruonauts.

See how I keep going on about “us?” It’s because I feel part of something bigger than me, where the team’s work is above the individual’s. I do it so often that I barely notice anymore and I hope that everyone reading this post feels how special it is to be part of such a warm, energetic and wonderful team.

You can learn more about our culture and how join the team here.