jml's notebook


The organizational kind, not the other kind.

I was chatting with someone who worked with me at a previous company that had a lot of great employees. The subject ranged to hiring new people, and the topic of our old corporate values came up.

For reference, these included: reliable; rigorous; precise. The people at that company actually did generally display these virtues, and it would have been very hard to succeed there without them.

Today, I'd say that these are not values I particularly prize, but rather things I find almost necessary. It's much more difficult for me to work with an unreliable person who communicates in vagaries and regularly leaves gaps in their work or reasoning.

But on the other hand, if I were interviewing a candidate, I'd never say "Wow that person really showed great rigour".

Another organization I know has "gumption" as a value. That's something I would prize, as long as it wasn't confused with beating ones head against a wall.

I wonder if it makes sense to have two sets of values. The first are the necessary ones, without which one cannot succeed. These are likely to be revealed in how people behave already. The second are aspirational, the kind of people we want to be.