The Simplesat Values
When the Sims team workshopped our values, we aimed to answer the question:
What strengths do we need to achieve remarkable results?
Our values aren’t showy, they’re not about building PR. This is what we truly care about.
Simplesat’s culture will keep growing and changing, but this is the crux of what drives us.
We are going to return to our values whenever the path forward seems unclear.
We also hope our values will appeal to like-minded partners. It’s a pleasure – and an education – to work with companies with a similar set of priorities.
Competence; the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.
At the most basic level, mastery means “being good at your job”. But we aim to do more than that.
The success of Simplesat relies on the contributions of every individual at the company. Each of us needs to keep growing and learning if we want Simplesat to thrive.
In practice, that means:
- Performing our primary tasks independently.
- Working together with others to achieve complex goals.
- Knowing when and how to ask for help.
- Solving problems in the most efficient way possible, utilizing all the resources at our disposal.
- Consistently delivering high-quality results.
- Continuing to learn new skills through reading, courses, videos, events, and deliberate practice.
- Being recognized as an expert in our field by customers and colleagues. Customer feedback is integral to Simplesat’s operations, and the glowing comments we receive tell us we’re on the right track.
- Always pushing ourselves to learn more and perfect our skills. That includes reading widely, keeping track of changes in the industry, and attending seminars or webinars.
- Being great at explaining complicated concepts in simple terms. Mastery also extends to in-company training sessions where we exchange expertise and learn from each other.
- Frequent, sloppy mistakes
- Stagnation over a long period of time
- Overreliance on others, e.g.: Why should I learn this new skill when my teammate is already an expert? She can do it for me.
It’s time to rethink our approach if:
- Our perfectionism creates bottlenecks or slows down operations too much.
- We lose track of Simplesat’s overarching goals, focusing only on whatever we’re most passionate about.
🏆 The rewards of mastery
Mastery is an intrinsic motivator – in other words, being great at our job is its own reward! It fills us with a sense of purpose and confidence, and it shapes the way we see ourselves. If we ever lose confidence, we can look at the evidence of our mastery and find motivation there. (This is one of the reasons consistent feedback is so important.)
But mastery also changes and improves our place within the team. Excelling at our jobs means earning trust and autonomy. A new Sim needs oversight and doesn’t necessarily get to choose his own goals and priorities. But as he advances and improves, he’ll receive more freedom and we’ll know we can rely on his knowledge and competence.
Creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.
Some of us find it easy to take initiative, while others are more comfortable in a supporting role. But regardless of temperament, everyone can be proactive.
Proactivity has two main components:
- We identify problems and solve them without needing to be told
- We take responsibility for our actions
Proactivity and mastery often go together. When we’re great at what we do, we don’t want to sit around waiting for direction. We see the way forward, and we make suggestions about the best ways to change things. And conversely, the more proactive we are, the better we get at our job. We’re not afraid to ask questions and we seize new opportunities to grow.
This leads to continuous improvement on a company level. The only way a business can grow (or get started, for that matter) is if someone stands up and says: Let’s make this happen.
[Proactivity] is about taking responsibility for your life. Proactive people recognize that they are “response-able.” They don’t blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. They know they can choose their behavior. Reactive people, on the other hand, are often affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behavior. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather.
- Taking responsibility for things under our control. We should always avoid blaming others (or outside factors) when something goes wrong.
- Staying productive between assignments. If there’s no immediate problem for us to work on, we can do research, improve a process, reach out to teammates and offer help, etc.
- Leaving things better than when we found them. For example, that can mean updating ancient documentation or coming up with more efficient workflows.
- Investing time now, to make things easier to do in the future.
- Imagine a responsibility was passed to you and now you’re passing it to somebody else. How does your version compare to when it was passed to you?
- Noticing flaws and addressing them head-on. Say there’s a communication issue between two Sims. It’s much better to proactively address that and implement a new workflow than to assume that “things will work out”.
- Complaining about customers or fellow Sims without taking any action or offering suggestions for how to improve
- Sitting idly waiting for someone (a manager – or worse, a customer) to tell us what to do
- Succumbing to Parkinson’s law. This means that we stretch our work out to fill all the time allotted for its completion; we could get things done faster but it doesn’t occur to us to try
We have to step back and think things through if we find ourselves:
- Focusing on other people’s tasks instead of our own (potentially falling behind in the process).
- Stepping on a fellow Sim’s toes by trying to do their job for them.
- Trying to take the reins too often without considering others.
Clear, respectful communication is key to proactivity. We can’t fall into the trap of assuming we know best in every situation. We should offer suggestions, not make demands.
🏆 The rewards of proactivity
Along with mastery, proactivity is key to advancing in Simplesat. We want to work with Sims who can offer suggestions for our company’s growth, and who care about making things better.
When we’re proactive about keeping our processes and documentation in order, we avoid disasters down the line. We believe that two heads are better than one — we all have valuable ideas to offer, and hearing each other out is integral to our company’s success.
A dependable person is trustworthy and reliable.
Trust is built through honoring commitments. It takes time to earn trust, and we do so by proving that:
- We really do what we say we’re going to do.
- Our work is consistently high-quality.
- We get the job done in time.
Persistence and integrity are key. Over time, we can become the Sim everyone can rely on.
Dependability means we know we can rely on each other when we honor deadlines and pay attention to details. Examples of commitments we honor regularly:
- Completing all of the work we committed to do in a sprint.
- The point of sprints is to guarantee continuous delivery. If you’re falling behind in a sprint, you have several options: reduce the scope of the project, find a creative workaround, ask for advice… or just turn off distractions and get it done!
- Double-checking our work before we share it.
- For example, you want to thoroughly test code before you send it to another team to review. Mistakes happen, but it’s not fair to leave frequent, glaring errors for your coworkers to worry about.
- Preparing accurate reports each month.
- Good communication across departments is only possible if we share accurate and frequent reports.
- Sending the email newsletter out on time each month.
- An internal culture of dependability impacts the customers too!
- Evasions, excuses, or lying about what you’ve completed
- Forgetting to do something you said you’d do
- The customers or teammates you work with begin to expect errors in your work
- Showing up late to meetings without any advance notice
Sometimes we get a little too attached to being the go-to person for everything. Instead of helping our teammates improve their skills (or remembering to set their alarms), we just do the job for them. This leads us to take on way too many responsibilities.
Burnout is inevitable if we try to do everything for everyone. After we burn out, we lose everything that made our job fun in the first place. Our productivity plummets faster than a kite in a hurricane.
So, while being dependable is important, we have to be aware of our own limits. We should take on as much as we can handle, and no more than that. And it’s totally fine to step back sometimes and ask for a break or a change of workload. No shame in that game!
🏆 The rewards of dependability
Humans are social animals. Cooperation and generosity come naturally to us. When we know others are depending on us — and we live up to their trust — it affirms our place in the group.
If we can’t rely on each other, tackling ambitious endeavors becomes a gamble. The company becomes stuck in a rut, and none of us can truly shine in our respective roles.
Depending on ourselves and each other means we don’t have to keep putting out fires. Instead, we can put our skills to their best possible use.
😇 Realistic optimism
Optimism: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.
Realism: the attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.
In the business world (and in life), there can be no progress without optimism. It’s a prerequisite for starting and growing a company.
But it’s not just management that needs to be optimistic. When our fellow Sims have an optimistic outlook, our team flourishes and it gets easier for us to start the day with a smile.
At the same time, we all have to stay in touch with reality and reject pie-in-the-sky thinking.
When we cultivate realistic optimism in ourselves and others, we can conquer any unexpected challenges with positivity and creativity.
- Creating and maintaining a positive vibe when talking to fellow Sims. That includes motivating our fellow Sims to accomplish more than they thought was possible.
- Finding the silver lining in less-than-ideal circumstances. For example, we can view a tight deadline as a challenge and an opportunity to think outside the box.
- Accepting bad days as they come. There are ups and downs in every project, but it’s important to remember that things can always get better.
- Celebrating successes and milestones. Optimism gets easier when we appreciate what we’ve already accomplished.
- Looking forward to the opportunities that come from change. The future isn’t under our control. But if we do our jobs right, we can go into it with confidence and a light heart.
- Staying stuck in our comfort zone and rejecting growth
- Saying that something is “impossible” without spending time to think about it or consulting with others
- Discouraging other Sims from taking on ambitious projects
Some examples of “unrealistic optimism” at work:
- Setting unrealistic deadlines for ourselves or other Sims, which will only lead to disappointment.
- Simply believing we’ll achieve a difficult goal without doing anything differently.
While our dreams and ideals are important, they always have to be grounded in reality. And if our reality and our ideals diverge, we have to be willing to course-correct.
🏆 The rewards of realistic optimism
An optimistic outlook sparks out-of-the-box thinking. Instead of assuming a task is impossible, we find solutions and workarounds. This helps us grow our company and win over customers.
Being a realistic optimist also makes work more enjoyable. Every day can start with a sense of motivated cheerfulness, and problems turn into exciting challenges.
🥰 Caring personally
From the Radical Candor blog: 📖
Caring Personally is at its core common human decency. You don’t have to have a deep personal relationship to have this as your point of departure. But if you work closely with somebody — if, for example, you are somebody’s boss — you need to begin to develop a positive human relationship with that person.
Caring Personally is inherently about thinking of others, putting their success and needs ahead of your own. At its best, it is not about being loved; it is about loving.
To Care Personally, one must move at a pace that doesn’t make the other person uncomfortable.
Caring personally means we pay attention to the people we work with, we respect them, and we do what we can to make life easier for them.
It can’t be forced and has to develop naturally from our interactions. To be able to care personally, we must take time to get to know our fellow Sims.
- Spending time together, intentionally. That can mean organizing a group lunch with the team, or chatting over Slack about what we did over the weekend.
- Remembering things about each other. Like with any other relationship, this is a good way to demonstrate that we’re listening to our fellow Sims.
- Checking in on a colleague who is sad or frustrated about something. When someone is dealing with personal difficulties, it can be difficult for them to speak up. Taking initiative and reaching out to them can make all the difference.
- Seeing things from each other’s point of view. The more we know about our teammates, the easier it becomes to anticipate their needs and make things easier for
- Making a colleague feel uncomfortable by being rude or condescending.
- Gossiping or complaining about fellow Sims behind their back — it’s not just unprofessional, it’s just a matter of time before they find out.
- Having an “I’m only here for the paycheck” attitude.
To be clear, we don’t have to all be BFFs, and we don’t have to hang out after hours. But a baseline of respect and care is integral to a healthy working environment.
The risk here is creating echo chambers:
- Being afraid to rock the boat and disagree with others
- Accepting unfair criticism without sharing our perspective with the other person
- Spending too much time on others’ problems while neglecting our own
We have to learn to say no when the occasion calls for it, and we must be proactive about voicing our discomfort if someone is treating us poorly.
Healthy boundaries are a must-have. Without them, caring for others means we’re neglecting ourselves.
🏆 The rewards of realistic optimism
Research reliably shows that caring about others is the key to happiness. It helps us live longer and happier lives.
The communities we belong to shape who we are. That means our families, our friends, our hobby partners, our neighbors… and the people we work with are a community too. The more we care about each other’s wellbeing, the better our community will become. And the better the community, the more it changes and challenges us (while also supporting us when we need it).
A solid culture of personal care is what makes Simplesat truly exceptional. It’s reflected in our customer interactions and the way we build partnerships.
Imagine working with a team member who starts every workday with optimistic flair. She’s effortlessly competent, she takes initiative, and she cares personally about everyone on her team.
🤩 That’s the Simplesat ideal. It’s what we strive to achieve together.