Clara Operating Principles (pre-team-feedback) 2017.06
Clara Labs Values 2017.06
Process & First Draft
Why Values & Why Now?
● Intentionality. Every company has values and culture, whether you try to
articulate them or not. If you articulate them you can measure yourselves
against them and guide / be guided by them.
● We’ve learned a lot about who we are as a business, product, and team. We
have scars, we have successes. Actual experience drives our articulation of
● The team is growing.
● Now: Articulate
○ Audit - How do we behave?
○ Introspect - What do we think of ourselves?
○ Synthesize - Distill into values.
○ Discuss & Refine
● Next: Integrate, Live, then Assess
What are Values?
A person's principles or standards of behavior; one's
judgment of what is important.
Behaviors we already exhibit and want to encourage more
What are our Values Criterion?
● Values are always a work in progress, hence versioning.
● Must be easy to ‘grok’.
● Must be memorable.
● Must be actionable.
● Must be distinct to Clara.
● Must reflect reality (no cognitive dissonance).
Discussion Points as we Review each Value
● Examples of this behavior at Clara
● Just do it. If you don’t do it, it might not get done.
● If you See Something, Do Something; we don’t prescribe clear directives.
● The best solutions are the ones that well respect their constraints - time and
● You can only Respect Constraint by Focusing on the things that really matter.
Prioritize your work according to your constraints; execute solutions that meet
● Be pragmatic, don't over-engineer.
Develop Testable Hypotheses
● Come forward with a way to say whether your work succeeds or fails; “you
must not fool yourself”.
● Building New Things requires skepticism of trends, generic thinking.
Design for Peer Review
● Spend the time to make sure it's easy for someone else to understand what
you did and why.
● Set up a framework that others can reason about, give them the information
they need, create a process they can follow: you want the benefit of our
● Systemically Listen to our customer, our CRA, our team.
● “Plead For; Try To Sell”
Focus on Learning
● If we Learn More, we Win. Most Startups Fail because they don't build good
learning feedback loops.
● Building the processes that get to right answers > having the right answer
● Strong Opinions Weakly Held. Finding out you were Wrong is a success of its
● What we’re doing is hard. If you’re not thinking long term it’s not worth it.
● Things worth having are often scary and difficult. Lean in to it; build it like a
Values - Discuss & Refine
● Take Initiative
● Respect Constraints
● Develop Testable Hypotheses
● Design for Peer Review
● Solicit Feedback
● Focus on Learning
● Be Persistent
● Finalize this Version
● More Intentionally Integrate (next year or so)
○ Interviews, New Hire Onboarding
○ Live the values, integrate into performance feedback (individually, group wise, company wise)
○ We already insist on and exhibit many of these values constantly, but we will do so even more
● Reassess (~ a year from now)