February 29, 2024

Building a Strong Company Culture: The Core Values That Drive Our Success

Building a Strong Company Culture: The Core Values That Drive Our Success

Building a Strong Company Culture: The Core Values That Drive Our Success

Jake Dluhy-Smith

CEO, Co-Founder

For any company, core values are guiding principles that unite behaviors and actions, serving as a cultural foundation when employees interact with each other, make decisions, or define priorities. While they serve to inspire direction, depending on the maturity of the company, there can be a range of their implementation within a company’s culture.

At OAK’S LAB, our core values are more than just motivational words. They are the foundational principles and core beliefs that guide everything we do, which we incorporate into every aspect of our operations.

From our approach to work and collaboration within our team to our cooperation with external clients, our values influence key areas of our business such as hiring, sharing feedback, and solving problems. They also guide our overarching decision-making process, ensuring that every action we take, whether as individuals or as a team, aligns with what we stand for as a company.

With such an internal and external impact, what are the core values that guide us? First, let’s take a look at how we created them.

The Creation of Our Values

Because our values would be the foundation of our culture, the process of choosing them needed to consider two things:

  1. Company-wide input
  2. Future evaluation and adjustment

Company-wide input

To create a shared set of values that serve as a common base for every individual in the company, we needed a process that would heavily involve our people in the creation. Back in 2019, we brought together all of our people at our first-ever Company Strategy Day to discuss our company strategy and create five values that we believed were behaviors we should live by every day in order to achieve our mission and vision.

By involving everyone in the company, we got input from our entire team, which, in turn, gave everyone in the company a personal connection to each value. These original five values reflected exactly who we were as a company and the direction in which we wanted to grow. They served as the foundation for us to achieve the ambitious goals in our company strategy.

The original five values were:

  1. Raise the bar
  2. Own your outcomes
  3. Just be honest
  4. Be kind and compassionate
  5. Don’t forget to enjoy the ride
Values are the base of our company's strategic framework.

As every company does, OAK’S LAB grew and evolved over the next few years. And in 2023, we decided to revisit our values through the lens of our evolution. 

Future re-evaluation and adjustments

A healthy company culture is not stagnant. As a company grows and matures, so must the culture. At our Company Strategy Day last summer, we took the opportunity to re-evaluate our company strategy and culture. 

Since the beginning of OAK’S LAB, we have gone through different cultural evolutions over time. With introspection, we decided it was time to evolve from a family-oriented culture into a results-first culture in order to achieve our bold mission and vision. Our strategy aims for big achievements, and to reach these, we believe it's essential to foster a culture of excellence within our company.

Once we decided to evolve into a results-first company, we opened up a company-wide conversation about our current values in order to update them to reflect the results-first direction we are heading in. 

We dedicated a portion of the day to discussing our current values. We held an open and honest discussion about their state and approached everything transparently with a future-thinking mindset. Were our values still relevant to our company culture? Was there any value we felt wasn’t reflected? With our evolved strategy, what value do we need to achieve our mission and vision? 

After leaning heavily into these conversations, we dedicated a subsequent All-Hands meeting to allow the entire company to provide feedback. We let our people ask questions, raise concerns, and make suggestions. From these conversations, we were able to evolve our core values into the six that we will look at below. These reflect OAK’S LAB now, but we do know that, in the future, we will continue to revisit them to make sure they are accurately aligned with our current culture and will make adjustments when necessary.

For more information about how to implement a company strategy into your organization, check out this article about company strategy.

Our Core Values

Let’s take a look at our current core values and how we use them as a foundation at OAK’S LAB.

OAK’S LAB core values

1. Strive to be the Best

What does it mean?

We are ambitious, driven, and passionate people. We go the extra mile for each other and our clients.

How do we use it as a foundation?

We possess an endless drive to be the best. We do the maximum we can to achieve successful results and try to exceed expectations. Our passion for our work fills us with pride in what we do. We are overachievers striving to go above and beyond.

Our people focused on Company Strategy Day

2. Focus on Outcomes over Outputs

What does it mean?

We are business-oriented, efficient, and accountable. Our approach to building products is centered around delivering outcomes that make businesses successful. 

How do we use it as a foundation?

We always keep the broader vision in sight and focus on initiatives with the highest impact. Our strategic, analytical, and business mindset allows us to prioritize our focus on what truly matters. We are resourceful, finding effective and clever ways to achieve successful results. Once we commit to a goal, we take full accountability to deliver impactful outcomes for our clients and OAK’S LAB alike.

Our stakeholders working together with their dedicated team in Prague

3. Deliver Quality

What does it mean?

We are professional and consistent with top-quality standards. Our people are our product, so our service is exceptional.

How do we use it as a foundation?

In every endeavor, our actions and results demonstrate our commitment to the highest standards in the industry. We approach our work with an elevated degree of professionalism, consistently delivering premium customer service to our internal and external stakeholders. Everything we produce bears the OAK’S LAB stamp of quality.

A PM and Design Lead working on a project together

4. Just be Honest

What does it mean?

We are self-aware, direct, and constructive. We operate in a feedback-focused environment because we know that it will push us towards our personal and professional goals.

How do we use it as a foundation?

We are honest in all our interactions, whether with ourselves, our teammates, our clients, or our partners. Our company culture values open dialogue and a growth mindset. We are open to improvement and view constructive feedback as an opportunity for mutual growth. When challenges arise, we deliver the uncomfortable truth in a clear, concise, and constructive manner. Bringing the truth into the open moves us one step closer to progress.

Our PMs meet in their Chapter Meeting

5. Be Kind and Compassionate

What does it mean?

We are empathetic, supportive, and humble. We cultivate a diverse, respectful, and inclusive community that doesn’t have room for intolerance.

How do we use it as a foundation?

We are grounded in humility, caring about the well-being and success of others. We actively engage in supporting our peers, helping them overcome challenges both professionally and personally. We nurture an inclusive environment. We are approachable, kind, and nice people to be around. We treat everyone with respect.

Our teammates collaborating in the office

6. Overcome Adversity with Positivity

What does it mean?

We are resilient with the capacity to have perspective and maintain positivity. We understand that life has ups and downs, and we are prepared to handle them.

How do we use it as a foundation?

Our experience gives us perspective, and we understand that it's the journey, not the destination — that’s why we enjoy what we do. We are confident in our capabilities, maintain positivity during tough moments, and are dedicated to navigating through adversity. We are resilient, possess the grit to overcome obstacles, and cherish the feeling of triumphing over them as a team. In the face of challenges, we find solutions.

The OAK’S LAB team outside our Prague HQ

Living by Our Values

Our values are at the core of everything we do at OAK’S LAB. They are the ideals that drive our success. At the end of the day, our mission is to empower innovators to improve life and the world, and our vision is to be a hub of groundbreaking global innovation. In order to achieve our goals in the future, we have these values to guide us.

It is through living these values every day that we create an environment where innovation thrives, relationships flourish, and success is a shared achievement. As we look to the future, we remain dedicated to embodying these principles, ensuring that OAK’S LAB continues to be a place where exceptional people come together to make a meaningful impact.

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