Lexoo is now 6 years old.
We’ve grown from an idea in our CEO’s mind, to a seed company with a team of 5–6 people, to a leading European legal tech company with a team of over 20 people at post-Series A.
With all that growth came a need to change our company values.
About a year ago we realised that our current values no longer reflected where we felt we were at as a company and as a team. So we started the process of updating our values to reflect our evolution.
The Importance of Authentic Values
Having a set of company values helps to unify teams around a common understanding, a way of doing things, an identity. This helps with multiple areas across the company — from hiring and progression, to productivity and motivation.
But these values are only effective if they feel authentic and representative of company culture, rather than a generic corporate statement.
How We Did It
There were a few things we knew we wanted to do with this process: we liked the original values that we had (growth mindset, empathy and drive), but we felt they needed to be more detailed and more reflective of Lexoo’s identity and culture. We also knew we wanted the change to come from the entire team and be a collaborative process.
The first step was to determine what qualities, characteristics and behaviours we felt were really representative of our culture, how we work and who we are at Lexoo.
We first completed qualitative interviews with different members across the team, covering a range of departments, tenures and seniorities, to get an accurate picture of the company from different people on the team.
From those interviews, the next step was to identify the common themes. I reviewed all the interviews and grouped various statements and keywords into categories. This resulted in a document of about 20 different qualities and characteristics.
All-Hands Interactive Workshop
From this document of 20 qualities, I designed a workshop for our company offsite to ‘add some meat on the bones’ of the different values.
We split into small groups and each group was allocated a two or three different values. For each of their allocated values, teams were tasked with drafting a declarative statement and identifying three behavioural examples of how that value could be demonstrated.
This step was really valuable as it allowed us to really define what each quality meant to us as a team, rather than a textbook definition, and further we were able to harness the whole team’s creativity in identifying the behaviours we wanted to value as a company.
The Final Values
The final step was turning the results of the workshop into memorable, actionable values.
From the themes and behavioural statements, we grouped similar items into one of three categories: head (intellect), heart (emotion) or hands (behaviour). The head/heart/hands framework is a tool that can be used in a variety of ways for change management. We thought the framework was an elegant way of categorising our values, and we now have one dedicated to how we think, one to how we work, and another to how we relate to each other.
We now have three declarative value statements that are easy to remember:
1. We believe in continuous growth and improvement, not perfection (head)
2. We remember that we’re all human (heart)
3. We get our hands dirty (hands)
For each Value, we also defined:
- what it means to us
- why it’s important to us
- how we live it
Finally, to make the Values actionable, we’ve incorporated our new Values into
- our hiring process: we ask interviewees specific questions related to each Value. Candidates who embody these traits are more likely to be successful on our team.
- our performance reviews: all team members are assessed on their demonstration of each Value. Working with these Values is what allows us to work effectively as a team.
Learnings & Takeaways
- Getting buy in from leadership and/or senior management is essential to this process.
- Make sure to involve the whole team
- Less is more — it’s better to have a few clear, authentic core values that really speak to your identity as a company, than a laundry list of generic statements that no one can remember.