3 Steps to Make your Culture Unique

Three months ago, we published our first blogpost which dealt with our will to define our culture and questioned what initiatives we could set up to help us fulfill our goal. Since then, we took  a further step  in our journey, and this post  is meant to show you the progress we have made so far.

In the last post, we introduced our 9 values. We could have simply stopped with these and tried to put them directly in use or just listed a number of adjectives such as collaborative, innovative or passionate… But at the same time, it does not define who we are and what makes us  unique.

– If you want to be able to find your DNA, you have to dig deeper, you have to go further in defining your culture –

Our first step was to define the values. We knew our journey to define our culture was supposed to go beyond that. The next step was to create the manifesto in itself.

What is the Arcbees’ Culture Manifesto?

The Arcbees Culture Manifesto is a written statement of all Arcbees’ employees regarding our culture and the way they see the organization as a whole.

We went through three steps to define it.

Step 1: Dig deeper, wrap it up and name it

In the previous post, I mentioned how we took the necessary step to obtain everyone’s list of values. With those values came an explanation about what it meant for them.

Make them match: Collecting those explanations and making them work together was the hardest part and the list of values came from the best of each one of us. But then, we needed to find a way to explain each value so that it could resonate in everybody’s mind.

I took each one of those explanations and put them in a single document to try and find the words and ideas which were most common.

Don’t interpret! This step is rather a long process. The objective is to not transform or interpret what a person is saying. One has to take the explanation, try and make it match with the right value and match it with the others.

For the most popular values, we received 7 or 8 explanations coming from the 12 Arcbees’ employees. It means 8 ways to explain it, 8 ways to name it, 8 different lexicons and 8 unique minds behind it.

Take your time and dig deeper: It took me time to wrap up and summarize what people wanted to say, to find the essence in each one. I asked questions to try to understand what they meant behind each sentences.

You are not Superman! I want to warn you already about something. It is not a one man job as you need inspiration from others to find the right words and find the right flow in the sentences. At Arcbees, one of our principal values is collaboration and this manifesto is a collaborative work.

At the end, we wrapped it up and came up with a list of 9 values:


Step 2: Share with the team and gather feedbacks

Once everything is ready with the manifesto and you wrote a 0.8 version, it’s time to start to get feedback from the team.

Feedback process We prepared a presentation for the team and scheduled a meeting to have everyone present at the same time. The point was to have everyone’s reaction in person.

We introduced each value and its explanation. We then gathered the comments we received on things such as titles or the words used on the explanation itself.

Appropriation begins… At this part, you will notice people starting to appropriate the different values. Some of them stay more than others. You will witness strong reactions, which is good!

After the meeting, each person read it again and gave their own comments. Sometimes directly to me, sometimes by using Slack to have a discussion all together on a particular value.

Getting things ready for the final step The final request was for everyone to rank the values by priority for them from 1 to 9. This ranking would help us determine in a collaborative way which value was the most important at Arcbees.

Step 3: Plan to make it alive

Once the final document was made and we obtained the ranking for each value, we able to start our next step. This ranking has created a plan for further work around the manifesto.

– The goal of this exercise is to make your culture unique and your company! –

One word: Focus!!! We decided to focus on one value per month to accomplish step 3. We are going to apply the same recipe as for our other projects: an agile methodology inspired from Scrum. We want to use it to implement our values. By doing sprints lasting one month, we will define more specifically what is the value and actions inherent to it.

Each month will start by a brainstorm session. This session is open to all, and everyone can bring these ideas about the value we are focusing on.

At the end of each month, we will conduct a retrospective of the past month and the work done around the value. These tasks will eventually enrich our manifesto.

We are going to continuously do this work and improve our values ​​and our manifesto.

We will keep our communities updated with our progress. In February, we will focus on the value “We believe in the individual.”

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