Finish this sentence, a noissue person is someone who…
“Knows how to joyfully get things done.”
“Cares about making a difference, puts people first and doesn't take themselves too seriously.”
“Is naturally motivated to achieve not only their own success, but the success of the company and its ecosystem as a whole.”
“Is not afraid to take on challenges.”
This is one question and just 50 words taken from the 31,000 words received from our team to capture our noissue culture, as we set out to document our values. But first, here’s a bit more on the noissue journey and how we got to where we are today.
Where did you come from, where did you go
noissue was founded in 2017, with one simple product and one simple product checklist:
small business friendly.
The below is a story of how this simple product checklist has been combined with a growing customer base, team and community (and a lot of word crunching) to form the backbone of our values and standards.
The noissue team today is a diverse group of over 130 and growing every day, But if we rewind to March 2020, our team was 15 people working remotely across 3 countries and an ambition to build a sustainable packaging platform for makers, brands and businesses on a global scale.
They were working in sync with a clear vision of what the noissue platform, team and communities could become, with our co-founder Augie’s french bulldog Patsy acting as the unofficial noissue cheerleader.
Fast forward just one year later, to March 2021, and we tipped over 80 people, still remote and now in 7 countries. We had over 5x the team size in 12 months, made huge progress on our roadmap and our team of passionate, thoughtful, ambitious people created an atmosphere that was palpable – even online.
We knew that to continue our growth, documenting that ‘feeling’, that implicit way of working, of making decisions and prioritizing work was important so we could move quickly and retain our culture. What we had was pretty special, it just needed to be uncovered and written down.
After careful design, in May 2021, we sent out a survey to the entire global team, which was still growing by the day. 18 questions, including, ‘What makes you proud to work here?’, ‘What is unique about our culture?’, ‘What behaviours would you be surprised to see in a teammate?’, ‘As we grow, what elements of our culture are most important to retain?’, and most importantly, questions on how teams operate.
We asked how decisions were made in their team, such as, ‘When you hire someone, what do you look for?’ and ‘How do you prioritise your work?’
The results are in: here’s how our team defined the noissue experience
In the space of three weeks, we received just over 31,000 words back! It was a treasure trove of insights on the team's perspectives and experiences of the noissue culture: there were stories, anecdotes, details of day to day interactions, team meetings and decisions.
Every single response was carefully read through, documented, and forms what our Values and Standards are today.
We first segmented and reviewed by team and location to understand if there was any discrepancy between teams, which would be pretty common at our pace of growth.
Entire teams had been created in the last 3 to 6 months, managers were new, it was expected there would be differences. But reading every response, we were blown away by the consistency, team members in all corners of the world who didn’t overlap either in time zones or day to day work writing similar descriptions of our culture and making decisions and prioritising work using similar mental models.
After this first review, every single response was then collated, themed and grouped into one mega whiteboard. Themes quickly emerged. So many people wrote ‘fun’ that in the end we couldn’t see the original word on the board anymore, it had been doubled up so many times.
Knowing the bias that can come into a process like this and wanting to ensure specific words weren’t over-indexed on, all the responses were also fed through a text analyzer.
This looked at sentiment, topic maps and topic clouds to ensure all responses were captured and associations potentially missed upon reading were added into the mega whiteboard.
After collating, theming and reviewing through text analysis, we then cross referenced our responses against our ‘values in action’ questions. People talked about our culture being collaborative and thoughtful, so it was great to then read in the ‘how you make decisions’ question that people also spoke to ‘listening to multiple perspectives' as part of their decision making process.
Wrapping it all together
From here we kept refining, removing double ups and capturing into sentences. What you see in our final version is all written by the team, and is either a direct sentence that comes up several times or a combination of two that together perfectly capture the sentiment.
Through all of the responses, we were able to capture pretty clearly our values, what they meant, and what they didn’t mean, so we noted down not just our Values but our Standards: the specific behaviours that we can hold each other to.
We then did one last test – using it as a framework against real, live current decisions and our product checklist. We wanted whatever we put back out to be relevant and something tangible teams could use to guide their thinking.
Our values as you see them can be applied to everything from how we choose products, how we market ourselves, how we hire and how we make decisions.
The following values are a reflection of us now and who we want to be as we continue to grow, not new, they’ve been here since the start, but now they are clearly documented!
As we move forward and continue to scale in size, these Values and Standards will act as our northern star that guides us as a business. We’re excited to continue to share this journey with you!
Enjoyed these insights? Learn more about our team on our itsnoissue community page!