Humility, Integrity, “I Got It”, and Transparency are our core values.
There are always people who are faster, stronger, or smarter than you. Even the fastest and smartest people get it wrong sometimes. Be humble, constantly strive to improve, and be open to input.
Even if you are “right”, respectful discourse preserves a healthy dynamic. Humility fosters comfort and trust within the team, which in turn improves decision-making and team morale.
Once you share an idea with the team, it is no longer yours; it belongs to the team. It is neither yours to promote, nor defend, but rather to evaluate in collaboration with your teammates in pursuit of the best collective outcome.
When things go well, humble people tend to share the credit. When they go badly, humble people tend to shoulder the responsibility. Our team focuses on resolving the issue at hand, not on assigning/deflecting blame.
- Do the right thing, always.
- We want to be an honest company because it’s good for business in the long run. We want to be an honest company because it helps us attract the type of people we want to work with. But far more important than either of these, we want to be an honest company because we want to look ourselves in the eye and be proud of the work we do and the company we’ve built.
- A reputation is hard to earn and easy to squander. It is always worth more than any short-term gains to be had from unethical behavior.
“I GOT IT”
- When an issue with unclear ownership comes up, people are quick to volunteer to take it on.
- When someone says “I got it” you can 100% trust that they’ll either:
- get it done, as promised (usually) or
- flag it early if it’s at risk of not getting done (less often)
- Thus, once someone has taken something on, the team trusts that they will get it done.
- A strong “I got it” culture fosters trust, efficiency, ownership, and collaboration.
- We strive to be transparent in all directions:
- Top-down -- leaders sharing with their teams
- Bottom-up -- bad news travels faster than good
- Across teams -- avoids tribalism
- Inside-out -- in dealing with investors, customers, partners, etc.
- Transparency is not absolute -- there are things that need to be kept confidential. But we will fight the natural momentum of organizations to be increasingly opaque, and instead, will strive to be as transparent as the business allows.
There are a set of behaviors that flow from these values and further define the Ascend culture.
These make up the Ascend Behaviors.
Building a company is hard. An optimistic attitude helps us push through obstacles and makes this a great place to work.
Take risks. Celebrate success. Learn from failure.
We won’t achieve great things by playing it safe. So we take risks. We celebrate our successes. And we learn from our failures.
Treat others with respect and with an assumption of competence.
We assume good intent from our colleagues. If someone does (or says) something that doesn’t make sense, we give them the benefit of the doubt and jointly try to understand the disconnect, correcting any misunderstandings or errant assumptions.
We believe the best teams are those comprised of individuals who have demonstrated excellence in a variety of areas, love sharing knowledge with their team, and actively seek out environments where they are not the smartest person in the room.
“Eyes open” decisions
We make decisions “eyes open” to the consequences. We know that even the best choices usually have downsides to them, so we acknowledge these and don’t act surprised when they come to pass.
In improv comedy, “no” is a terminal word that halts creativity. “Yes and”, however, amplifies that same creativity and momentum. When problem solving at Ascend we try to follow the same rule. It encourages people to share ideas and it helps us find the good idea hidden behind the “bad” one.
Company before team
We do what’s right for the company rather than optimizing for our own team’s (or our personal) success. Management doesn’t create incentives for people to put their project ahead of the company.
Think big, think far
Our goal is to build a company that can thrive as an independent entity. While it is sometimes necessary to make short-term decisions, on the whole we err towards planning for long-term success.
We are a product company driven by customer success
Our long-term success is predicated on having the best product, and with it making our customers wildly successful. We succeed when our customers succeed.
We value diversity of experience and opinion. We value (and will seek out) diversity of gender, race, political view, and more.
Diversity within Ascend better equips us to meet the diverse needs outside. Diversity helps us think bigger, broader, and farther. It challenges us to think differently, and we are better for it. At the same time, what binds us together as a community is a shared belief in the core values of the company.
Startups are hard. Survival depends on a sustained (yet sustainable) effort over time. We don’t ask anyone to sleep in the office, nor work unsustainable hours. We do, however, work with focus and intensity.
We would like to have a workplace where people can bring in their dogs. Our current location does not allow this. When we relocate, if we are able to find a dog-friendly location then we will be allowing people to bring in their dogs.