Fairing: The 7 Operating Principles

When we began hiring in a more systemic fashion, we knew it was time to solidify our company values. Every successful startup reaches this juncture, but until recently, many of them addressed the problem with overly simplistic solutions.

Hustle. Authenticity. Passion. These are ethereal concepts, typically brought to life by a local mural artist so every staff member can get an Instagram-worthy headshot next to them. For the Gram, these words are small triumphs. For the organization, they are tough to make use of.

As the company aiming to operationalize consumer insights, this notion of having values with no operating utility didn’t strike us as particularly productive. If the values weren’t functional, defensible, consistent, complementary, or accountable, then… well, the best muralist in Brooklyn couldn’t turn them into something worth having around.

Our company principles don’t define who you are. We figure you’ve got that part nailed down by now. Instead, our principles define our best available understanding of how to work together. We commit to them, we hold ourselves accountable to them, and if our team decides they ought to change, then we change them.

You can’t take a selfie with our operating principles, but you’d better believe you can lean on them. If you like the sound of that, we’d love for you to come join us.

Our Operating Principles

1. Give more than you take.

Assume the best in your coworkers, and hold leadership accountable to ensuring those assumptions are safe. See your role as a responsibility to facilitate the success of others. We see this principle as self-sustaining.

2. Practice radical transparency.

Aim to communicate, not manipulate. If you can’t share a piece of information in confidence, you should be able to share your reasoning in confidence.

3. See documentation as commitment.

Written communication is a contract; a promise made by you. Committing to documentation ensures shared perspectives, and clarity in accountability.

4. Measure performance, not presence.

We assess teammates on the value of their contributions, and appreciate that there is no one-size fits-all environment for optimal performance.

5. Stand behind your work.

If you’re not proud of what you’re working on, keep working until you are. Tell the team when something doesn’t meet your standards. Integrity is contagious, and creates better standards for the whole organization.

6. Always seek a path forward.

When obstacles present themselves, take ownership for making progress resourcefully. We are a foundry for good ideas, not an assembly line for tasks.

7. Use feedback to effect change.

In everything we do, we see people as the ground truth. If you want to change anything (including our Operating Principles), seek feedback to diversify your understanding, and expose the holistic problem.

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