As the thinkPARALLAX team navigated the uncertainty of the past two years, we were reminded, like many others, of the importance of organizational values. Amid an ongoing pandemic, we wondered how long remote work would last, whether we could safely gather in person, what the future of the company might look like — and more importantly, what we wanted it to look like. By 2022, we knew we had to recalibrate in order to build a culture that brings us together even when we’re spread across the country. Our first step was to develop new values that would frame our evolving ethos and better reflect a growing business that now embraces a flexible, distributed working model.
The goal of creating new values is to define, strengthen, and continuously shape company culture. Our values articulate how we stand out from our peers, encourage behaviors and mindsets that drive business success, and guide how we collaborate, navigate decisions, and grow our team — all of which helps us better serve our clients.
For the past decade, our team was guided by four distinct values of Care, Candor, Passion, and Creativity. Refreshing them involved shifting from broad, singular ideals to actionable phrases that embody our essence as a company and a community, both today and as a guide for the future. Understanding that the strongest values come from within, we collaborated with our team internally to develop five new values to lead our organization moving forward.
1. Connect the dots
It all begins with a question. Why? How? What else? Sometimes finding answers requires shifting our views and exploring different angles. We believe that the best results come from questioning everything, challenging assumptions, and staying open to the unexpected.
Pause and ask why:
Our first question is always: why? In our quest for clarity, we understand the importance of considering the bigger picture and reading between the lines. Getting clear on our purpose enables us to connect the dots in meaningful ways.
Challenge the status quo:
Next, we ask: how? We don’t get stuck on the way things have always been done. We dig deep into the real root of the problem, questioning if the “how” of the past will serve us in the future. By questioning everything, we are able to find a better way.
Find unexpected connections:
Finally, we ask: what else? We don’t confine ourselves to a box. We look for ideas and connections outside our obvious realms of thinking. We understand that the best inspiration can often come from unexpected places.
2. Create the unexpected
We are creators to the core. We create with intention, providing fresh and exciting work that is useful and meaningful. We aim to unleash creative brilliance, approaching each project in the spirit of discovery, collaboration, and play.
We believe the only limit is our own imagination. We create without boundaries, guided by the understanding that calculated risks are worth taking. We are a team of big thinkers and big believers.
We approach every project as a chance to try something new. We embrace a collaborative environment where we’re encouraged to harness our collective creativity and build on each other’s ideas.
Enjoy the process:
We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Our passion is creating and creating is our playground. Our successful outcomes reflect our commitment to fun, yet focused creativity.
3. Venture forward
As we perpetually press forward, we recognize that we are always working towards something bigger than ourselves and our company. Our innovative spirit is driven by a desire to continuously advance our team, our clients, and the ESG space.
Stay one step ahead:
We march to the beat of a faster drum. We are proactive innovators and thought leaders in our space. We think ahead, act quickly, and anticipate client needs to stay on the cutting-edge.
As our world changes, we change with it. We welcome ambiguity and run toward the unknown. By remaining agile and nimble, we are ready to take on any challenge.
The world is our classroom and failure is our teacher. We are constantly evolving and growing our skills to adapt to an ever-progressing industry and ever-changing world. We follow our curiosity while pushing ourselves towards bigger and better.
4. Bring out the best
We challenge each other to show up as our best selves in every way. We create client partnerships built on authenticity, accountability, and honest feedback. Because when we bring out the best in ourselves and others, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.
Lead with empathy:
We see the humanity in others. We listen to understand, demonstrate humility, and have each other’s backs, always. We recognize that kindness and vulnerability are the cornerstone of meaningful, lasting relationships.
We are open and honest with our thoughts and feedback. We don’t just tell our clients and teammates what they want to hear. We believe that having difficult conversations and being transparent is essential to building trust and taking our work to the next level.
Contribute your unique expertise:
We celebrate our individual strengths and inspire our team to bring their best selves to the table. We are steadfast and reliable. We are generous with our time and knowledge in order to help others succeed.
5. Embrace parallax
Our name says it all. We truly believe that we are more than the sum of our parts, that a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds makes us stronger. From our inception, we have remained committed to looking at things from multiple angles – the “parallax effect” – to develop the most well-rounded approach. Now we’re working to create an environment where everyone shows up as their full selves. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it makes our best work even better.
Be courageously authentic:
No matter our job description, it starts with us. By working from a place of self-acceptance, our own vulnerability fosters safety and freedom for others to be their authentic selves as well.
Amplify unheard voices:
Good ideas can come from anywhere. Not only do we listen inclusively, but we proactively seek out the voices that might otherwise go unheard, and take action based on what they say.
Beyond individual actions alone, we recognize that inequities and barriers to entry are perpetuated by biased processes. We’re on a journey to increase opportunity and create enduring systems for equitable hiring, advancement, and industry representation.