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Packback Culture Deck: Our Purpose and Values

  1. Curiosity is the most valuable resource humanity has, and it is unlimited. All we have to do is learn how to wake it up in the mind of a student…and they will go on to change the world. Curiosity is what drove us to wonder how our bodies and minds work; to question our own existence. It's what drove us to wonder how much faster we could move, how much farther we could travel, how we could cure diseases, improve lives, create masterpieces, read, write, and discover. It's what pushed us to wonder what was on the other side of the vast ocean, beyond the edge of our shore. It is what still drives us today to wonder what's out there in space, beyond the edge of the earth. Curiosity pushes us to push limits. It pushes us to chase the impossible. To map the universe. We believe the greatest quality of humanity is our desire to know what we cannot know. To see what we cannot see. To understand what is incomprehensible. Curiosity is the most pure human motivation because it seeks not to conquer, nor to own, nor to consume. It seeks only to understand.  Our Manifesto
  2. Table of Contents 1. Introduction to intentional culture a. Why focus on culture? b. The elements of Packback’s culture 2. The Packback Company Purpose 3. Packback Values 4. Team Norms Table of Contents
  3. Introduction Culture happens. Whether you plan for it or not, a culture is defined by the actions, attitudes, and behaviors of a team.
  4. Introduction When Purpose and Values are explicit and created by the entire team, 
 it forms an intentional culture. When values are explicit, it empowers individual team members to make autonomous decisions because they know that their decision is aligned with the values. But when values are not explicit, they can, by default, become a reflection of the founders and early members of the team, shortcomings and all. Implicit values lead to ambiguity around what it means to be successful in an organization, leading people to feel like they are “walking on eggshells” with each action they take. 
 When the company’s purpose is explicit, it allows the team to proactively determine the ways that the team can drive the most impact around that purpose. But when when a company’s purpose is not explicit, it can default to a focus on short-term revenue gains as the end goal. However, a focus on revenue alone can only be short- term, at best, as to create revenue, a company must have a goal of creating a consistent kind of value for their growing customer base; a lack of purpose leads to a lack of focus.
  5. Introduction We continue to evolve our cultural norms as we learn more about ourselves, our customers, and our industry. Our values have evolved in their wording over time; our team has evolved dramatically in what we consider it takes to exemplify our values. But this constant growth is a hallmark of our cultural value; “We never stop moving forward”. Packback strives to be a company dedicated to continuous learning, both in our product and in our culture.
  6. Introduction Culture at Packback is comprised of 3 parts: Purpose Why we exist Values The mindsets we care about that we believe 
 will make us successful in our purpose Team Norms, Tools, and Expectations The values, made tangible & trackable
  7. The Packback Purpose Our purpose provides a unifying “North Star” of the impact we strive to bring to the world, directionally guiding all of Packback’s decisions. Packback Purpose
  8. Packback exists to awaken and fuel the lifelong curiosity in every student. Packback Purpose
  9. The Packback Values The Packback Values are: 1) The mindsets that guide our behaviors and decision-making.
 2) A rubric for screening hires and retaining great team members whose align with what's expected from every Packback team member.
 3) A common benchmark with which to evaluate and reflect on the health of our culture. Packback Values
  10. #1: We are fearlessly curious. We constantly seek to deepen our understanding of our disciplines and of the world, and relish opportunities to discover and experience something new. Our curiosity is focused towards how we can build a company that best supports curiosity and lifelong learning in students…and as we explore that question, we ask how our own expertise in engineering, sales, recruiting, etc. can be applied to further that purpose. It could be tempting, as a part of a busy team, to want to rush to find an easy answer to complex questions. But we pride ourselves on our desire to fully understand important problems in our company and our industry at their root causes, not just their symptoms. We fearlessly ask the questions of ourselves, our team, and our business that are the most uncomfortable, including, “What can we learn from this failure?”; “Do we really understand why this success occurred?”; and “Is there a better way?” Packback Values
  11. Packback Values #2: We are radically kind. Often, the hardest thing to do is also the kindest, and we consistently choose kindness over “niceness”. Empathy, conscious communication, and an eye towards the “bigger picture” of what we want to achieve helps us fight off our own egos and the fear of confrontation that stand in the way of accomplishing great things. We are radically kind to our customers. We optimize towards truly supporting the best outcomes for our customers, through kindness over niceness, because it is our responsibility to make sure that students are getting real value out of Packback.
 We are radically kind to our teammates. That means that we are thoughtful about how we communicate to ensure that we are optimizing towards the outcome we want to achieve, but we never hold back on sharing feedback that could help someone. We assume the best of one another, and so we address issues early.
 And we are radically kind to ourselves. We choose to look at our own opportunities to improve with excitement, not fear or resentment. 

  12. Packback Values #3: We do what we say we will do. Stories that look like “overnight successes” are actually the sum of thousands of tiny decisions to follow through on commitments to ourselves and our team. When we commit to a personal goal, we hold ourselves to that goal rigorously… even if we think no one else is looking. We take pride in consistently delivering on the personal goals we set, because our individual choices are what add up to team-level success or failure. As a team, we set big goals and hold ourselves and our teammates accountable to making them happen, by focusing on each small step needed to get there.
 We continuously aim higher, but we work to never over-promise and under-deliver. When we do, we take it seriously, reflect on the learnings, and apply those learnings to our next goal. 

  13. Packback Values #4: We never stop moving forward (no matter how small the step). Building an organization is like running a marathon; many people dream of the finish line, but don’t put in the hundreds of thousands of steps to reach it. We take pride in every small step. Our growth rate is far more important than where we are right now. Today should simultaneously be the best we have ever been, and the worst we will ever be. 
 While we always seek to understand and address problems at their root cause, we do not let this become an excuse for passing over small in-the-moment opportunities to improve. We commit to leave each part of the business that we touch better than we found it. As a team, we agree to “Disagree & Commit” when we make a decision, because an imperfect decision is better than no decision at all. If the idea fails, we celebrate that failure as an opportunity to learn.
  14. Packback Values #5: We earn leadership through humility, ownership, and optimism. No one has ever been (or will ever be) simply “given” a leadership role at Packback...leadership and respect are earned by taking responsibility. Leadership is something that we continuously earn through our choices, not something any of us permanently have. Every small task, action, or decision is an opportunity to be an owner of this organization.
 Everyone at Packback is an entrepreneur and builds their own leadership role through taking ownership, looking for ways to make Packback better, and getting stuff done. Packback has infinite ways it can improve- so if any of us notice something that could be better, we choose to approach it with optimistic curiosity and then we take action. It’s easy to be cynical, and it’s hard to be a creator. Strive to strike the right balance between between dissatisfaction with where we are today and optimism about how we can solve those problems.

  15. Packback Values #6: We employ an investor’s mindset. As an education company, it is our duty to students and professors to invest our time and resources in the way that will create the greatest impact. We have to act as investors with every dollar we earn from selling our product, because it needs to bring far more than a dollar of value back into the lives of students. 
 Because time and resources are limited, we choose to focus on what differentiates us and allows us to make the biggest impact around our purpose, and we find ways to offload what does not. 
 The simplest solution is almost always the best. If we can test a concept with a one- day project, or build a full “ideal” version out in 6 weeks, we choose to test the concept first. Since we learn as much from disproving a hypothesis as we do from proving one, we want to learn quickly if something will not work so that we can choose to invest elsewhere. 

  16. Packback Values #1: We are fearlessly curious. #2: We are radically kind. #3: We do what we say we will do. #4: We never stop moving forward (no matter how small the step). #5: We are leaders through ownership, optimism, and humility. #6: We employ an investor’s mindset. Best Solution We solve problems by finding a solution that balances all of the values.
  17. Team Norms / Expectations Team-Level Norms and Expectations exist to:
 1) Connect our Values to specific, trackable actions upon which training can be created and feedback can be shared. 
 2) Allow each team to adapt the values to the systems and norms that best suit the team’s goals and working styles.
 3) The Values provide the compass on how we decide to set team norms and expectations. In turn, the Values are tangibly demonstrated by way of executing on Team Expectations/Processes/Norms. The relationship is symbiotic. Team Norms / Expectations
  18. Team Norms / Expectations Every Packback team (Sales, Marketing, Account Management, Recruiting, Engineering, Product, etc.) have their own team expectations and norms that were built out to be tangible ways to exemplify the values in daily work.
 These expectations and norms are constantly being evolved as we grow as a team and can see new ways to better exemplify our values in our daily work.
 If you’re thinking about joining the team at Packback, ask your interviewers about the norms on their specific team and how they relate to the values! Each team is unique, but they all share the purpose and the values.