With a constantly growing business, Rapid7 recently went through a branding and identity exercise to recalibrate and ensure that our customers are clear on who we are and what they can expect when they partner with us. We’ve long been very clear about who we were from an internal core values standpoint. Ensuring the values and beliefs we cherish internally map directly to how our customers and partners can expect to engage with us externally is critical.
I found this work really interesting. I’ve always believed that when people (and companies) embrace their authenticity and find productive ways to execute being true to who they are, they just plain build a better business. Our company uses the Predictive Index, which is a fantastic tool for helping to assess. For me, one of the most insightful parts of the tool is the disconnect between how people truly see themselves, versus how they believe they need to show up for work. For me personally, if I worked in an environment that I felt required me to “show up” in a way that is significantly different from my true self, I’d get pretty uncomfortable pretty fast. It’s one of the reasons culture fit becomes so incredibly important when individuals and companies choose each other.
As we reconsidered our core values, we found that not a lot needed to be changed. What we truly valued as a company eight years ago when we created our values still resonates as our north star. We did make one big tweak, however, to our value of “individual excellence.” When we established it, it was intended to illuminate our need to bring our very best selves to our work every day. Work hard, give it your all, live our values. However, as we reflected on what we might tweak to make our values ever more impactful, we landed on the concept of “Bring You.”
The elements of the original value still remain; of course, we want people to do their very best each and every day. We also realized we want them to be their best. By editing a bit of language, we landed on recrafting a value to more accurately reflect what’s important to us both as individuals and as a company. Ultimately, we want every single person we employ to feel comfortable in their own shoes. Specifically, the value now states “Our people are at the center of our success. You bring your authentic self. You are fully engaged and bringing your best. You want to transform through engagement with others. And ultimately WE optimize who WE can be together.” Pretty straight forward, right?
I love this new reframing of the value, because it is in strong support of our diversity and inclusion focus, as well as continuing to encourage people to do their absolute best work. That said, it’s all in how individuals choose to embrace this sentiment that will make it land the way we intended. For example, I might interpret it to mean, “Wow, this means I get to totally be myself…and everyone will accept my opinions, approach, etc.” That could go off the rails pretty quickly, right? We’ve found it pretty beneficial to not just outline the definition of the value, but also provide behavioral examples of what good – and not so good – living of that values means. In the case of this particular value, we want you to be uniquely yourself AND have empathy and respect for others. It takes confidence and self-awareness to bring your authentic self to work, but we all need to be mindful that it needs to be balanced with a keen appreciation of other people’s unique attitudes, experiences, and perspectives. Therefore, someone who truly lives this value not only values diversity, but they embody the notion of inclusion. Ultimately, they strive to bring their best self every day and inspires others to do the same.
Crafting core values are the foundational work that every company should invest in if they intend to thrive. It’s not just about listing a set of attributes and aspirations; if you truly establish a set of values that you can connect all of our processes, activities, and mindsets around, you are investing in the future health of your company. Like everything, it’s never fully done. You must revisit, re-energize, and retool as you scale to ensure they are still appropriate and effective. I’m incredibly excited we just went through this exercise. I’m even more excited we continue to evolve in a way that is inclusive and impactful to both our people and our customers.