When I first on-boarded to LVL-Up, I learned the company’s vision and its six guiding principles: Collaboration, Autonomy, Adaptability, Progression, Integrity and Ingenuity. At first these were just abstract words, but after being with LVL-Up for nine months, I now see that they truly are what guides the entire LVL-Up team.
So often companies have a manual or a policy that they hand to new employees who are told to read it and follow it. This was the case at the job I had before I was hired with LVL-Up. I held an Eligible Family Member (EFM) position at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Being in a government job, I had to conform to a variety of rules, procedures and red tape. That mindset couldn’t be further from the reality of LVL-Up.
At LVL-Up team members are invited to join the team and help shape and grow the culture, the norms and the business. For example, I witnessed the guiding principle of Collaboration soon after joining the company when we updated our Group Norms–the traditions, behavioral standards and unwritten rules that govern how we function when we gather.
The founders of LVL-Up did not want to issue a bunch of rules and regulations on how each person is to act and function. They want LVL-Up to be a group effort that grows from within, not one that is pulled along from above. They recognize that everyone working here is an accomplished and highly capable colleague, so they actively seek input from every member of the team.
Each person took the time to deliberately think through their past experiences and determine what made a good working environment and what did not. Then, during one of LVL-Up's weekly virtual team huddles (that each team member leads in rotation) there was a discussion about what everyone came up with. The whole process was managed by the team, not guided by the founders. The resulting, collectively-agreed-upon definitions are now encompassed in an internal document that showcases the basic Group Norms for our company. When hiring new team members, the Group Norms will be used for both candidates and LVL-Up to assess each other for culture fit. This will not become a static document that collects dust, for it will continue to be reviewed, and input from each team member will be sought and added to the document.
I am energized each day I get to work in a place that challenges me to use the guiding principles, such as Collaboration, in my day-to-day.