The letter below was written by me to the Lemonly team in April 2017. It’s part of the Sunday Night Series, an email I send to the team on random Sundays with thoughts or updates about our company. 

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If I asked you what Lemonly’s core values are, could you answer correctly? Could you list off the four core values? Did you even know we had four? In fact, we used to have five, so maybe you would’ve gotten all four right plus a bonus point.

The truth is Lemonly hasn’t done a great job of putting these core values front and center and I’m to blame for that. Currently, you see them every year when you sign the updated handbook, but that’s only once a year and you may just skip to the signature page, sign, and move on with your day.

I do believe Lemonly is great at making decisions, working with clients, adopting new policies, choosing the right benefits, and hiring great people based on our core values. So we do use the core values, but I’m going to do better at talking about them.

Oh… and they’re changing one more time!

Lemonly’s 3 Core Values

1. Collaboration

We believe in working together with our fellow Lemonheads, clients, and community. Together is better.

2. Integrity

We believe in doing the right thing. Be honest. Be gracious. Admit when you’re wrong. Be humble when you’re right.

3. Adventure

We believe in taking risks. Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone. Learn from your mistakes.

If you did know our four core values by heart, you’ll notice that creativity is gone. Why? Three reasons.

First, I decided that creativity is table stakes. It comes with the gig at Lemonly. You all have it. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be here. We’re creative people.

Secondly, how do you measure creativity? How do you answer, “Hey Brett, tell me how you’ve been creative over the past 100 days.” It’s too spongy and hard to measure.

Lastly, having three core values is simple. Three core values are strong and to the point, plus, Maddie realized something cool about these three values when illustrated as a Venn diagram (and Lemonly loves Venn diagrams).

Byproducts of Lemonly’s Core Values

We noticed that when you put these three core values together, other great things happen.

When you collaborate with others and do so with integrity, it creates trust. Trust is very similar to one of our original five core values: invested. At the time, it was something we felt we needed to say as a tiny little startup, but like creativity, we realized that being invested in Lemonly was also table stakes. Trust is vital to our success.

When you are adventurous and do so with integrity, it creates growth. Growth for Lemonly and growth within yourself. I want to make sure every person at Lemonly is growing both professionally and personally.

When you are adventurous and collaborate with others, it creates creativity. You didn’t think we would completely ditch that word, did you? Creativity is a must for Lemonly, and as long as we’re pushing ourselves and each other (collaboration + adventure) we’re going to continue to be a creative company.

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Switching from four core values to three doesn’t represent any day-to-day change for anyone at Lemonly, but I’m excited for the clarity and comprehension that these three words have for this company. They are what we believe. They are how we make decisions. They are what we stand for, and what we fall for.