Company cultures are a very widely debated aspect of the startup world. This is how we see our culture and what it’s all about:

Preface

In June of 2016, Alex and I started Ladder with the sole mission of helping people find happiness through health and wellness.

In the early days we did a lot of pivoting. We knew we wanted to drive technology into a massive but stagnant commercial fitness industry, but other than that we didn’t know much. The one thing that we did know was that we wanted to build the type of company that we had always dreamed of being part of.

We knew that if we were to stand a chance at being successful we had to build an amazing team, culture, and company to support, enhance, and ultimately execute upon our collective vision.

The TEAM was, and always will be, the most important part of what Ladder is; the asset that trumps everything else.

Context

So why culture?

Everybody talks about corporate culture, but why is it so important? Why do companies want to create a great culture? How does it actually help the business? Don’t companies just care about making more money or helping society?

Making more money and helping society are the outputs, the input is the people, and the culture is what allows the people to maximize their abilities and achieve excellence within our organization.

Culture is neither good or bad, but strong or weak and company cultures are not transferable.

“We’re not looking for the best players, we’re looking for the right ones”- Herb Brooks

Table of Contents

Our Culture
Core Values
Facts that Matter
How We Roll

Core Values

Our core values serve as the backbone for our collective decision making. A framework for how you should conduct yourself as a member of the team and the guiding principles for what we value most in fellow teammates.

We exist in a startup ecosystem where it sometimes seems like companies are required by law to have “core values” and furthermore seem to pick them out of a pre-selected bucket of 20 or so. I wish I could say that we tried very hard to come up with these values, but the truth is it wasn’t hard at all. These values are not much more than the result of the things that were instilled in our early teammates and I from a young age. The things that we embrace. That embody us and signify what it is we want in teammates and ourselves.

These values are the attributes that guide us, as I previously stated this set of values would hold little to no value in almost any other company, but to us they are everything.

  1. Grit
  2. Effort
  3. Positivity
  4. Chip on Your Shoulder
  5. No Problem is too Big
  6. No Man (or Women) left behind
  7. Dream

Grit

We understand the importance of grit and always embrace it.

We are about sweat, not swagger.

We are bout character, not charisma.

We are the result of a hard fought struggle.

We have a willingness to take risks.

We take challenges in stride.

We work relentlessly toward our goals.

We have the passion and perseverance to accomplish difficult things, even if we are wallowing in the most difficult of Circumstances.

Effort

We know that maximum effort is just the bare minimum; a place at the table.

We understand that effort takes no skill, it’s simply a decision that we make. We choose to make it constantly.

We realize that anything less than optimal effort is a sign of disrespect to all those who rely upon us.

We understand that we can out-work certain issues and through hard work, difficult things become far easier.

Positivity

We know that positivity is a choice that we mindfully make, consistently.

We always assume positive intent in all engagements. We assume the best from people.

We identify with a world where people are inherently good.

We enter every situation with an outlook focused on the positive aspects as opposed to the negative.

Have a little Chip on Your Shoulder

We feel like we have something to prove to the world.

We embrace a sense of competition between us and the outside world.

We possess a feeling of overcoming adversity that helps fuel our fire to achieve what others may think is impossible

No Problem is too Big

The bigger the problem, the more we want to tackle it.

When faced with difficult vs. easy, we choose difficult.

We run toward the hardest challenge with vigor.

We face obstacles and challenges with energetic excitement.

No Man (or Women) left behind

We understand that we are only as strong as our weakest link.

We pick up our teammates when they need help, we work together.

We understand that a diverse team consists of diverse skill sets and we embrace the challenge of cohesively joining our collective assets.

We are a unit that wins and loses together.

Dream

We are dreamers who accept the vulnerability that comes with our goals.

We choose a purpose that exceeds what most think is reasonable.

We believe that, together, anything can be achieved.

We have the confidence to seek greatness, no matter odds.

Facts that Matter

As it relates to our business, let’s set a few things straight:

  1. We want to go Big
  2. Our Product is People
  3. We are not the Star of the Show

We want to go big

We didn’t start this company to build a nice little company. We want to build ladder into a transcendent entity that achieves optimal value for our users, our teammates, and our investors.

We will not be satisfied with anything less than becoming the company we dreamt of. Anything else, no matter the potential monetary reward, would be a failure.

Our product is people

The product we offer is driven by the people who use it, the technology will build will never be the star of the show. The technology simply exists to serve the people, to enable more effective and efficient engagements between the people.

We will always put the people first. Our people, the people who use our product to find happiness through health and wellness and the people who use our product to better serve more people.

We are not the star of the show

We are the vehicle and we exist to connect people with other people, products or services that put them in the best possible position to find happiness through health and wellness.

We believe that there will massive innovations in hardware, we embrace that and will embrace new solutions and help put them in the hands of our various users.

We are not the solution, we are just here to help.

How we roll

These aren’t our core values, but rather these are the themes which result from our values in aggregate. Our view on relevant things, on a more granular level.

  1. Meritocracy
  2. Respect
  3. This is work
  4. Resourcefulness
  5. We Move fast
  6. We Ask Why?
  7. We Embrace Chaos

Meritocracy

What you did before doesn’t matter. Where you went to school doesn’t matter. Who you are friends with doesn’t matter.

Every member of our team is replaceable, it makes no difference if you were a Co-Founder or if you previously worked at a multi-billion dollar company.

We earn our jobs every day.

If we excel in our current roles we will have the opportunity to take on more responsibility, receive more autonomy and progress through the organization at a rapid rate.

Respect

We all play by the same rules, from the CEO to the newest Intern, we respect one another as equals and act accordingly.

We are on time, because not being on time is simply a sign of disrespect.

We list, because not listening is simply a sign of disrespect.

We have a mantra; Best Idea Wins. It doesn’t matter who you are, your voice carries as much respect as you want to, you just have to earn it.

This is work

Ladder is where we work, it is a big part of our lives, but it is certainly not who we are.

Our office is a place of work, it is not built for fun, though we enjoy ourselves, it is built to produce value. We are all adults here, act accordingly.

You have plenty of rope, enough rope to make a lasso and use it to be the cowboy (or cowgirl) that takes my job from me… or enough rope to hang yourself.

Resourcefulness

If you don’t know how to do something, ask. If you can’t find an answer, figure it out.

Nobody else is going to do it for you. You have the autonomy to make decisions and act on them and you’re encouraged to try and fail.

We work hard to solve problems that others would move on from.

We Move fast

There is really no other way to explain it.

We are not methodical.

We do not “kick the can down the road.”

We strive to collect information, quickly, and make swift decisions.

We don’t do it because we have a “need for speed,” we do it because we feel like we have to.

With speed comes mistakes, we embrace mistakes. If you don’t make any, you won’t last long because that means your not moving fast enough, not thinking hard enough. If you make the same mistake repeatedly, you won’t last long because that means your not learning.

We ask Why?

We question everything. We are incredibly curious.

We are not cogs, we are assets. We think as individuals and we have the confidence to question all decisions and dig deeper into the reasoning behind them.

We Embrace Chaos

We are comfortable being uncomfortable.

We accept that things will never slow down, there will be no time where things become “easier” or “less demanding”. This is a marathon and it will continue to get harder.

We focus on a mentality of achieving a state of calm amongst the chaos and we learn to love it.

 

 

That’s Ladder – what’s important to us, what we celebrate and what we don’t tolerate…

Brett Maloley

Brett Maloley

Co-Founder and CEO @Ladder - I love all things Startup, the Commercial Fitness Industry and Building and Leading teams to do extraordinary things. I live in South Boston, MA, with my beautiful fiancé, Nicole and my co-worker/best friend/French Bulldog, Penelope. I spend the majority of my free time exercising, reading and preparing for future arguments. My favorite thing to do is drink good wine, eat good food and talk to great people (at the same time).

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