Our culture is our people, their contributions and values, and, yet, it is greater than the sum of...
Kaldea Culture Guide, Part 3: Inclusivity and High-performance
This is the third in a series of four articles, publishing our full culture guide. It covers inclusivity and performing as a Kaldean.
- Part One: Introduction and Collaboration
- Part Two: Be Transparent and Contribute
- Part Three: Inclusivity and High-performance
- Part Four: Customer-centricity and Conclusion (Forthcoming)
Kaldea thinks of inclusivity as a pre-condition for high-performance. Including others, different perspectives, and sometimes even other people’s experience of us at work or our work, is paramount to growth, to staying connected to the needs of our coworkers and customers. And both inclusivity and high-performance are inherent to contributing to Kaldea’s greater mission and goals. So read how Kaldea understands the relationship between inclusivity and high-performance.
If you can get excited about inclusivity and doing your life’s best work, then check out our Careers page on Notion.
Inclusivity, in forming today’s startup, is a de facto condition. Diversity at the workplace is something we must constantly strive for. Without it, our company can easily become isolated and cut off, over-investing with minimal impact. Including others requires getting out of our comfort zone and taking the extra step to learn about diverse perspectives, being open to feedback, and educating ourselves about other backgrounds, thoughts, and ideas without expecting others to educate us. Never assume that your perspective is the same as others. Cultivate curiosity about other peoples’ perspectives.
Inclusion and exclusion
We define inclusion at Kaldea because we also want to exclude certain behaviors and qualities; we aren’t looking to embrace everything that we encounter. When we choose what to build, we also choose what not to build. The same goes with our culture. We want to be explicit about what we include, but also what we exclude. We will not tolerate behaviors that discriminate or marginalize others, that disrespect our colleagues, that create a corrosive environment for our shared work.
Low performance and burning out
Likewise, we do not embrace low performance. We are a high-performing, driven team that wants to be around colleagues who deliver results that contribute to Kaldea’s goals. We do not accept low performance.
However, we do not see burning out in the same way. Burning out happens to all of us all the time. Regardless of stage, all startups have jaw dropping goals and growth targets. That drive inevitably creates a situation where burnouts occur. Just as it is important to avoid burnouts, we believe it is important to figure out how to accept and recover from burnout. We believe it is our duty to help each other when we burn out. Reach out to your part-lead, along with the founders, Morgan and YK, for support; we can get through it together. All of us have been there and have been through it, and will most likely go through it again. Let’s work through it together.
Perform as a Kaldean
Since we’ve stated that under performing is not part of our culture, we want to describe what it means to perform well at Kaldea.
Be on time and on budget
We do not have unlimited time and budget. Most companies share that condition, but, as an earlier stage company, we are even more constrained by time and budget. Everything we do at this stage needs to drive highly successful outcomes; not being on time and not being on budget inherently dismantles that. Be on time and on budget. Why say more?
In our survey, we described performing well as striving for excellence and being loved by our customers for our product and service. To be loved by our customers, we need to exceed their expectations. And we need to exceed the expectations that we’ve set for ourselves. We also described the opposite—low performance—as doing things just because they’ve always been done that way, or because others do them that way. Performing like this—with an acceptance for how things are—would absolutely guarantee an outcome that is not excellent and therefore would not exceed anyone’s expectations. At Kaldea, we work to exceed all expectations, not just meet them.
It’s hard to exceed expectations. It’s even hard to describe what “exceeding expectations” means. But there are ways to embrace it. The easiest way to set the foundation for exceeding expectations is to deliver results faster than expected and with a quality better than expected. This is where our skill becomes apparent. Though difficult in practice, highly skilled Kaldeans can deliver speed and quality.
Performance should be concrete and well defined. As a data company, we know metrics, including performance metrics, require calculation and definition for different roles. Metrics also don’t tell a story, or give a reason. Nonetheless, we must measure performance. Sales and marketing should be measured by the $ performance. Product and engineering should be measured by our product performance. There may be different layers and frequencies at which success can be measured. For example, there might be top-level product performance metrics (e.g. daily active usage) vs an infrastructure level performance (e.g. quarterly SLA). Despite this diversity of metrics, we need to make deliberate efforts to measure our own performance. You may feel lost until we create OKRs from the company level down to team and individual levels. But why wait? Use Kaldea—our own product—to collect the necessary data to measure how your work is going and evaluate yourself. If you need help, reach out to your team lead, Morgan, and YK for support. We will be happy to help.
By now, you’ve seen how each of these actions—collaborating, being transparent, contributing to Kaldea’s mission, including others, and performing well—interlock with each other. Look out for the final installment in our culture guide on being the customer. And join our team!