Ask for Forgiveness, Not for Permission - We Are Proactive
In the last article in my latest blog series, I discussed our fourth value, We push the limits. We dove into what it means and I gave some examples of how we work towards it on a daily basis. You’ll recall that for us We push the limits means that we pursue excellence and take pride in our work. We never get comfortable.
We’re now ready to jump into We are proactive.
This is a value that you’ll find repeated at many a startup. It’s one that’s at the core of that hustle mentality. In the early days of Facebook they had the motto — Move Fast and Break Things. This is essentially what We are proactive means. For Breathe Life, it’s about being empowered to make decisions and ask for forgiveness, not for permission. It's knowing that we embrace risk. When thinking about how we build our products, Arach, our CTO, says,
we’re a startup, we hire brilliant people and get out of their way. We want our team members to feel empowered to make decisions and supported when they make mistakes. We need everyone to drive innovation and create impact — ultimately it won’t matter if we make a few mistakes along the way.
When you’re growing as fast as we are, everyone we hire needs to be able to act independently, but of course, there is always someone there if they need support. There will always be times in a growing business when the wrong decisions are made, but we deal with this as a team and work to ensure we always come out on top. The worst decision is to not make the decision.
We are proactive is such a crucial value because without it we wouldn’t be able to move at the speed that a startup needs to. Our success depends on our ability to move fast, iterate quickly, ship regularly, make mistakes, and learn from them. And we need to be able to do all this without impacting the quality of our product and brand. It’s a tricky line to walk, but it’s one of the things that makes working for a startup so exhilarating and rewarding. And this is why we knew that We are proactive had to be a value. We had to take a stand and show potential hires and new team members that we wanted them to take risks, to test new ideas, and to build what people want, not what they are expecting.
Stay tuned for the final blog in this series. I’ll be digging into what We like to have fun means to us.