Every company that has a business plan has a list of core values, and it’s not unusual to see these platitudes posted around corporate offices: “Honesty”, “Integrity”, “Work”.
These aren’t bad values, and of course, they play a role in how a successful business operates, but let’s be honest – they’re table stakes. If you’re not going to be honest, you shouldn’t be coming to work, here or anywhere else (and if you’re not going to work…well, c’mon.) It’s silly to hold them up as something to strive for. Honesty, integrity, and work are not unique to any one company.
As we began the process of establishing our core values, we knew right away that we wanted something truly unique to us, that spoke to our culture. We wanted our core values to help you understand why you’d choose our bank over any other. And, if you were considering applying for a job opening with us, would define Quontic as the place you most want to be.
Our approach was to define not only what is true of who we are today – a set of truisms that we believe in – but is also timeless. Our values serve as the foundation for who we are, and that’s not just what we present to the world, it is shared across every person we hire at Quontic.
Here’s where we landed.
Progress, not perfection.
We call ourselves the adaptive digital bank. Adapting means being responsive to the circumstances and external forces that make up our world. And you can’t be nimble and adapt if you’re focused on achieving perfection.
We’ll even go so far as to say that it’s a waste of effort trying to achieve something more than what is needed. There’s no such thing as perfection, after all – and we don’t want our people focused on it.
We do want each person at our company to commit to always making progress. When you have this mentality you can make decisions much faster. Consider how quickly technology changes and how much it impacts how businesses operate, and we as humans live. Or more drastically, how COVID-19 has moved quickly to impact everyone’s life. When we saw how other banks were reacting to COVID-19, we saw small businesses being left behind and acted to fill that gap by creating the Drawbridge fund and savings program. We took it beyond the standard mortgage relief programs that other banks were offering – no other account out there has used depositing as a way of paying interest to a charity.
If you are in a constant state of planning, you are not acting and you are certainly not reacting, and we think it is critical to react.
We encourage our people to make decisions. If it’s a bad decision, we get data that we can use to inform future decisions. If it’s a good decision – we double down. Either way, you’ve made progress. And progress is the destination for us – not perfection.
Try It On
Everyone feels somewhat uncomfortable with change at one time or another. At Quontic, we are always looking to adapt to the needs of our customers. So, we are up front about this because, if not, anyone joining our team might be worn down by the constant evolution.
We think of it this way: if you go shopping for a shirt, and there are three on the wall, you try them on. If you don’t like one or all of them, you don’t beat yourself up about it – you didn’t know you didn’t like it till you tried it on.
At Quontic, when we want to try something new, we say “we want to try it on.” We don’t know if it’s going to work, but we find it diffuses stress and uncertainty. In our team meetings, we have the “try it on shirt” that people can choose to wear during brainstorms. It’s ugly. We know that. It’s a tangible and fun way of saying “let’s try it on.” People who can get comfortable with this are the ones we are looking to attract.
Know the Goal
“What is our desired outcome?”
THAT is the bullseye in front of us for every discussion, every consideration, and every decision. What is the outcome we want? With that in mind, you are able to develop and implement a plan, as you are adapting and reacting. But without a goal, you make mistakes – and not the learning kind.
At Quontic, we use data to decide our goals, and people to develop the plans for how to get there. It’s why our employees are given bullseye targets for their office. It’s playful and fun, but it reinforces the idea that before we act on anything, we have our goal defined.
In most social settings, if someone holds a camera up to you and says “say cheese” – you smile. But pay attention – so does the person taking the picture. That positive mindset is core to who we are. Our team members are trying to get their coworkers to smile, and our customers to smile. How they do that is theirs to own. We want to act fast, we want to have fun, and it’s our belief that this mentality, which starts at the top, will trickle through our entire organization. This one is the manifestation of all of our values. And to remind them, each of our employees is given a Polaroid when they start as a physical reminder of what we ask them to do for themselves, our customers and each other.
Each week, in our town hall meeting, we spotlight 2 employees that have most recently personified one or all of these values. Most weeks we have a hard time choosing only 2. Within our organization we hire people that share these values, we promote people that exhibit an understanding of these values, and we raise people up around these values. It is who we are.
Our team has spent the last 18 months building something that we hope people recognize as unique, and want to be part of – whether as employees or customers. We know we will continue to learn and adapt as a business, but one thing is certain: our values define who we are and how we operate, now and in the future.
And if you want to turn these into posters you hang in your office, we totally get it.
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