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Focused Labs

Focused On: Culture

Ryan Taylor
Software Developer Extraordinaire at Focused Labs
・2 min read

At Focused Labs, we hold a weekly Culture Lunch to host important conversations about our work life. Although our company still has its youth, the seasoned team can draw from a treasure chest of experience - and it's important that we share this kind of wealth.

About a month ago, Austin set the stage for a conversation to define our own work culture.

It's hard not to adopt an aspirational tone when writing your culture down (especially for the outside world). Conversations, though, draw out the truth in increments, allowing everyone to contribute their experience. Reading back on our notes from the conversation, I'm noticing that the written product of our brainstorm carries both aspiration and present quality - we set a high standard of quality, but aren't afraid to admit that we have to be constantly improving to maintain that standard.

Having recently joined Focused Labs, this was a critical early opportunity for me to hear the values of my new colleagues directly - and contribute my own. Building great relationships takes time and trust, and this conversation gave me a foundation of understanding to start with. I think the approach of openly mapping your culture can be incredibly valuable, but it is hard to earn the trust that it requires. I hope that by sharing our experience, it can be a guidepost for others - and a force of accountability for us.


Below is the product of our 10/19/2020 brainstorm about Focused Labs culture, lightly edited for readability.

Why We Do What We Do?

❤️ Love your craft
👂 Listen First
🧠 Learn Why

What is our culture?

  • We build our interactions around collaboration
  • We deliver efficiently and fast

What defines our culture?

  • The people
  • Daily practices
  • Shared values around work output
  • Our development approach & methodology
  • How we communicate
  • That we have clients
  • Our mission

What does it mean to love your craft?

  • I take enjoyment out of what I do
  • I stay current on the latest and greatest
  • You try to learn new things in your industry
  • You can recognize bad craftsmanship
  • You improve your approach
  • You represent and showcase the value in quality

Why do we say craft?

  • It makes it an art form
  • Crafts can be continuously improved
  • There are skills that are honed but never mastered
  • It is more than just specific technologies
  • Love your craft and then use the tools (rather than loving your tools and then using the craft)
  • There's passion and dedication to quality
  • I feel accountable for the output

What tools are integral to our culture?

Cover photo is my own: Flickr

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