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Kuali Values: A Culture of Intentional Innovation

January 14, 2020

Culture happens. You can choose your office space. You can choose a technology stack. You can even choose your customers, or at least choose who won’t be your customers. Can you choose your culture?

There’s a been a lot of buzz around the necessity of hiring for “cultural fit,” and while that does make sense, it can have some drawbacks. When culture starts to get confused with personal habits or temperament, it leads to conformity which can stagnate creativity and innovation.

David Hassell, CEO of 15five, recently had this to say on the matter over at TechCrunch: “A company with a strong culture has a much better chance at long-term success than one that lacks this sense of cohesion. But having a culture should not be an excuse for excluding employees with different backgrounds, points of view or working styles. A true company culture is about shared values, not hiring a homogenous group of employees of the same gender, race or pedigree. That means finding the best employees requires looking for a values fit more than a cultural fit.” He even went so far as to say: “Cultural fit is an outmoded concept that often becomes a limiting constraint when it comes to hiring. Instead, look for employees who are a ‘values fit.’ Finding employees that share your values is much more difficult than finding employees who look and act like everyone else on the team. But the end result will be a much stronger, creative and dynamic team aligned around a common purpose.”

Here at Kuali, we know and live our values. So, the writing is on the wall. No, literally, on the wall. We actually have our values written on the wall, but they don’t stop there.  Every day, in the office or online, we see our coworkers noticing and acknowledging in each other examples of what it means to be living and working from these values, and each month in our all-hands meeting we look to recognize those instances officially. So, you can be assured that we’re striving to hold to them in every aspect of our business:

  • Deliver amazing experiences – From the ease of cloud delivery to the beautiful functionality of our products to the responsiveness of our support staff to our efforts to make this a great place to work (here in the office or remotely), we choose to amaze.
  • Cultivate openness – We’re open about what we’re about, and it’s not the stock options.  It matters to all of us that our coworkers are not only free to, but encouraged to, speak their minds and that our customers are kept in the loop on everything from scheduled maintenance to the exploration of new features. Even our codebase is open!
  • Iterate to evolve – We take our dinner in small chunks. Helps with the heartburn. Many Enterprise IT projects work in 1-2 year development cycles. Often, the planning takes up most of the cost of the project and typically ends up being irrelevant. You won’t see reams of paper specs floating around the office. We make incremental changes to our software (day-long, not month-long cycles). So, often we can finish something and test it in the same amount of time it took to talk about it. We prefer action and reflectively improving.
  • Act with accountability – It’s right there in the word ‘responsibility:’ response-ability. At Kuali, we not only encourage our coworkers to gather responsibility, we empower them to.  We know that it’s important that we each bring that entrepreneur’s sensibility to find, take on, and see through what needs to get done.
  • Assume the best –  Trusting in good intentions makes a great basis for strong professional relationships, and that’s what we choose to build on, with our customers, vendors, and each other. We’re all working toward the same goals, and that kind of a positive outlook helps us collaborate when it’s hard and celebrate when it’s done.
  • Practice humility – Don’t get me wrong—we totally believe in giving credit where credit is due. For us, humility means that we know that there is something for us to learn from everyone, including you. So, we’re listening & looking forward to what you bring to the table.

Here at Kuali, we know that innovation is a must because we’ve taken on the mission to create powerful, adaptable cloud-based solutions to replace legacy higher ed ERP with elegant products that simplify processes and delight users in a way that’s never been done before.

Innovation comes from the dynamic interplay of engaged thinkers with diverse backgrounds and skillsets making connections that haven’t been made before. We hire and develop our people with this in mind, and together we’ve worked to craft a culture of intentional innovation.

Whether you are looking to join the team or join our growing community of colleges and universities, you can know that this is how we do business.

Does your company have stated company values? What are they?

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