A Foundation for the Future

Why Civilla took two years to craft organizational principles

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By Michael Brennan

Before VISA conducted its first transaction nearly 50 years ago, the founding team spent two years developing a set of principles to guide the organization. According to Dee Hock, VISA’s founder, the organization would never have become what it did—a $12 trillion global enterprise—without them.

Dee Hock taught us that unless you get the cultural underpinnings of an organization right, you will end up with problems for years to come.

As a result, our team at Civilla has spent the last two years re-visiting our principles, reading them aloud to each other, reflecting on where we see them in action, and making modifications.

This iterative process has resulted in eleven principles that underpin Civilla’s culture. They strengthen our team’s decision making, influence our behavior, and reflect the agreements we’ve made to each other.

One-hundred years from now, we believe they’ll continue to evolve and guide the way.

 

 

HEALTH

This is a marathon. We honor the daily practice of mental, spirital, and physical health as our top priority.

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RELATIONSHIPS

At Civilla, deep relationships are our greatest asset. We are each responsible for seeding new relationships, investing in them, and preserving the trust we hold.

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QUALITY OF WORK

We do work that we’re proud to put our name on and take responsibility for all that we create.

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DECISIONS

Civilla entrusts those closest to the issue to make the final call.

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GROWTH

We are each the captain of our own “growth ship.” Civilla creates the conditions for us to arrive as our full selves.

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OPERATIONS

Our tools and actions minimize the “doing of the doing.” We each do our part to ensure the organization runs smoothly.

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SPACE

Like a bird’s nest, the Civilla space enables us to self-assemble while remaining light, functional, and magical.

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RECIPROCITY

Civilla’s mojo comes from the team’s commitment to our mission and the organization’s deep investment in us all.

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TEAM

Civilla is intimate, low drama, and high functioning.

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PERSPECTIVE

We take our work seriously but refrain from taking ourselves too seriously. Here it is hard to distinguish between work and play.

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FINANCES

We all understand the health of the business and the impact of our decisions on the whole.

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Adam Selzer