Courageous Values


Ross Hale

on •

Feb 14, 2023

Courageous Values

Recently, thanks to a great Artium values overview with our latest crop of Artisans, I’ve found myself thinking about how important it is to facilitate trust within our teams.

And, how our courage values are important not only for inspiring entrepreneurial spirit, but also for facilitating that trust.

Specifically, I'm thinking of three teams where creating trust & psychological safety is very important for us to be successful:
  • Trust within Artium between Artisans: so we can freely exchange ideas, maintain a beginner's mindset, and help each other grow.

  • Trust within your engagement team between artisans: so we can make hard decisions, align in a direction in the face of uncertainty, and have each other's backs.

  • Trust within your broader client team between artisans and their client counterparts: so we can authentically advise our clients, focus on building the best possible software, admit when we don't have the answer, and maintain camaraderie and mutual support in the wild and fast-moving world of software development.

There’s a famous quote by Brenne Brown:

“There is no courage without vulnerability”.

I also think it’s accurate to say there is no trust without vulnerability.  And what takes more courage than demonstrating vulnerability?

Let’s dig a little into each value centered on courage and how it facilitates trust:

  • Grit - Grit is all about leaning into the challenge. It’s about pushing yourself to the limit and growing as a result. In my experience, putting others on the team before yourself is one of the best ways to build trust and a sense of camaraderie.

  • Radical Action - This value facilitates trust in that it encourages everyone; artisan, client, veteran, or a newbie; to feel empowered to take action when they know the right thing to do. Even more importantly, it encourages those on the receiving end of that action to celebrate the fact that the person took action, even if it turned out to be wrong. This is no easy thing and can even seem counterintuitive.  But creating an environment where it’s safe for people to make mistakes and safe to fail is an important part of building trust and driving innovation. And what happens when there’s misalignment on a radical action to take by the team? That’s when it’s necessary for some people to disagree and commit to a direction, which takes trust. And is best supported with the next value:

  • Truth & Reality - This value is both about making decisions from a fundamental base of truth and about taking the time to debate an issue from all sides to better understand it. It supports the above value well -- we need to be able to move quickly and take radical action as a team. And we should therefore avoid a requirement for consensus. It takes a fair amount of trust and psychological safety to be able to have such a debate and to be able to align with the team even if your particular viewpoint didn’t win. This is also supported by the last Courage value:

  • Humility - This one might be the most important for building trust within teams. It takes courage to be humble; courage to admit you might not be correct 100% of the time and can make mistakes. But this humility is contagious, especially in the context of working with our client counterparts who may perceive that we’re there to tell them they’re all wrong and we’re all right. Demonstrating both humility and confidence at the same time can be tricky, but it’s a surefire shortcut to building that trust and psychological safety in teams.

Another quote by Brené Brown is: 

“We need to trust to be vulnerable, and we need to bevulnerable in order to build trust.”

I believe it takes tremendous courage to take that first step and trust your teammates enough to show vulnerability. But the payoff is being part of a high-performing team that supports you through and through.

I hope that by sharing these posts (initially created for my internal company-wide Sunday emails), I can help drive the conversation around values and community in tech forward, bringing more humanity into the thoughts of founders who will inevitably impact and shape the future.

- Ross Hale, CEO of Artium