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Ground Rules

  • Be kind.

  • Be candid.

  • Be courteous.

  • Be constructive.

  • Be creative.

  • Be encouraging.

  • Be honest.

  • Be prepared.

  • Be present.

  • Be productive.

  • Be punctual.

  • Be respectful.

  • Be thankful.

  • Psychological safety: everyone is safe to take risks, voice opinions, and ask questions.

  • Speak your mind.

  • Have fun.

  • Differences of opinion are natural and useful.

  • Disagree in private, and show a united front in public.

  • Ask for clarification if you are confused.

  • Speak for yourself, not on behalf of others.

  • Speak from your own experience, without generalising.

  • Listen with an open mind before you speak.

  • Respect confidentiality.

  • View the issue as "we" not "me".

  • Accept where we are. It's OK if things aren’t perfect.

  • Look for your part in the problem. In a partnership, partners play a role in happiness or unhappiness.

  • Make it safe to share. This includes giving a heads up about a big conversation, choosing a neutral time and place, and so on.

  • Look after your mental health. And speak about it, it affects us all.

  • All ideas are valid.

  • All voices are heard.

  • There are no stupid questions.

  • Don't repeat yourself.

  • Say no.

  • Presume good-faith intentions.

  • Test assumptions and inferences.

  • Use every failure as an opportunity to learn.

  • Debate the issue, not the person. Critique the ideas, not the people.

  • Challenge one another, and do so respectfully.

  • Silence does not mean agreement nor disagreement.

  • If you are offended by anything said during discussion, acknowledge it immediately.

  • Aggression or personal attacks are not OK and will be halted immediately.

  • Aim to understand each others' strengths and also weaknesses.

  • Decision speed matters.

  • A high-velocity decision environment keeps up energy and dynamism.

  • A high-velocity decision environment is more fun than a low-velocity decision environment.

  • Never use a one-size-fits-all decision-making process.

  • Many decisions are reversible. Those decisions can use a light-weight process. So what if you’re wrong?

  • Get good at quickly recognising and correcting bad decisions.

  • Recognise true misalignment issues early and escalate them immediately. Do not let decisions stagnate into "You’ve worn me down", which is an awful decision-making process, slow and de-energising.

  • All projects and activities must have an Activity Lead. This doesn't just apply to customer projects, but all efforts, including internal efforts, e.g. the office interior design effort. See Activity Lead and Activity Bootstrapping Protocol.

  • Never loose your calm. If that is happening, excuse yourself and rejoin the situation when you are feeling more balanced.

  • When someone does a good job, praise them publicly. Don't be shy about this. Everyone should give praise, you don't have to be someone's superior.

  • "I don't know" is a perfectly valid answer.

  • Never do something that violates our core values. There are no exceptions to this.

  • Never violate your own moral code.

  • Value people over processes. Each process that we introduce incurs a cost of a few "bureaucracy points". Once a company incurs enough "bureaucracy points", the company dies.

  • Keep teams small.

  • Don't interrupt people when they are working. Prefer asynchronous communication. When you need synchronous communication, give ample lead time to the other parties so they can schedule their time.

  • Overtime and personal sacrifice are always voluntary. There are no exceptions to this.

  • If you feel the need to fall back to rank to settle a discussion, you're doing it wrong.

  • Direct discussions within teams are very much encouraged. If the Activity Lead is not present (which is OK), make sure that they are brought up to speed on the key insights that resulted from the discussion.

  • 9Y doesn't have a headquarters (HQ). We are *one team*, distributed across multiple offices.

  • Always assign a crossover person when you will be unavailable, and announce this to the team. See Crossover Person Protocol.

  • Use company vocabulary consistently. Know the difference between the Team, Clan, School and Group. a Squad, Team and School.

  • The official company language is English. People are welcome to speak whatever languages they want–though be mindful not to exclude people from the conversation. For written, internal documents, we stick to English. Project notes and internal documentation should also be in English. Customer facing notes and documents should be localised to the customer's preferred language. External facing materials should be localised (e.g. website or offers). In case the customer speaks a language that some team members don't, then try to find a common language (usually English), and ask the customer if they're OK with this.

  • Understand and follow all of our general Gameplans. These include topics like our office, security, meetings, etc.


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