When asked what we need to survive, a few important things come to mind first. Food, water, sleep—the physiological requirements. But when we dig a bit deeper?
As our cities grow, so do our needs for convenient transportation. It defines how we live in our cities, how our experiences are created, and impacts our outlook on overall quality of life. When transportation is not only convenient, but also safe and affordable (maybe even fun?) we are able to enjoy things that matter most.
At Beat, we strive to help people improve their quality of life.
Whether it’s by offering exceptional transportation experiences for riders or creating economic opportunities for drivers, Beat’s priority is to bring out the best in the cities we operate in.
How do we make this possible? The answer is simple. Our people. By putting the right people, in the right positions, we are able to rally a group of like-minded, yet diverse, professionals who bond over our core values. It’s allowed us to create an enviable working environment that inspires our people to give their best for our customers and our cities.
Before beginning any type of collaboration, with talent, vendors, consultants—essentially anyone we enlist to help us achieve our goals—we first ensure that we are aligned with our core values. Because for us, this is what’s most important. Our values aren’t just words on the wall. We talk about them almost every single day, during meetings, company communications, even during lunch.
This has nothing to do with being a ruthless person. It means that we hustle our way to success and make our own rules to get there. It’s the primary reason we grow rapidly as professionals and why we are able to scale the company so fast. Working hard isn’t enough—it just gets you by. It doesn’t scale. We all want to take our company to the next level and we have agreed that we will do whatever it takes to realize our two most important goals:
- Increase your capacity to win
What helps us succeed today and what helps the company win is likely different than what we will need to do the same in 12-16 months. We need to always stay ahead of the curve and move fast. Speed is our most critical competitive advantage.
We are constantly “upping our game” and expanding our skill sets to support this. All of our employees have access to the required resources to help them become better versions of themselves. But the drive comes from within!
Quality means different things to different people. Opinions on what defines quality vary within our company. If you ask a marketer and an engineer on what quality means to them, you’ll likely get different answers. Whatever your version of quality is, we expect you to fight for it. We encourage open and unfiltered debates, and we expect you to give your best to convince everyone else on your version of quality.
We love the way technology moves humanity forward. We are fascinated by the productivity gains we make by automating tasks that were previously done manually by humans. We love diving into big data and learning from it. We rely on technology to help us be fast, effective, and efficient.
We want our people to own their domain and be the authority figure whenever it comes to discussing or deciding on anything related to the field or discipline.
When talking about our trade, we are known for our expertise. Our deep understanding of our respective subject drives not only our own passion, but others as well, to learn more. This creates an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. We are eager and willing to help people grow by sharing our intelligence and we dedicate time to training others.
We need enormous amounts of energy, stamina, and a desire to outperform our competitors to be a player in this environment and win. The only way we can achieve that is by building a high-performance culture where incredibly talented people join forces to build something that is bigger than the sum of its parts.
What connects our talented people is a core set of practices that support a high-performance culture. More specifically:
- We openly, clearly, and constantly communicate expectations for the work that needs to be done and the challenges being faced.
- Our leaders help the company scale fast by making sure they have high performers with the right skills in every position, which enables teams to move with precision and speed to complete projects.
- Our people practice radical honesty (inspired by Radical Candor) by telling one another the truth in a timely fashion and ideally face to face.
- We encourage debating issues that are associated with strong, fact-based opinions, but we are able to let go and commit to whatever decision is made, only after we’ve expressed our disagreement in the strongest way.
- We base our actions on what is best for the customer and our company. We have balanced egos and we’re not trying to prove that we’re always right.
For us, a great place to work is not free lunches, great gyms, or fancy offices (although we try to provide such perks to our teams). A great workplace for us is a dream team in pursuit of ambitious common goals. This is where we learn the most, perform our best, and improve the fastest. Not to mention, it’s where we have the most fun!
Because we maintain a high density of high performing talent we are able to operate with a lean set of policies, procedures, and rules. We try to keep them as simple as possible because we think complex processes hamper our speed and agility.
To maintain balance, it’s equally important for our employees to report to both a functional manager and a “chapter” leader.
A functional manager is a person responsible for a unit’s profit and loss and is accountable for the team’s results. She is the leader of the functional team. The chapter leader is the most experienced person in each craft, and guides employees to follow the best practices, whether it’s marketing, or mobile development, or finance.
For us, it is critical for every employee to work with both types of managers to gain different perspectives on their outputs and to ensure the best result is achieved. This brings up the question, who is responsible for evaluating the employee? While the solid reporting line is to the chapter leader, there is a dotted reporting line to the functional manager. We expect both of them to agree on the employee’s evaluation. The assessment should not differ drastically, seeing how we all share the same common values that are applied when evaluating performance.
We try to apply this philosophy to everything we do.
For example, when we are developing new products we give ownership to at least two people, rather than one. We want there to be a mutual agreement to determine the best course of action for any challenge at hand.
At the end of the day, our product and services won’t be successful if our people aren’t. Old management styles that preach hierarchy won’t work in our organization and won’t let us scale at the rate we want to. Modern living, focused around technology, calls for modern management. Many other organizations that are automating more and more of their processes, like we are, forget about their people and the emotional factors involved. At Beat, investing time to ensure that our teams are happy and content with their role, team, and manager is a no-brainer for us and the first step in anything we do.
Personal and professional development within Beat is unique. We don’t fall for the leadership myths that call for checking each stereotypical requirement off a list, or following someone else’s timeline, in order to grow or be promoted. But that doesn’t mean we give responsibilities to people who aren’t ready for them. Each individual's journey at Beat is tailored to their skills and ability to perform at the level they are confident in.
We are building a culture that is still growing. Hopefully, it will never stop. Otherwise, that means that we, as a company and the professionals that contribute to it, have stopped too.
If we can highlight one key point from this document is that at Beat, we have a need for wisdom. Inspired by one of our role models, Barry Schwartz, we acknowledge that a wise person knows how to make the exception to every rule, they know how to use moral skills in the pursuit of the right aims, and most importantly they realize that wisdom is made not born.
Of course, we need rules, and we need job descriptions, and we need operating principles. But at the end of the day, what will allow us to contribute to society, to our employees, and to our customers, is the way people understand and follow this manifesto. It’s the amount of wisdom that our people have (and are allowed to exercise) that will make the difference and help us achieve our overarching goal, to help people improve their quality of life.
The path that our culture will follow is defined by our people. We always welcome those who believe in what we’re doing, who are ready to move fast, and most importantly who align with our core values to join us on this journey.