This is the first part of our Culture Code blog series and your chance to see how Skeleton Technologies operates. We are not a traditional company by any means. We have clear and ambitious goals, and we work hard to reach them. It takes something exceptional to be the best, and the Skeleton culture is the pillar we lean on.
The series includes the following six blog posts:
1. We Help to Save Energy - the Skeleton Culture
3. Do You Want Results or Do You Want Time Cards?
Every company has a culture. Sometimes it’s called atmosphere, organizational culture, workplace environment, or even the genetic code of a company. What you call it doesn’t matter, but what is important to understand is that culture can make or break a company.
Skeleton's Summer Days - this is how we roll!
But if it’s that important, how is a culture developed? Well, that’s the hard part, because in many ways culture grows organically from the people in the organization. Having great people can result in a great culture, but it’s not as black and white as that. And, of course, one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch. Having great people helps because culture evolves with people, but it should be nurtured, guided, and allowed to adapt as an organization grows.
Culture is not an easy thing to understand. We’ve spent years trying things out and testing to see what works for Skeleton Technologies and in the following blog series I’d like to introduce you to what we now consider to be Skeleton’s Culture Code.
At the center of every company’s culture, you will find the core values. These are values that are deemed so important that every person in the organization should embody them right now but also in the future.
Skeleton's Core Values
When we think about what we do, then it’s quite simple: we create ultracapacitor-based energy storage systems for our customers. And why do we do it? To fulfill a vision: we want to help people and companies save energy.
Sounds like a worthy goal, but what does it actually mean? How do we develop and manufacture our systems based on the best ultracapacitors in the world? How do we make that vision a reality and what guidelines do we follow? Here’s where our Core Values come into play. Whatever we are working on, these are the values we remind ourselves of:
1. Get Sh#t Done
- We focus on finding solutions, not describing problems
- We start with a goal in mind and do what it takes to reach it
- We learn through doing, not through endless discussions
At Skeleton, we think that problems are for solving and it is our job to find the solutions. Because in the end, it’s not really about the obstacle, but what we want to achieve. And the best way to do that is to simply go and try. Start with a theory but most importantly – put that theory into practice and see if it holds up.
Doesn’t sound too complicated, but it can be surprising how this kind of a get sh#t done attitude gets lost as companies mature, so we think it’s key to remind ourselves to focus our energy on the important things, work towards a goal and find a way to get it done.
2. Push Boundaries
- We go outside our comfort zones
- We act with a sense of urgency
- We question the status quo
- We keep trying when others would have given up
Pushing boundaries is at the very core of how we operate at Skeleton, working constantly to achieve and keep not only our technological advantage but also an organizational advantage.
For many people, constantly striving to want to do better is challenging. They are happy where they are and enjoy their routines. That’s fine, but that’s not what will help truckers in Europe alone to save over 2 billion liters of fuel per year or develop the propulsion system for airships that can carry over 60 tons of cargo. We want to be constantly progressing and finding better solutions to help our customers save energy.
Because the world is moving at an increasingly faster pace, we find that in order to excel, we have to act with a sense of urgency. Meaning that if something’s worth doing, then usually it’s worth doing now and doing well.
But we also recognize that being at the forefront of technological innovation means that not everything works on the first, second or sometimes even the fifth try. So, living by the wise words that "if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again" is a valuable trait that we value highly.
We encourage Skeletonians to question how things are done, and to find better ways. Not just to disagree with how we do things, but to offer better solutions backed by data.
3. Use Good Judgement
- We use our resources wisely
- We seek to help, even if it’s “not our job”
- We speak up when we see something that needs solving
- We value clarity over cleverness
Heavy bureaucracy is the kiss of death for innovation. At Skeleton, everyone has the power to decide how to use the resources available to them. We trust that our people know what they need to get their work done efficiently. Sometimes they need extra training, maybe a book, maybe some newly developed software. Whatever it may be, everyone can make the decision to get it. All we require is the use of good judgement.
On the other hand, what we think is detrimental to the success of a company is wiping problems under the rug or just ignoring something, because it’s not necessarily your problem, and office politics or covering your own behind by skirting around issues. At the very least these kinds of behaviors lead to valuable time lost, but in the extreme could have far more severe consequences.
These core values are the backbone of our culture, but our culture consists of more than just the core values. Our people are who we rely on to build, maintain and develop our culture and our company. That brings me to how we have been able to build a team of great professionals, who push the boundaries and make it their goal every day to learn more and build the best products in the world. More on that on the next part of the Culture Code blog, which you'll find below.
Read more about how we've built our team of stars and what's our philosophy on building the perfect team:
Culture Code - part 2: Building the Skeleton Team
Culture Code - part 3: Do You Want Results or Do You Want Time Cards?