Why we changed our company values into ‘mindsets’

Why we changed our company values into ‘mindsets’

Speak to any sports psychologist and they’ll tell you it’s not just physical fitness that wins the gold. It’s the right mental fitness. The mindset that pushes you to win. A thinking filter that informs what your mind sees, or believes is possible.

We believe the same principle applies to business. In fact we know it does, as we’ve been intentionally developing our company mindsets for the last 6 months in conjunction with all our team. And we’re witnessing rapidly increasing positive change as a result.


This is a tool that anyone can employ; on themselves; their team; their company.

This post will give you three things. Firstly you’ll learn why we decided to go from Values to Mindsets (and the process we took). Secondly we’ll share the Mindsets themselves and explanatory descriptions, feel free to use them yourselves. Thirdly we will give you a tool to track your development vs the Mindsets each week (as used by our team).

Why Mindsets?
We had been jokingly calling ourselves a ‘tech special ops team’ since late 2015. Then it slowly dawned on us that this one liner was greater than an in-meeting quip or marketing strapline. A multi-disciplinary, cross department, rapid response approach to tech was actually a better way of doing digital transformation. All focused on results, and then improving the results time and time again.

To learn more about how to build your own Tech Special Ops Team read this post.

Techdept Special Ops

Being world class
To become a world class Tech Special Ops Team (which was our aim) we needed to undertake a complete business transformation. A root and branch rethink of how we do things. And at the base of any company is its culture. We’d been focused on Culture and our Values for years. Read our previous culture book here. But the word “Values” has always felt a bit nebulous. What does it mean? Really?

We felt that the word “Mindsets” was more descriptive of the action-oriented culture of a Tech Special Ops Team. And was more directly relatable. A Mindset infers action, proactivity, mental fitness and preparedness. We like that kind of thing.

So through summer 2016 we spent several months debating Mindsets with our team. How we approach our work, the way we see the world when we walk into the room. This included several open workshops where ideas were debated and posted on the wall.

As our CEO I took on the job of reading all the post it notes, and filtering down all the thinking to a first draft of five Mindsets. These were then discussed, debated and edited, creating a final five Mindsets, each with descriptive text which you can read below.

Techdept Mindsets
By adopting these mindsets we will be world class.

Be yourself.

Lean everything.

Constant progression.

Open & candid.

Extreme ownership.


Be Yourself

  • Say what you think. Express yourself.
  • Have fun. Be playful.
  • Communicate in ‘Human’.
    • If it can be said in a robot voice then maybe don’t say it that way 😉 
  • Pay it forward: be kind, give more, help others
  • Train your inner Chimp
  • Enjoy your work, but leave it at work.

Lean Everything

  • Always ask “what would this look like if it were easy”?
  • Do less.
    • Do the right stuff, at the right time, in the right way.
  • Clarify tasks by writing things down and talking them through.
  • Focus on the end goal, prioritise & align your actions with it.
  • Don’t get fixated. Don’t drill through rocks when you can walk around them. Discuss, make decisions & keep moving.
  • Not everything is urgent. ASAP is poison. Pick priorities.

Constant Progression

  • Ask how you can improve things:
    for your clients, your company, your colleagues and yourself.
  • Ask what could or should be there? Leave your comfort zone and learn.
  • Engage with & steal from the world. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Try stuff out. Change things up.
  • Build knowledge by writing things down, creating “the best way” a checklist for you and others to rely on
  • Create space to think. Turn off notifications. Go for a walk.
  • Get fit in body & mind.

Open & Candid

  • Ditch your ego. The mission & team is more important.
  • Be humble: “maybe they’re right”.
  • Empathise, listen, reflect.
  • Tackle issues head on & straight away. The truth wins, always. Learn, don’t blame.
  • Recognise other’s talents and goals as well as your own.
  • If you don’t know, discuss.
  • Communicate first, task second.
  • Be a great delegator, and delegatee.
  • Celebrate success, no matter how small.

Extreme Ownership

  • Take full responsibility for your work and how you work with others. Own it.
  • Work together to win. See wider than your part of the process. What is the end result, the bigger picture?
  • Think around problems, be proactive and creative. Suggest answers.
  • Lead in your area. Give confidence.
  • What could go wrong? Check everything because “only the paranoid survive”
  • Be disciplined.
    • Discipline = Freedom
    • Focus on our mindsets and habits
  • Respect your time & attention – and that of others.
    • Show up 5 minutes in advance of meetings, be prepared.
    • Be on time, get your head in the game.
    • Be accountable for deadlines you agree to.

Note: we have taken the name of our fifth Mindset from the book ‘Extreme Ownership’ by Jocko Willink. We’d highly recommend it

Download the Mindsets as a PDF here.


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