Investigating our values – Respect

In DTI we value values.

We want to share how we use the values that we have as a company and give an idea of how we developed them. They are not just empty slogans we put on the web page to hopefully impress someone. While other companies have this value, such as American ExpressKellogg’s and Starbucks Coffee, this is how we look at respect and what it means to us.


This is one of my personal values. For me, everything starts with respect. If that does not exist, whatever comes next will be problematic for one of the parties involved. I do not know how a productive relationship can be created without respect. I do not want to be involved in one where respect is not present. It’s something that can be gained slowly through results and quickly lost with a badly timed joke.

In working in Drive To Improve, I’m lucky that my fellow colleagues share a deep understanding of the value and live it in their daily lives. When we first started out discussing what type of company we wanted to create, this was the first value put forward. As we evolved as a company, each of us saw it necessary as a building block and we think it defines us and while we may not always be able to show it, we hope that others can see it in the majority of our work.

An example in the workplace

Several years ago a new Agile Coach saw a company that we had worked in for a couple of days and commented that the job we had done was “s#*t”. While I didn’t agree with his statement, nor the manner of how it was said, it hurt. We all have egos and for another person to say your work is not good, hurts. It was only after a couple of days that I realised why. We agreed that the situation wasn’t where we wanted it to be however this person did not take into account how we had arrived to that point, why, what we had done nor how long we had swam against the current.

Respect in Drive To Improve

This brings me to what we mean by respect as a value. Almost everything can be improved, whether it be a company, a process or a team. At Drive To Improve we respect that there is a reason the process/team/company exists. Imagine a company wants to do Agile. That company has been successful up to some point in the recent past or continues to be successful at it’s core business. We would all love to work in a great company that uses agile in a fantastic way, creating great products or services while adapting to market changes by getting timely client feedback. That may be the goal, but there is quite possibly a long road ahead to reach that (if we ever do!).

Now, we could judge a company based on the actual photo but that does not do that company justice from where it has come from. Maybe they have had to change processes, team members, managers, location, technology. Some people arrive, look at that photo and judge it. We think we should always respect the past, not make judgements of current practices and help define the compelling future together with the company. We respect the past but don’t stay in it.

I don’t always get it right…

An example that sticks in my head from Drive To Improve was from last year while during an online meeting between the four of us, I made a comment about how another one changes his mind often. Later that week in person, he mentioned that he had not felt respected by the comment and didn’t like it. We worked things out and realised where both of us had spoken from. I hadn’t explained myself well and not shown full respect. The great thing was that the problem was identified and understood by everyone. We were able to learn from it, especially me!


For us, the value of Respect is not an empty gesture and we hope that the companies we have worked with throughout these years have been able to identify it within their relationship with us.

Do you see the core values of your company in your daily interactions?