Scribe Media: Focus on Values


Scribe Media, a publishing company based in Austin, TX, has the best small company culture according to Entrepreneur’s 2018 Top Company Cultures List.  Scribe Media’s mission is to unlock the world’s wisdom by making it easy for people to turn their ideas into books.  They achieve this mission by staying focused on their values: results, people, and learning.

The public Culture Doc on Scribe’s website declares caring for relationships is of utmost importance.  From the authors, to the freelancers, to the publishing team, all the way to the readers who end up with the books in their hands, every interaction makes an impact.  Co-founder Tucker Max says, “We believe our relationships with each other define our lives and determine what we can achieve as a tribe, so we choose to value these connections above anything else.”  Notice that they call themselves a tribe, which connotes a cohesive unit, rather than referring to themselves as employees or coworkers.

What Helps Them Stay True to These Values on a Day-to-Day Basis?

A collection of 10 principles carefully crafted by their leadership, clearly communicated in the Culture Doc, and embraced whole-heartedly by each and every member of the tribe.  We will discuss the top two principle’s here, but highly encourage you to read the rest on the Culture Doc.

Principle #1 is We Before Me, which sets the expectation that tribe members will always “make the right decision for the tribe as a whole before you make the right decision for yourself.”  Notice it is phrased “We Before Me,” not to be confused with “We, NOT me.”

While Scribe requires that the tribe come first in the context of work, they still support their individual members in the contexts of their personal lives.

That’s where Principle #2 comes in: Bring Your Whole Self to Work.  Twice a year, Scribe Media gathers for a 4-5 day summit in Austin, TX where they do team-building activities and go through their strengths and obstacles workshop.  At the workshop, each tribe member writes down their strengths, their obstacles, and three things they want to improve upon in the coming year.  They share their list with the tribe, who collectively adds to each member’s list and helps them choose areas of improvement.

Each member then selects what Scribe calls a whole self partner to hold them accountable in their quest to improve and bring their whole self to work.   Tucker Max explains, “Undergirding the approach is a belief that colleagues embracing and supporting one another, in the entirety of their humanness, will enable individuals to reach personal goals — and in doing so propel the company to achieve its ambitions, too.”

Earning the #1 spot on Entrepreneur’s small company cultures list shows that Scribe Media’s time spent defining their mission, values, and principles in detail was a worthwhile investment.  They have cultivated a culture that is genuine, cohesive, and focused in their mission of unlocking the world’s wisdom through publishing.

Watch the video to learn more about working at Scribe Media from their employees, the Tribe.

That’s our spark, what’s yours?