These are our 10 operating principles at Forte Labs.

#1 – We are in business to serve

We are in business to serve, and our financial success comes as a side effect of the positive impact we make on people’s lives.

#2 – Our word is our bond

We are accountable for our word – whether it is something we say we’ll do, remember, or follow up on. Without our word, we have nothing.

#3 – Write things down

We know that human memory is fallible. Instead of trying to “keep that in mind,” we capture anything important in a trusted place that we know will be reviewed.

#4 – We underpromise and overdeliver

We don’t exaggerate claims or make promises we can’t deliver on. We use humble, conservative, truthful language that accurately reflects what we do and what we deliver. 

#5 – Our performance depends on systems

Our job isn’t just to do the work; it is to build, maintain, and improve systems that do the work. We build systems, procedures, templates, and checklists that document what we know and ensure it is executed reliably over time.

#6 – Minimize waste

Waste is a sign that we aren’t thinking through what we’re trying to accomplish. We are stewards of the time, attention, and resources of our customers, and we take care to use them responsibly.

#7 – Problems are gifts

Problems are gifts that inspire us to action. A problem tells us that one of our systems or procedures needs to be improved. We don’t want mistakes, but when one occurs, we take action to prevent it from happening again.

#8 – Seek leverage

We seek every opportunity to increase our leverage, which improves our ability to produce greater results with less effort. Leverage allows us to make an impact far beyond our size.

#9 – Get feedback early and often

We draw on the intelligence and wisdom of our network whenever possible. We prefer to run small experiments that can be tested quickly, and then expand based on the results.

#10 – Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast

We don’t allow urgency to define our priorities. We move deliberately and take the time we need when doing our work. We are not fire fighters. We are fire prevention specialists. 

We don’t solve problems when they arise; we work on systems in order to prevent problems from happening in the first place.

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