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DTC Boardroom: Five Core Values To Create A Winning Team With SmoothieBox’s Vinny McCauley


One of the main keys to any business success I’ve experienced has been the team I surround myself with. At SmoothieBox we launched with the below 5 Core Values and at least once a day one of the below items is brought up in a meeting or used when making a decision.

The key for us is that the core values are authentic and not just corporate platitudes. We use these to build confidence in the team, create clear expectations and provide guiding principles. In some cases, our core values provide the “tie breaking vote” needed to tip a specific decision one way or the other.

We communicate the 5 Core Values initially during the interview process to make sure the candidate we’re considering aligns with our most basic principles and expectations. They come up again during the onboarding process and are validated by the onboarding team.

At least once a month, we have an “all hands” meeting in which the core values are one of the standard slides we review quickly for anyone new in attendance.

Lastly, they are brought up organically in many of our discussions and used to support/defend different positions and corporate decisions.

At SmoothieBox these five core company values drive who we hire, our employee review process, how we work, act, and make decisions. We ask all hires to agree to the below and as you’ll see in the first value, we hold each other accountable. We are our brothers/sisters keepers.

If these values resonate with you, feel free to steal this whole cloth, or alter it as you need.

You’ll be amazed at how the establishment and adherence to core values can simplify decision-making at all levels of your team.

At [your business here] we are:

? Accountable:

  • We hold ourselves and business partners accountable to personal, team, department and company goals and outcomes.
  • We value personal productivity in the context of achieving collective outcomes.
  • We trust and rely upon our teammates to complete excellent work on time.
  • We encourage efficiency, timeliness, and individual agency in how we accomplish work so that we can prioritize a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance.
  • We have an ability to work autonomously, self-motivate, and work our hardest, despite no direct oversight.
  • We seek solutions, we can bring up problems, but we discuss solutions.

? Accountability sets the tone and the standard for being on our team. We know that “not just anyone” can be on our team. We are a team with expectations, clearly communicated. This allows a strong “work from anywhere” culture which has come in handy during the pandemic. This also allows for people to work when is best for them, maintain healthy lifestyles and simply be judged on the job they do, and not the hours we work.

? Authentic:

  • We communicate openly and honestly.
  • We aim to be truthful with our members in our product offerings.
  • We aim to be transparent and collaborate with our business partners.

? Authenticity starts at the top and is modeled. We strive for authenticity in our brand, marketing materials, conversations with our members and in our product development. Our product is authentic, our reviews are authentic, our offers are authentic. We seek partners to work with that are authentic and employees that are authentic.     

? Relentless Improvement:

  • We are constantly iterating ideas and processes to push ourselves and the company.
  • We work smart and scrappy.
  • We are a goal and numbers-driven company and use data to measure our progress.
  • We support being lifelong learners.
  • We want to continuously improve our member’s experience.

? Relentless improvement drives our daily actions and activities. We ask each other in meetings, what are you doing to improve today.   Relentless improvement allows us to “go live” with things that are not perfect, as we know we are all committed to improving over time.   Relentless improvement removes the “analysis paralysis” and “fear of failure” element that a lot of businesses experience.

? Member Obsessed:

We want to provide members with an experience that exceeds their expectations.

We seek to understand our member’s needs and solicit their feedback. This feedback is the foundation for how we solve problems, improve and innovate.

We ask ourselves “Is what I’m working on, helping our members?”

? Being member obsessed allows us to keep “the main thing, the main thing.” In business, there is a tendency to get distracted and become obsessed with things other than the customer (member).  When the temptation creeps in to focus on revenue or to become “profit obsessed” this core value grounds us to our launch vision.

? Humble:

  • We encourage a dialogue of diverse opinions.
  • We are open to people’s opinions and experiences different from our own.
  • We encourage asking questions and approaching challenges with creativity and curiosity.
  • We are quick to admit failure.
  • We were founded on humble beginnings.

? Humility is simply not celebrated in modern business culture, in fact, quite the opposite. There are books and management courses that discuss solely “how to manage egos” in the workplace. It is literally impossible to successfully manage egos. Even if you are able to, the amount of work involved to do so, is unsustainable & distracting.   Demonstrating, celebrating, & fostering a culture of humility relieves the need to manage egos, from the top down. When times are good, we raise our heads for a moment of celebration, but humility dictates that we put our head back down and go back to work.  

We use the above concepts like a constitution to help guide us through the daily navigating that is required in business.  A culture is only a culture if embraced & defended.

I’m excited to be joining DTC’s community, and I look forward to connecting with fellow entrepreneurs and contributing where I can. You can reach me at vin@smoothiebox.com or find me in the DTC+ community. 

Special thanks to our friends at Pilothouse for their insights on this topic.
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