When I started Sphere Software in 2005, out of my modest Skokie, Illinois apartment, I couldn’t be bothered by something like “core values.” I was on a mission, trying to make a living off my passion: building great software solutions. I’d studied the competition and I had a vision — I wanted to make my products more human-centric.
But first, I needed a team. That’s when my father, a retired math and statistics professor from Kharkov State University, offered to introduce me to his colleagues. The Ukrainian school system is known for its heavy emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math ( STEM ) programs, which gave us the ideal talent pool to draw from. Together, we assembled a world-class team of software engineers.
From the onset of our recruiting process, we implemented a rigorous screening procedure, testing not only for technical excellence, but also for cultural fit. We designed our interviews to identify individuals with strong communication skills, a “team player” mentality, and a commitment to excellence. Ultimately, we built a team that was united by our mission to partner with our clients and, together, create software solutions that exceed their expectations.
Over the next decade, we engaged in a series of fulfilling software projects for clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100s. We grew our team from half a dozen employees to over a hundred. In addition to our Chicago headquarters, we opened global offices in New York, Miami, Kharkov, Kiev, and St. Petersburg. And finally, we made the Inc 5,000 List.
During this period of growth, my colleagues and I tried to formulate Sphere’s core values. But the company was constantly evolving, and it was more challenging than I expected to encapsulate over a decade’s worth of experiences into a short list. Anyone can select a set of keywords, but company values go deeper than semantics — they should guide every decision an organization makes. For a while, we put this process on hold.
A company-wide meeting with the worldwide Sphere team prompted my revelation: I couldn’t leave our culture up to chance — I needed to define our values to ensure cohesion across the globe.
Taking employee suggestions into consideration, my senior leaders and I deliberated until we came up with the following core values:
Sphere’s Core Values
We’re obsessed with creating great software solutions. The entrepreneurial spirit is in our DNA. By aligning our team’s skills to match each client’s vision, we cultivate an environment where employees are empowered to perform at their full potential.
We strive to think outside the box, experiment frequently, forgive mistakes, and listen to ideas from employees of all levels. Our goal is to not only deliver exceptional software solutions, but to also give our clients a competitive advantage.
We act as full members of our clients’ teams — we listen actively, exhibit flexibility, give constructive feedback, and respect our colleagues by showing positive intent. Above all, we approach each client project with humility and dedication.
We appreciate both the “science” and the “art” of software product design. Beyond bare functionality, our teams strive to bind every touch point — text copy, pictures, design elements, color palette, graphics, voice, video, interface, etc — into a cohesive user experience that stands out from the competition.
We aim to uphold a culture of excellence in not just our work, but also in how we treat clients and coworkers. We celebrate our team’s successes and reward our employees for their performance.
We adhere to the highest standards of transparency and accountability. Every team member is empowered to use their sphere of influence to best serve the client.
We operate with a lean, entrepreneurial mentality and continually strive to make our work measurable, impactful, and meaningful.