Why Defining Your Core Pillars Can Lead to Innovation

By Jason Teshuba, an EO Detroit member and co-founder and CEO of Mango Languages

Visionary companies that are built to last are guided by core values. My co-founders and I built Mango Languages with six pillars as our foundation because they stand for beliefs innate to each one of us:

  1. Integrity: Act in alignment with the greater good.
  2. Positive Attitude: Take personal responsibility to create a healthy environment.
  3. Entrepreneurial Spirit: Take risks and work hard to bring a worthy vision to life.
  4. Innovation: Think creatively to change the world.
  5. Quality: Strive for excellence and 改善 (pronounced kaizen, meaning “improvement” and connotes continuous, never-ending improvement in Japanese). 6. Fundipline: Enjoy the journey to greatness.

We display these fundamental values colorfully on our walls, and more importantly, they guide our core purpose: To enrich lives with language and culture. Clearly defining our core values transformed them from words written on the walls to practices that every team member believes, internalizes and applies to their own life and work. However, core values must go far beyond words with strong definitions and should be intrinsic to each company’s unique culture.

Each month at Mango Language, employees nominate colleagues who display the core values in their work and conduct, reinforcing that they are fundamental to everything we do. Nominated employees are awarded a commemorative core value coin denoting the value they displayed. For example, our linguist, Kimberly Cortes, who played a vital role in developing a new product, received a core value coin for her entrepreneurial spirit.

Kimberly had a vision to combine language learning with entertainment, and her entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and positive attitude were contagious. As a company, we embraced her passion and took a risk to change the way people learn languages. As a result, our product’s unveiling at the American Library Association was a tremendous success because it honored the company’s core values and recognized the worth in our team and colleagues.

Devotion to our core purpose has created a culture that our clients love, where our employees thrive and fosters industry innovations of which we are all proud.

Jason Teshuba is the linguapreneur, co-founder and CEO of Mango Languages, a leading provider of self-guided language learning software. Jason has been a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization since 2010, and also serves as a Finance Chair of EO Detroit.

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