The Paxos Approach to Core Values – and Why it Matters

By Andrew Chang, Chief Operating Officer

Most organizations have a set of core values of some kind. For some, these values are used to guide actions and behaviors on a daily basis. For others, values are just phrases seen on posters in conference rooms. Every company has its own approach.

At Paxos, we want our core values to inform everything we do. They’re the operating system for the company and guide how we make decisions, choose product strategy and communicate with each other. We’re intentional here; we want our values to guide our actions because we believe they will lead to the best long-term outcomes for Paxos. However, this wasn’t always the case.

Four years ago, when the company was in its infancy, we decided it was time to build a framework on which to run the company. So, we decided to write down core values. At the time, we thought we should have a collaborative process to define our characteristics and behaviors. We asked the full team to share what they thought mattered most. From there, we came up with a nice sounding set of values – but they didn’t feel meaningful nor specific to Paxos.

We weren’t sure why the values didn’t work at first. Over time, it became clear why they didn’t fit that well: they weren’t an authentic reflection of our CEO and Co-Founder Chad Cascarilla’s vision for how the company would operate. Paxos’ mission and vision are driven by Chad as our leader, so our operating system should also come from him. For a company that is as collaborative as ours, this sentiment can be counterintuitive. We decided to revise our core values based on how Chad believes we can best drive industry transformation and reach our goal of mobilizing financial assets.

Our shift in perspective led to where we are today. Paxos’ four core values are influential across the organization and act as a guiding light. We’ve made a deliberate effort to communicate our values to candidates as they consider Paxos as a place to work. The values define who we are and what we’re about, which means Paxos isn’t for everyone, but for those who do align with these values – its a great place to work.

The 4 Paxos Core Values

Paxos Value #1: Search for the Truth

We obsess over finding the right answers to the right questions. We leave our past experiences and personal bias at the door. With every situation, we look at the facts and decide the best path forward that will lead us to the right answers for the company.

What does that look like in action?

  • At Other Companies: Be a “yes man” and always agree with your boss’ opinion; never disagree, especially not in front of other people.
  • At Paxos: Feel the freedom to openly challenge assumptions and ideas.

Paxos Value #2: Shared Commitment to Excellence

We don’t expect perfection. However, we demand that every Paxos team member comes in looking to work at the highest level possible every day. We expect top-quality outputs because we’re all driving toward the same idea of excellence. By joining Paxos, we’re committing to each other to be excellent. That’s how we build trust and reliability across the team. It’s how we think we’ll be able to achieve our goals. We’re relentless in pursuit of self-improvement and all want best-in-class solutions to the complex problems we’re tackling.

  • At Other Companies: Do only what you’re told and stick with the same old way of doing things.
  • At Paxos: Commit to improving every day and trust that everyone else is also committed to optimizing performance.

Paxos Value #3: Real-Time Candor

We’re moving fast at Paxos. There is no time for half truths or reserved judgements and opinions. Direct, honest and real-time feedback is crucial to achieving our mission. And we’re all professionals – we have respect for one another and speak candidly. We know that’s how we’ll improve and get the best results. We let down our defenses and know that direct, earnest feedback best for the work – it’s never about personal feelings towards specific people.

  • At Other Companies: Hold back feedback and then unleash it anonymously once a year through performance reviews.
  • At Paxos: Share feedback immediately for the sake of improvement for the whole group.

Paxos Value #4: Be an Owner

We want people to own outcomes even though they do not control all variables of a project. We ask team members to take responsibility for Paxos’ success by being a clear owner of their piece of the pie. Here, you need to be proactive about solving problems even when lines of responsibility are vague.

  • At Other Companies: Complain about issues that you want someone else to solve, or face roadblocks when you try to work on something outside your department.
  • At Paxos: Identify areas of improvement and start chipping in to solve the problem, or find additional resources to help make an impact.

The way we demonstrate our values day in and day out has created an environment that many find extremely refreshing, motivating and empowering. We can see the impact of our work, and we can tie it directly to our mission. Working at Paxos is not like any other job – here, you’re part of a team of people working together earnestly and relentlessly towards achieving our goals.

If this sounds appealing to you check out our open positions at!

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