The Next Evolution of Our Company Values
A lot has changed at Alto since Matt and I first set out to transform the pharmacy experience back in 2015. (For one thing, we no longer work out of a storage closet.) In the past two years alone, we’ve quadrupled our team to more than 1,000 Altoids and opened new locations in Denver, Las Vegas, Seattle, New York City, Houston, Dallas, San Jose and San Diego.
Our mission — improving the quality of life for everyone who needs medicine — will never change, but a team of 1,000 needs a different recipe for success than one of 100. And as our team continues to grow, along with our geographic footprint, we’ve revisited our core values so that we can move forward with intention and clarity during this next phase of Alto’s journey.
Here are the values that guide our work today.
This was at the top of our founding values, and it’s still here. In fact, our resolve to put patients first has only gotten stronger — not because it’s what is best for the business, but because it is our only reason for being in business. Each member of our team strives to build a world where healthcare companies truly prioritize the needs of their patients, and we’ll do everything in our power to make that a reality.
My personal favorite of all our new values, dancing in the storm is about embracing the bumps in the road — and there are many when you’re taking on challenges within healthcare — and recognizing that you can always choose joy. We strive to help our teammates do the same by infusing a little bit of levity and laughter into the workday. It only takes one person to start a dance party!
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. Nor is it the absence of strong opinions, but the willingness to learn and change our minds. Sometimes our ego takes over — that’s only human. But we try to be mindful of it, and willing to let go of our ego and instead put our mission, customers, and teammates ahead of ourselves.
We view ourselves as creators of our circumstances, responsible for our actions and our own well-being. When we don’t like an outcome, we don’t project blame onto others or ourselves, but rather take radical responsibility for how we created the situation. More than any other value, this is an opportunity for deep internal reflection, and by practicing it consistently, we can maximize our own individual growth.
We say what is true for us in the moment, even when it is uncomfortable. We support our teammates to do the same by recognizing the validity of their experience and not taking it personally. Leading with candor isn’t always easy, but it feels much better to live authentically and honestly and to work with others who do as well. Candor doesn't have to be angry or hurtful - it can be kind and binding, compassionate and respectful.
It’s easy to become paralyzed by fear, overwhelmed by all of the possibilities in a complex situation. So unless a decision involves customer or employee safety, we don’t wait for perfect information. We trust our intuition and common sense and simply forge ahead, knowing that mistakes are in fact one of the best ways to learn.
There are no shortcuts or silver bullets in an industry as complex as healthcare. The way to achieve transformational change is through continuous improvement over a long period of time. When we’re overwhelmed by the magnitude of what we’re trying to accomplish, we remember that what each of us does adds up — one step at a time, one customer at a time — and that with small but steady progress we can accomplish great feats.
As a company grows, issues no longer affect a few customers, but a few thousand. It’s tempting to only look at trends and aggregates, but we know this is a trap. Greater distance from individual examples creates more opportunity for misunderstanding, bias, and incorrect assumptions. So we look beyond surface-level data and dive deep into the details. Only then can we fully understand an issue to its core.
Putting our values into practice
Values themselves are just words, and the words themselves are not that important. What’s important is how we live them day in and day out, and the culture they support. In the months ahead, we’ll continue to integrate these values into the fabric of our company processes, our products, our customers’ experiences, and our work lives. And this work is not something just a few leaders or HR team members do - every Altoid has a hand in bringing these values to life and co-creating our culture.
Build Tomorrow’s Pharmacy with Us — Join Our Team
If you are passionate about creating a great company culture, join us in delivering our industry-leading pharmacy care to millions of people across the country. As a member of the team, you’ll play an integral role in improving our customers’ quality of life and redefining what’s possible in pharmacy.