What to do if someone is behaving in a non-VSHNary way?

As described by our Company Values:

Values are the definition of VSHNaryness: how we behave and interact with each other as VSHNeers and as VSHN.

What does this mean in practice? How do we notice if someone is behaving in a non-VSHNary way? And what should be done if this non-VSHNary behaviour persists?

It’s important to understand that we’re not talking about single mistakes/problems that happened (after all, we are humans), but a consistent, non-VSHNary behaviour over a longer time period affecting other VSHNeers, externals or the company as a whole.

The table below offers some examples of each VSHN’s Company Values.

Positive and negative examples of VSHNaryness

The number of an example on the right side refers to the example on the left side.

Value Positive example Negative example


  1. VSHNeer tells you that they take care of something. This something is taken care of (deliver what’s promised).

  2. VSHNeer tells you that they take care of something. VSHNeer figures out there’s no time to do it and informs you or finds a different solution.

  3. VSHNeers offer help, if they are able to help.

  4. VSHNeer understands their responsibilities and takes care of them, as a stakeholder you don’t have to control or ask for it.

  1. VSHNeer tells you that they take care of something and then doesn’t do it.

  2. VSHNeer doesn’t do the tasks they are responsible for or committed to and don’t inform you (as the stakeholder).

  3. VSHNeer never offers help even when asked by another VSHNeer.

  4. VSHNeer is involved everywhere but leaves their actual job behind, which leads to more issues & stress for the teammates.


  1. VSHNeer experiments and learns new stuff to address the challenges at hand. Fail quick, fail often - do it better next time.

  2. VSHNeer is open to new things and constantly educates themselves.

  1. VSHNeer does not want to learn/touch new things (without any proper reason).

  2. VSHNeer does not develop know-how wise. VSHNeer rejects further education and/or new ways of thinking/solution/work, etc. ("we have always done it this way" attitude).


  1. VSHNeer questions the tasks at hand and prioritizes doing the right things needed to get the job done and to fulfil the responsibilities of their role or team.

  2. VSHNeer stays focused on what is needed to get the job done.

  3. VSHNeer is always seeking ways to understand needs and improve work based on them, whether through automation or rethinking for the good of the company and therefore all VSHNeers.

  1. VSHNeer works randomly on incoming tasks without knowing why (higher purpose) nor asking why.

  2. VSHNeer gets lost in details of a task or problem, not knowing why they are doing what they are doing and not getting help.

  3. VSHNeer invests time into changing, improving or automating things, without being clear (decision) if it will address an actual organizational need ("the problem is not the absence of your solution").


  1. VSHNeer is honest and virtuous.

  2. VSHNeer takes constructive criticism seriously and doesn’t take it personally, but improves on it (you can always learn).

  3. VSHNeer is able to offer criticism respectfully and constructively, remains calm & objective and focuses on how to improve.

  4. VSHNeer follows through on agreements even if they don’t agree or like them (as long as no objection is brought up).

  1. VSHNeer does not behave respectfully toward others, talks behind their backs, or pursues a hidden agenda.

  2. VSHNeer is more destructive than constructive.

  3. VSHNeer is blaming others (blame game) or criticizes on a personal level.

  4. VSHNeer does not adhere to agreements, talks badly about it behind the backs of those in charge instead of addressing the problem directly with those in charge.


  1. VSHNeer is fun to work with and optimistic ("glass is half full").

  2. VSHNeer notices problems and opportunities tries to understand them and brings them to the attention of whoever is responsible. If no one is, they take ownership to drive it forward - if there seems to be an organizational need for it.

  1. VSHNeer is very negative and spreads this around the team/company, drags others down.

  2. VSHNeer recognizes a risk, problem or opportunity and keeps it for themselves or only complains about it.


  1. VSHNeer shares results and know-how with other VSHNeers through an appropriate channel (unless there is a specific reason for confidentiality).

  2. VSHNeer communicates openly with the customer and ensures they are always up-to-date about the progress of a ticket.

  3. VSHNeer communicates opportunities, tensions and problems openly.

  4. VSHNeer documents their work and status of their progress standardizes and automates things to be replaceable.

  5. VSHNeer improves existing documentation or contributes to those who are responsible.

  1. VSHNeer keeps everything for themselves, doesn’t share it with other VSHNeers.

  2. VSHNeer doesn’t communicate openly with customer or doesn’t inform about progress and/or next steps.

  3. VSHNeer doesn’t communicate problems/tensions.

  4. Other VSHNeers don’t find the needed information about status and progress of the work. For example, if the VSHNeer is sick and someone else has to step in, things are not documented or in a way you can’t find them).

  5. VSHNeer just complains about things not being documented, but doesn’t help with documenting or creates a follow-up to ensure additional documentation.

Next steps if someone is behaving in a non-VSHNary way

So what should you do if you and/or your team thinks that a person behaves constantly in a non-VSHNary way?

First of all, you should talk directly with the person, that should always be the first step. But if (for whatever reason) you can’t and/or don’t want to do this or don’t feel comfortable with it, search help in your team and talk about it in a group (or at one of your standups).

If the tension persists and you can’t solve the problem on your own and also not within your team, the further process should be as follows:

  • Talk to PeopleOps about the tension and tell them why you think the person behaves constantly in a non-VSHNary way.

  • PeopleOps will talk to the person directly and listen to their view and a personal development plan might be established on how to improve the situation and a timeframe is set to re-evaluate/check again.

  • If the problems persist, talk again to PeopleOps.

  • PeopleOps will talk to the person directly and might include a 3rd person and listen to their view again and the personal development plan should be further detailed on how to improve the situation and set a timeframe to re-evaluate/check again.

  • If the problems persist, talk again to PeopleOps.

  • PeopleOps will inform management about the problem and a meeting between the person, PeopleOps and management will take place. A final plan will be established to resolve the situation, including a time frame and a fixed date when to evaluate again.

  • If the problems persist, measures have to be taken which can include switching teams or as a last resort, the dismissal of the employee.

So to summarize the process, the communication and "escalation steps" to resolve such a situation should always be those specified in the Conflict Resolution Process:

→ Talk one on one → Talk with the team (including the affected VSHNeer) → Talk to PeopleOps → PeopleOps might include management in the discussion.