The Mission to Redefine the Mission

It’s easy to stick to a routine, especially when that routine is working well. But proactive change is a healthy and invaluable practice for individuals and businesses alike.

Yes, it will temporarily disrupt the way things are. It might be daunting, too. But change allows you to stay ahead of the curve and it’s the best way to stimulate growth and innovation.

At PNI, the change that we were due for was a reflective look at our mission and values. Are we honouring the right things? Do these truly describe who we are today? Are they known and lived by everyone in the company?


Since our VP of Business Development Simon Cairns transitioned to the CEO/GM role in June, his top priority has been to re-identify PNI’s core mission and values. It’s the essential first step as we move forward. Once we’ve got it, we can align company-wide, bolster a new strategy and develop a solid roadmap around it.

Conversations kicked off with that lofty goal in mind. PNI leaders began asking the tough questions and listening to the right voices to get down to the heart of what we do, how we do it, and why we’re here. And after thoughtful deliberation, our new mission and values were born.

But what’s all the effort without a big reveal, right?


This is an integral piece of who we are as a company, so the announcement needed to be equally meaningful and memorable. A trusted team of passionate PNI’ers were corralled to plan an event for more than 200 employees that would allow them to learn our new guiding principles through experience. After a series of riddle writing sessions, team randomizing and map making – all captured on a top-secret Confluence page – the event was on.

On August 14, employees from our Vancouver headquarters logged off for a while and took on a scavenger hunt around Gastown to discover our new company values one by one. Here’s what we found:

Value #1: We before me.

Team Winston untangling at BC Place.

We rely on each other every day in the office. For expertise, for mentorship, for a difference of opinion, or reassurance in our own work. When the sailing isn’t smooth, we find strength in each other and build each other up because we’re all here for the same reason.

That’s what WE BEFORE ME is all about. Striving towards goals that benefit all of us, not just ourselves.

To reveal this value during our adventure, things got a little tangled up. Each team had to navigate their way out of a human knot without letting go. Like any collaborative project, it’s all about that synergy (and bendiness).


Value #2: Leave it in a better place.

Is there such thing as a perfect process? In a busy tech company? Doubtful. But it’s certainly worth trying. All code structures, UX flows, documentation, communication and business practices have room for improvement. Whether it’s a small change that will save your team members 20 minutes per week, or an A/B test project that could potentially boost client sales by 8%, what can you do to LEAVE IT IN A BETTER PLACE?

Although it’s easier, never settle for status quo. It won’t do you any favours in the long run. 

At their next stop on the hunt, teams put their heads together and decoded a rail fence cipher to figure out this company value.

Value #3: Move fast, plan well.

One thing you’ve got to know about PNI is that we work with momentum. There is a lively pulse of energy behind everything we do – it’s how we get things done for our platform and our partners; it’s how we grow. But speed isn’t everything.

Careful, thoughtful planning is essential at every outset. When it comes to MOVE FAST, PLAN WELL, we have room to improve at the latter, which is why this value is so important to us. Next time a project is about to move too fast for its feet, play the value card and hit the brakes to plan well first.

To illustrate this value during our adventure, teams had to play some beach ball keep-up. It was evident – a solid plan proved to be more effective than quick reflexes.

After succeeding on their first try, the victorious Team Bubba was all smiles at Victory Square.

After succeeding on their first try, the victorious Team Bubba was all smiles at Victory Square.

Value #4: Our partners, our business.

Team Molly were quick to put the pieces together at Rogers Arena.

Team Molly were quick to put the pieces together at Rogers Arena.

Like any good partnership, the benefit is mutual. The client retailers who use our software get to offer customized goods and shipping services to their customers. Thanks to their business – we are able to reach over 52 million customers per year. It means we can keep innovating, growing what we offer, leading the industry and of course, supporting our employees. 

OUR PARTNERS, OUR BUSINESS is about the reason we’re here. We deliver business value to our partners.  

This part of the adventure was brought to fruition with an oversized jigsaw puzzle, bringing together the logos of the retailers we power. Every piece is important.



Value #5: Fueled by passion and fun.

The culture of a company can be difficult to define, but it’s got to be the right fit in order to be happy at work. We’re pretty proud of the culture we’ve fostered at PNI. Call it team spirit. Call it a work family. Basically, it’s good to be here. We’re passionate about the work we do and the way we do it, and we know how to make each other laugh as we go.

We truly are FUELED BY PASSION AND FUN. Otherwise referred to as: together in sprints and spirits (heh, get it?).

The last stop on our scavenger hunt adventure demonstrated the how we fuel up quite literally – with tacos.


All employees should have a solid understanding of their company’s core values because they’re meant to guide everyday decision-making. But the onus is on leadership to make them known, and frequently instilled.  

The scavenger hunt adventure was our kick-off, and we followed it up with an annual general meeting which we held at the local movie theatre (a big group needs a big space, and popcorn). There, management dove in to what each value meant to them and what it might look like in action.

Simon then gave us the last piece of the puzzle, PNI’s new mission. Dozens of convoluted and technical statements were thrown around and mulled over for months during this process. Do we talk about our technology? Shout about scale? Can we avoid those overused buzzwords like “dynamic” or “solutions,” please? In the end, we’re proud to share a statement that summarizes so sincerely and succinctly what we’re all about.

Our mission: Trusted by partners, inspired by customers.

It’s true, it’s always going to be true, and it’s us. This is the beginning of our next chapter.