Agro-Know Values: the story & the value of the month

Let me start with bit of pre-history. A little more than three years ago Agro-Know family found its new permanent “laaarge” home (I put quotes because we don’t fit there anymore) . Day by day, month by month the AK family was growing. It was obtaining all the usual attributes of the corporate family – defined job positions, teams and departments, organizational structure, rules here and there… You can read about our organizational changes and structure in the earlier post. Still one of the bright characteristics of AK always was quite a flexible atmosphere without much need for formal discussions and meetings, despite of hard-working schedule.  But as long as we added more people at a faster rate, the same internal culture and habits were no more working and were demanding a change.

It was the time for AK management to search for an alternative – to oversee the way we work and to define what our culture is.

In this way, our CEO Nikos Manouselis involved each and every one of the AK team members in conducting the core values of the company. He collected answers on the questions like “How we want to behave?”, “What is the most important in our everyday working life?”, “What are our values?”  After quite a short time the long list with the values was drawn; and in a very simple way we selected the top ten of our corporate values.

Here we arrived to the second round of the values’ selection. Again, by involving every one of the AK team members, we refined all the values and adjusted them to our common understanding and beliefs. You would ask why we take it so seriously. The answer is quite simple. We are in the process of establishing a “Constitution” of our company, “declaration of Agro-Know’ers rights” if you like this definition better, which we will protect and defend. Moreover, Agro-Know due to its Athenian location, the birthplace of democracy, does not have any other choice than to function according to the Ancient Greek principles 🙂

And now we are in front of our third and, I believe, one of the most difficult tasks; values to be embedded and socialized, values to come alive in the organization, by constantly and consciously reinforcing them in multiple ways – storytelling, establishing value of the month, hands-on sessions, through identifying examples from our everyday work life. As the first step, we have run one hands-on seminar dedicated to AK core values few days ago, where some real examples and stories from the past and everyday work life, illustrating how and where one of the core values was in action (or maybe was not!!!). When ending hands-on session we asked each team member to think and share a story on how they see and interpret one of our ten core values:

1. Focus on valueWe put every resource that we have in good use by focusing only on what brings value to our company, our clients and our colleagues. To achieve this, we are always setting clear goals and we are working towards them.

2. Our people are doersWe enjoy doing things. We love cracking the hard problems. We cannot resist a new challenge. We will be the ones to do the dirty job and make it shine.

3. Learn, Develop, GrowWe embrace change in our business with a view on learning and developing ourselves and our mission. We know that inside each team member there is more potential than we even realize. We work to constantly unlock that potential, both in ourselves and our co-workers. Everyone is open and looking forward to feedback.

4. Respect everyone and be fairWe commit to act with respect and consideration towards our colleagues and clients. We have zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior, independently of the hierarchical level of the aggressor. When we act inappropriately, we apologize promptly – and if needed, publicly. We have the obligation to stand up to our values. We listen to and  treat each voice with respect, objectively and non-hierarchically.

5. Empowered people. We trust and believe in our people as the foundation of success. We give our team authority to decide what’s right and act upon their belief. We encourage each and every one of our colleagues to act as a business owner.

6. Creativity, risk and experimentationWe encourage our people to take calculated risks and engage in playful experimentation. We welcome “trial and error” as a cornerstone of learning. We are not afraid to make mistakes because, after all, that’s often the best way to learn. We take risks and are open to are colleagues taking risks too, as long as we learn from them as a team and use them to make better decisions in the future.

7. Serve people, not solutions. We listen to our customer needs and work in order to find ways to serve them. We understand their workflows and the problems that we can help with. We deliver more value than our customers expect. We are all involved in customer service delivery and happiness, regardless of the position or level.

8. Proud deliveryWe only undertake work that we can deliver with the highest quality standards that will make us proud; our reputation is more important than any single project.

9. Mother earth inspirationOur work is not “just a job”, it serves a higher goal and is beyond making profit. Our users are people working on pressing societal challenges and who are trying to find solutions to the problems of this planet. We serve these users because we believe in a better future for ourselves and our children, and it’s part of our work every day to make sure that we can play our role in achieving this.

10. One happy familyWe want to build a family, not just a team. We manage our teams fairly, effectively and with a sharp focus on our common goals. We serve those we lead by removing obstacles and enabling our people to succeed. We watch out for each other and care for each other’s happiness.

We will start infiltration of the values on our next Happy Friday on 14th of February – luckily named “Value’ntine’s Day”. I would ask once again each one of Agro-Know’ers to have a look at the list of our values, choose one or two (or all of them) and prepare a short story from our everyday work life, which you would like to share with all the team during this Happy Value’ntine’s Day. And pay the double attention and extra thought on our value of the month! And the first surprise is not that long to wait!

In the comments to this post feel free to speak out your thoughts about the values, express ideas, comments, give examples or even just upload a photo/picture that represents the way you understand the value.

Your contribution is not obligatory in our blog, but we would like to see 18 different comments!! 😉
We will start with the less-voted value and finish with the most-wanted one.

The value of February is – Our people are doers
“We enjoy doing things. We love cracking the hard problems but also devote out effort and energy to deliver the smallest tasks with great care and efficiency. We cannot resist a new challenge. We will be the ones to do the dirty job and make it shine.”



  1. OUR PEOPLE ARE DOERS! Our people are the ones that will stick with an impossible task like the one in the picture and see it to the end. We will create something amazing like what you see in the photo, with a simple tool like some deck cards. The overall result of our work will be considerably more than just the sum of its parts…

  2. I think that the first part of this value’s description is exactly at the heart of how the AK team is approaching tasks: “We enjoy doing things”. We are not just processing tasks – we like to take over, to challenge ourselves and be proud of what we deliver. From light dissemination tasks to designing networks, managing huge amounts of data and serving different communities/user bases.

    We are focused on what we are doing and we always do our best to deliver high quality outcomes. I think that this specific value is the secret behind the rapid growth and success of AK 😉

  3. OER Commons by ISKME is one of those dynamic digital hubs which put the right teaching and learning materials in the hands of learners and educators worldwide. Attentive to the world’s issues and growing demand for environmental education, the creative Agro-Knowers noticed the opportunity to use the existent OER Commons network to set up a Green space to serve the growing needs for education in the areas of sustainability and resource conservation, from climate change and pollution, to biodiversity, nutrition, policy, eco art and culture.

    WE ARE DOERS: we got together with some of the best in the field (i.e. ISKME team from U.S.), drafted a plan and this is how the OER Commons Green microsite ( was born. In a few months, the AK team had populated the new microsite with over 4000+ openly licensed resources covering learning needs from K-12 to college courses, making it easier for everyone interested to search, find, use and contribute to a very dynamic environment.

  4. Our people are doers and we will go the extra mile in order to achieve the desired result. To be exact we will go more than 150,445 miles (242,117 km) in our effort “to get it done”. We will travel around the world (6.04 times) to meet our colleagues, disseminate our results and get in touch with different people and we will spend more than 367 hours in the air to get there.

  5. This is probably my favorite value in the list. In Agro-Know, we really DO things. We don’t simply undertake tasks. We are not assigned responsibilities. We don’t deliver contractual obligations. We are the doers. We are the ones that will step forward and take the lead when no one else is willing or interested. We are the ones that will work beyond and further what is described in spec documents or contractual terms, just to make sure that the final outcome solves a real problem and serves our users & customers. We are the ones that will work on something even if there is no direct financial revenue expected. We are the ones that will focus on the nasty, boring, small tasks – we will squeeze them and get the value out of them; we will polish them and make them shine. Whenever there is something that needs to be done, keep an eye for the Agro-Know’er behind your back: she/he is looking at it, eagerly waiting to take it over and start implementing it. We Focus on the Value of each task, and we will take it up to the level of Proud Delivery. You can be sure about it.

  6. This is what we do!!Not just we try our best for completing our tasks,but we do our best.
    Some said that “trying is giving a piece of yourself, while doing is the full commitment”.

  7. Doers are not those who never fail, but those who never quit! They keep doing things and at the end they are winners, always proud of their effort and their outcome.
    Everybody can be a doer, even a small ant! All you need to believe is that you can do it!

  8. In Agro-Know we are not just dreamers… We are doers!!! We have the ideas and we put them into practice, no matter how hard this might seems! We overcome every obstacle and we do our best to make all our dreams come true!!

    Most of the times, this “pathway” is full of doubt, fear and worry, but we manage conquer all these feelings in order to achieve our goals!

    After all, as Bruce Lee once said: “The doubters said: “Man cannot fly”, The doers said: “Maybe, but we’ll try”…. This is exactly what we do in AK! We try to make this world a better place!

  9. Agro-Know’ers are doers! We start with an idea and a “to do list”! Little steps in the right direction, doing things that make a difference, putting thoughts in what we do. We don’t expect anyone to do it for us, instead we just say one to the other “I know you will do it” And there is no other option than doing. Learning as we go! And doing it better.
    Let’s go do, keep doing and do some more. There are million and one dos still yet to be done.

  10. We are doers because we undertake hard and real problems and we take action in short for bringing the best and most meaningful solution. We wont give up until we reach that point, whatever the adversity will be. Actually, we do enjoy making things happen and work and this is why we are not afraid of facing new and bigger challenges!

  11. As the value description says, we enjoy doing things and we devote our effort and energy to deliver even the smallest tasks with great care and efficiency. It’s no matter if the task is dull and difficult, we will “lift our sleeves” and do it. Others might enjoy working only with luxurious trendy things, like funcy creativity events. Our team will open the excel files with the budget, payments and financial expenses of a project and check them cell by cell to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. We’ll devote our time and effort to make sure that even this task that is shunned by others will be handled with care.

  12. Just give to the AK Team a task, and we will contact you in a very short time that it’s done :). You will not know who, how much time and how many hours we were awake, you will just have the polished result 😉

  13. ” Doers are cheerful and spontaneous persons. They are charming and full of energy and real persons of action. They keep a clear head and the overview even in difficult situations. This makes them popular problem solvers. Their ability of being able to absorb and process information is phenomenal.”(


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