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What Living Out Extreme Ownership Looks Like at Prodigy

Prodigy Careers Blog

At Prodigy, we share a set of core values that help us stay aligned to the company’s mission to help every student in the world love learning, and to work together as a fast-growing team. It makes our overall company culture transparent, friendly and easy to adopt.

Prodigy has been growing fast in the past year, so adhering to a common set of values is as important as ever. One of our main core values is extreme ownership

What does extreme ownership mean to us?

We define extreme ownership as being both assertive and open. We communicate directly and express our thoughts and opinions openly, in a respectful and friendly way — all while staying open-minded to new ideas and processes.

Assertiveness and openness help us reflect on our past mistakes, and motivate us to look for ways to avoid them in the future. These things also help us proactively look for innovative solutions to current problems and aim to exceed the expectations of our stakeholders.

One of the ways extreme ownership manifests itself at Prodigy is avoiding the “blame game”. We have an accepting attitude towards failure. It’s a part of the learning process on both an individual and corporate level. Mistakes are bound to happen and, when they occur, we focus on solutions and improvement of processes, rather than on blaming ourselves, each other or external circumstances. 

The focus on extreme ownership motivates us to lead new initiatives and go the extra mile to get the job done. We’re proactive about identifying existing problems and then focusing on finding the most effective solutions, rather than settling for something that is convenient. We keep each other accountable for our actions, communicate our ideas openly and honestly, and focus on the best options for the team and organization. 

Emphasis on extreme ownership at Prodigy helps all of us grow in our roles and constantly strive for new problem-solving strategies. We motivate each other to persevere and keep looking for innovative solutions when we face difficulties.

How developing an extreme ownership mindset can help

This kind of mindset can help you expand your skills and become more comfortable and confident expressing ideas and suggesting new solutions to existing problems.

Another less obvious benefit of putting extreme ownership into practice is that it helps us overcome the feeling of Imposter syndrome — i.e., the feeling that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be, which unfortunately is common among young professionals.

Extreme ownership is not just about owning and admitting your mistakes. It’s also about owning your successes and achievements, being confident about the expertise that you bring to the team and being able to defend your point of view.

For some people, it could also mean allowing or helping enable others to be extreme owners.

What extreme ownership means to others at Prodigy

There are many ways to embody extreme ownership in different roles. Each team member finds a unique way to adhere to this value within their own department. Here are a few examples of how our team members embody this value in their day to day work:

“Extreme ownership is when you are not only responsible for the tasks assigned to you, but you are eager to help those who are blocked as well as you contribute to the overall success of the team sprint after sprint.” — Tanya Bobrovski, Associate Product Manager in Engineering
“To me, extreme ownership at Prodigy is about holding ourselves accountable for the results we produce, recognizing how our individual efforts are a critical part of the results we deliver as a team.” — Brent Havers, Backend Developer in Engineering
“This value means always thinking about the end goal(s) and big picture. Through asking questions and identifying the problems or risks that need to be addressed proactively, the goals set are ambitious, achievable and impactful. It also means questioning processes and pushing for change whenever necessary.” — Diana Troung, Educational Specialist, Product in Product Management

Extreme Ownership is manifesting itself in all of our major projects, as well as day-to-day work.  If extreme ownership is a new concept to you, or if it's something you want to incorporate into your work ethic, Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin and Radical Candor by Kim Scott are great books to start with.

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