A new Rivian employee shared a video of them receiving an employee booklet, which includes a message from RJ Scaringe.


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Hi Team,

Enclosed is a copy of Compass. Please make it yours. Write in it. Mark it up. Add your own thoughts and ideas, Come back to it when you’re stuck. Hold yourself and each other to it daily.

As you’ll hear me say again and again, technology fades and product positioning can be copied - our only real sustainable path to creating positive impact at scale forever is the way we work together.
-RJ

Compass
Our guide to keeping the world adventurous forever.

Forever.

Today we’re operating off hundreds of millions of years of accumulated plant and animal based carbon. On our current path, we will fully exhaust this stored energy in only a few generations and in the process carbonize our atmosphere to such a degree that life as we know it will not be possible. If the planet is to continue to sustain life and enchant future generations we have to change.

To build the kind of future our kids and our kids’ kids deserve, extraordinary steps must be taken to stop the carbonization of our atmosphere. This requires individuals and entire industries to come together in ways we never have before to transition the world toward sustainable energy. This is where Rivian’s potential lies - in creating solutions that shift consumer mindsets and inspire other companies to fundamentally change the way they operate.

As staggering as this may sound, and as complex as our objective is, we already have everything we need to create change. It starts with harnessing the very thing every human being is born with: an adventurous spirit. There’s a reason we’re hardwired with curiosity and a capacity to invent better ways of doing things. The part of us that seeks to explore the world is the secret to making sure it remains a world worth exploring. Forever.

The behaviors that guide us

Come together
Ask why
Stay open
Zoom out
Over deliver

Come together

We never take for granted the magic that occurs when all kinds of thinkers and doers from different industries and geographies with different lived experiences and perspectives surround a challenge from all sides. So whatever it is that makes you you, we insist you bring it to Rivian every single day. At times we’ll disagree, but that’s a good thing. Tension strengthens ideas. The scale of our impact rests on our ability to move quickly as one team. We must challenge each other to deliver more as a group than we can as individuals - and get $#@! done together.

Rivian 101
Treat people like people. Invite diversity of thought. Find common ground. Be a resource for others. Avoid silos as if our life depends on it, because it does.

Trees do it
Coastal redwood trees are among the tallest and oldest life forms on Earth, bu their roots don’t go very deep. Instead, their roots spread hundreds of feet outward searching for other coastal redwoods to join forces with. It’s this interconnectedness that gives them the strength to grow to such great heights and what makes them so resilient to everything nature throws their way.

Ask why

Innovation isn’t the job of a small group within the company. Better ways of doing things are waiting to be discovered and it’s incumbent upon all of us to approach our work from a place of curiosity. Despite the breadth of objectives and the complexity of our goals, all our ideas begin the same way - from first principles. When we start with undeniable basic truths, it opens up a world of possibility. A first-principles approach enables us to discuss ideas rather than debate different sets of ideologies or dogmas from previous experiences.

Rivian 101
Challenge assumptions, best practices and conventional wisdom. Focus on the root cause, not the symptom. Trust your ability to learn new things more than your experience.

Why is the sky blue?
Children naturally think from first principles. It’s their way of figuring out how the world works. They’re notorious for asking “but why?” again and again and again until they get to the heart of the matter. At Rivian, we strive to do the same.

Stay open

The draw toward the unknown is strong within our team. We must continue to cultivate a willingness to greet uncertainty with open arms and all of the other stuff that comes along with it. Difficult questions. Unexpected turns. Redrawn plans. Gnawed pencils. Temple rubbing. Lots and lots of temple rubbing. When we stay open, minds stretch, hearts grow, new ideas surface and impossible becomes fun.

Rivian 101
Be humble. Practice empathy. Always be learning. Focus on solutions. Listen, think, then speak. Stay idealistic and optimistic - nothing kills momentum like cynicism and negativity.

Strong convictions, loosely held
Dialogue is fundamental to collaborations, but it’s only useful if there’s an openness to learn and arrive at a different position than the one you held when you started. The purpose of a dialogue isn’t to win or be right, it’s to drive progress. By suspending our beliefs and searching for strength in others’ perspectives, our ideas invariably improve.

Zoom out

Look up from where you are! We’re part of not one but many interdependent ecosystems and our actions ripple across our entire organization and beyond. While it’s easy to get mired in day-to-day, so focused on the task in front of us, it’s important we never lose sight of what’s at stake or why we started down this path to begin with.

Rivian 101
Think holistically. Reframe the problem. Seek feedback regularly. Communicate up, down and sideways. Hold yourself and others accountable.

Electric adventure
Our goal starting out was not to build the world’s first electric adventure vehicles, it was to improve the world. At first, it seemed like the best way to do that was to build an efficient sports car. Then, we zoomed out. Way out. We asked ourselves if this was solving a big enough problem. Ultimately we decided that the “blue car” was not the solution the world needed - a decision that set us down the path we’re on today.

Over deliver

The word forever says it all. Our work is never done and that is by design. Loving the world means always looking for more ways to do better. We don’t stop at good enough. In order to create the change we seek, we must go beyond what is expected of us - respond to the problems of today while intentionally laying the groundwork for a better tomorrow.

Rivian 101
Anticipate the needs of others. Be an agent of change. Bias toward action. Make progress, not motion. Raise the average.

“I often compare the process of building Rivian to climbing a mountain. Right now, we’re halfway up the mountain, but we should never reach the top. It’s a moving target.”
-RJ