Adobe Chairman and CEO Shantanu Narayen shared the following memo with Adobe employees globally. The memo has been edited to remove links to internal documents.
Adobe was founded on simple yet enduring principles that remain with us to this day: innovation is at our core, employees are our greatest asset and our customers, communities and stakeholders are central to our success. We have always distinguished ourselves by relentlessly looking around the corner to launch transformational technologies that propel the industry and the company forward. We have embraced invention and reinvention to better serve our customers, expand into new markets and deliver the best of Adobe to our stakeholders. We have accomplished all of this in the Adobe way — with ethics, creativity, a high bar for excellence and compassion.
From the outset, John Warnock and Chuck Geschke established a company culture where employees could do their best work, be themselves and great ideas would be welcomed from anywhere in the organization. As Chuck so eloquently said in his 1998 essay defining Adobe’s Culture, ours is a “business built with intellectual capital […] and the way we behave and operate our culture directly affects the financial success of our business.”
As we think about the ambitions that will drive our next decades of growth, there are four things that are top of mind for me: market opportunity, strategy and innovation, execution, and people. The profound global shift to digital has created tremendous tailwinds for our business. It’s transformed how people create and consume digital media and how companies across industries engage employees and customers to build trust and loyalty. These massive trends underscore that now more than ever, rich and dynamic digital experiences are shaping every aspect of our lives.
Adobe’s mission to change the world through digital experiences is at the center of it all. We stand at a pivotal moment in Adobe’s history that’s been 40 years in the making. We have the right strategy, applied to an exceptional opportunity. We are empowering everyone, everywhere to imagine, create and bring any digital experience to life. The way we execute and scale the business to capitalize on the massive opportunities before us is going to position us for decades to come.
All of us bring Adobe’s mission to life, working together to drive impact for our customers and communities. Each employee contributes to Adobe’s success and should feel a sense of ownership and empowerment to create Adobe’s next chapter.
As we look to the future, our values represent the attributes and actions that will help get us there, underscoring what is powerful about our heritage and what will define our future success.
Creativity is not only what we enable for the world but it’s also core to the fabric of the company. It has driven our curiosity to look around the corner to transform the industry and ourselves. Over 40 years, we launched the desktop publishing revolution with PostScript, innovated and led every category that we are in — creativity, documents, customer experience management — to serve a wider customer universe. Create the future is all about being the customer and being relentless across all the elements that make up customer centricity to delight them, deliver unparalleled value and innovate to address unmet (and possibly unknown) needs.
Owning the outcome is critical to driving success in any business. It is biased toward action and speaks to empowerment and impact. It’s not only about the work that you do but also the outcome that you drive. It requires each of us to think more broadly about how our work impacts the company at large and the broader role we each play in the outcome of a project.
Raise the bar is about continuous evolution and never being satisfied with the status quo. It’s about never settling for good enough and always striving to be first, only and best. It’s about being intellectually honest and direct in talking about the things that aren’t going well and always looking to do better. At the end of the day, our ultimate measure of success is the customer and today more than ever, we need to surprise and delight them at every turn.
Being genuine is a hallmark of Adobe and something that always comes up when people talk about our culture. Ensuring that we reflect the diversity of the world around us — where everyone feels included, respected and has the opportunity to make an impact — has been a core value since our founding. It underscores how we support each other while being honest and direct. It also speaks to where we want to go and who Adobe should continue to be for our employees, partners, customers and communities.
Culture is created and nurtured through the actions we each take every day. As owners of Adobe’s success, I ask each of you to reflect on how you can take these values and translate them into actions for your role, team and areas of focus. Every member of senior leadership is committed to living these values in how we run the business and the behaviors that we recognize and champion.
Together, we have a unique opportunity to build the next chapter of Adobe’s culture and to make these values part of who the company is and how we evolve. The path that we chart over the coming months and years will define the next generation of Adobe and our impact in the world.