We’re working to build the best possible version of Moderna 20 years from now. These Mindsets are tools we are using to build it, together.
Our accomplishments so far can be attributed to the way we’ve done things since the beginning. Along with our Values, the Mindsets that we’ve adopted emphasize how we succeed together and overcome challenges together.
We are sharing these Mindsets to provide a transparent look into what it’s like to work at Moderna and the people who succeed here. To advance our mission for patients, we need more great people to help us invent the best version of our company. Take a look and see what you think—we have provided some prompts to consider.
“We believe our mRNA platform can solve the world’s greatest health challenges, from diseases impacting millions, to ultra-rare diseases impacting dozens, to medicines personalized down to the individual level.”
Mindset 1: We act with urgency.
Action today compounds the lives saved tomorrow.
Our company is platform-based and our molecules are information-based.
Resisting the urge to wait has a compounding impact on the future.
“Our culture is really about speed. And speed in a good way. So how quickly can we advance our products, our programs to understand whether they work or not in people. And we don't compromise safety or quality.” – Christy Shaw, Vice President, Early Development Program, Infectious Disease
Are you comfortable removing barriers and obstacles? Do you not let excuses get in your way?
Mindset 2: We pursue options in parallel
to make the best choice later.
This mindset allows us to uncover more possibilities - greater impact. It results in more complexity and more work, but it gives us the opportunity to choose differently later. Even when we don't exercise our options, we value them. We do more than we need to - the minimum is never enough.
Can you manage multiple things at once? Do you strive to go beyond what is expected and explore many paths?
Mindset 3: We accept risk
as the only path to impact.
One cannot change the world without taking risk. The key is to understand the upside and ensure we also understand the downside. When there is a huge asymmetry to the upside is when we move. Accepting risk does not mean doing something illegal or unethical.
Can you make bold decisions? Are you comfortable going where no one has gone before?
Mindset 4: We obsess over learning.
We don't have to be the smartest—we have to learn the fastest.
Both failure and success push us forward. We relentlessly seek information. Having a learning mindset brings us new opportunities to get smarter and innovate faster.
“Every time we run an experiment, there is always something surprising. When we hit a brick wall, we turn it into an opportunity for learning. This energy at Moderna, which is just exciting and it's still here, is being able to solve those problems quickly and learn because we're definitely not done. There's a lot more to accomplish and do.” – Kerry Benenato, Vice President, Platform Chemistry and Formulation Discovery
When something breaks, do you toss it aside or wonder what happened and take it apart to find out? When you wonder something, do you stop and take the time to research it?
Mindset 5: We pivot fearlessly
in the face of new data.
We use data to tell us when and where we can have the most impact, because impact is the only thing that matters. This mindset validates that any decision we make can be changed based on new information. We have no egos. We are regularly wrong, but we always decide for what is best Moderna long-term.
When the conditions around you change, how do you react? What matters more to you: Being right or doing the right thing?
Mindset 6: We question convention
because proven models don't always fuel the future.
Moderna is a company of problem solvers always in search of a better solution. We are at our best when we are in a mindset to invite passionate debate, act with healthy inquisition, and collaborate in pursuit of transforming medicine.
Are you a rule follower or a rule writer? Do you prefer a tried-and-true approach or is your preference to pursue the uncharted reaches of possibility?
Mindset 7: We push past possible.
In order to make moonshots, we set goals that go beyond what we believe is possible. We know greatness lives outside of comfort zones. This mindset empowers us to set ambitious goals and continue to push ourselves even when those goals are met. By thinking big, we increase our chances to build the best possible version of Moderna.
“Because I have been encouraged to push, I’ve come out of my comfort zone to move things forward. The Moderna culture has been enabling for me because it's put me in situations that were once uncomfortable, and now they're comfortable. And now I know there are more uncomfortable situations to push through, which is always a little bit scary, but it’s a great opportunity.” – Kerry Benenato, Vice President, Platform Chemistry and Formulation Discovery
Do you set really hard goals for yourself personally or do you take the easy path? Do your goals require 50 things to go right to work?
Mindset 8: We behave like owners.
The solutions we’re building go beyond any job description.
No matter your role, we are all responsible to this community and organization. It’s all hands on deck to win for the patient. Moderna’s core challenges require us to leave our egos at the door, using this mindset to get to the best and most expedient solution.
“It's really all hands on deck. Everyone comes to the table with ideas, brainstorming, willing to go out of their field of expertise to get the job done. And while that's great for the company, what makes people attracted to Moderna and stay at Moderna is that that's great for the individual too because you can learn so much. If you're going beyond what’s described in your job description, and have the opportunity to go outside of that comfort zone, you can't help but learn new things and grow as an individual as well.” – Christy Shaw, Vice President, Early Development Program, Infectious Disease
Do you jump in and help regardless of your role description? Do you lead with the patient in mind?
Mindset 9: We act with dynamic range
driving strategy and execution at the same time and at every step.
At Moderna, we sweat the details without letting go of the big picture. Every moment requires the ability to flow between strategy and execution to succeed. This mindset encourages us to be both doers and strategists.
“Within Moderna, there has always been general optimism and the concept that we can actually do this. That sense has been critical to ensure that we don’t get paralyzed. We try, we give it our best shot and figure out how we can truly deliver on something. It could have been easy to say, "this is too hard," but there has always been sheer optimism that we actually have the components to deliver on our mission.” - Said Francis, Senior Vice President & Head of Business Development & Corporate Strategy
Do you find details fun? Do you like analyzing the bigger picture? Can you do both and switch between them at a moment’s notice?
Mindset 10: We remove viscosity
to encourage collective action.
In order to do our best work, we have to be nimble, exercise agency, and minimize bureaucracy. This mindset allows us to build a fundamentally different company where nothing gets in the way of innovation. If you see viscosity, remove it.
Are you willing to take things out to help speed innovation and deliver on our mission for patients? Do you need structure and process and lots of steps to be comfortable solving a problem?
Mindset 11: We prioritize the platform
over any single product.
We have built the most advanced mRNA platform in the industry. Every decision we make is in service of delivering on the promise of mRNA science for patients. This mindset forces us to think systemically and grow intentionally.
Are you OK stopping work on something you care about personally if it doesn’t advance a collective agenda? Are you comfortable analyzing and understanding a system, and prioritizing the big picture?
Mindset 12: We digitize everywhere possible
using the power of digital information to maximize our impact on patients.
We have an opportunity to scale intelligently—using digitization, automation and AI to turbo-charge what humans can accomplish.
“We were built on this concept of having a smaller company that is very agile and can move fast. We see digital and artificial intelligence as key enablers for that.” - Dave Johnson, Chief Data and Artificial Intelligence Officer
Are you intensely curious about technology? Are you willing to find tasks that a computer could do better and leaving the highest value work to the humans?