Patrick and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to build a company that people want to work for.
We want our team to feel respected and heard while finding meaning in what they do, and good culture is the vehicle to build a company that people are excited to be a part of every day.
I believe culture starts with us, the crazy founders that convinced everyone about joining us in this endeavor. It continues with the first few team members, and eventually it becomes the soul of what the company is and stands for.
Much like that quote that says “You’re the average of the 5 people you spent the most time with”, the company also adopts the personality of the people. If you invite stress and toxic people into your life, you’ll inevitably adopt those traits or become influenced by them.
Hiring people that are aligned with your values and beliefs is very important, but so it is to hire others with different points of view, backgrounds and personalities. Inclusivity invites progress and growth. So we often ask ourselves, how do we build a company with diversity in its thoughts and people, while maintaining the values that got us started in the first place.
What matters most in a company culture is the environment that you create. If you have a strong culture, where everyone understand what we stand for and how we should treat our peers, it will be easier for new comers to adapt to that than to incite chaos and imbalance.
There are good examples of this in the animal kingdom, dogs for example. When you bring a rescued dog that is stressed and afraid to a pack of healthy balanced dogs, it’s only a matter of time until it becomes one of them and starts running free and unafraid. The healthy pack has an invisible influence that brings positivity and comfort to the newcomer.
When you build a company where everyone cares about each other, when people are willing to go the extra mile because they see everyone else doing it, then belonging will be tied to doing good and positive things for each other, instead of taking shortcuts to impress their manager at the expense of their team.
Ideally, culture is not something that is talked about, it’s just something that is there. Our responsibility is in building the underlying themes and values that are not said, but assumed based on how people behave and the things they do. So when they go away, those values will be replicated everywhere they go.