Culture is the invisible guide to how your startup will win.
It is about how things get done in your company.
Your early hires will shape it, so pick them very carefully!
When every employee (and contractor) understands your company’s culture, people do what is needed to be done, with little need for supervision. Serial entrepreneur Maynard Webb said “. . . I realized that I needed to implement practices and a culture that ensured execution happened without my direct involvement on every piece. I needed to ensure things got done without micromanaging.”
Culture enables execution to be fast and efficient, exactly what tiny startups require to execute a business plan and thrive.
It keeps people going even during terrible times. Twice Apple fell into the critical care ward on life support, yet the culture kept the company alive, even when its founder got fired. And it recovered to become the great Apple.
Culture sets guardrails that limit moral corruption.
Culture communicates what’s important to everyone.
It becomes visible in the behavior of the startup’s people when the fledgling enterprise encounters the joys and sorrows along the startup trail.
Culture is the soul of the new enterprise.
It is the collection of passions, dislikes, and preferences of everyone, and the reasons for each person joining the startup. Values, politics, religions, morals are included. It’s big and it’s full of potential trouble – as well as goodness. It can be terrible when it gets out of control -- as Google experienced painfully. Under control it is considered the key to success by serial entrepreneurs.
Culture’s beginning is in the founder’s soul. It’s what she believes, what he lives for. It’s deep and does not change – until disaster requires open heart surgery. Try Uber.
Over decades I've watched veteran startup builders deliberately build their company's culture. They take time to craft and compile the essence of the culture of their startup. They begin documenting the founder’s vision and mission in a simple, short statement. Then follows a document of the values of the culture that becomes what the company will stand for, what gives it meaning in life, what makes it a standout. . Sometimes referred to as “core values,” those are a short list (one tiny paragraph each) of what is valued by the early people in your startup, beginning with the founder.
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!