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Company CULTURE: Future-Proofing Your Startup Venture

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The 10 Minute MBA, is a no-fluff weekly podcast that teaches you practical business lessons you can use to grow your business immediately.

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Welcome to the ten minute MBA. I'm your host, Scott D clary. On the ten minute and BEA. I give you tools, tactic, strategies, insights and tips that you can use to start, scale, grow and en x Your Business. Let's get into it. What's going on? My name is Scott D clary. Welcome back to my channel. Today I'm going to be speaking about culture. I'm going to be speaking about company culture, what it is, how to figure out what your company culture is and how to build a company with a strong culture, and also why culture is so important for companies. And Culture is a buzzword. It gets thrown around a lot. We always speak about you're trying to build culture and company and culture is more than just, you know, the Nice little slogans that they put on a wall. So how do we actually build culture? And then also lately culture has gotten a little bit of a bad rap when people try and build culture and they think that the word culture means you just hire people that are going to be best friends with the people that are already working there and then, instead of actually building a culture, you build an environment that doesn't have a lot of diversity, doesn't have a lot of innovation doesn't have any sort of new ideas being injected into it. So you can build culture incorrectly. That can actually hurt your business in a lot of ways. But the reason why I wanted to speak about culture today is I wanted to highlight how to do culture properly. And why this topic came up was because of a podcast that I had on my show with Sharish Ned Carney and we spoke about a whole bunch of stuff. Tarish has an incredible resume. I I'll sort of gave you a rundown of what he's done in his career. But one of the topics that came up with culture, and I feel like culture isn't brought up enough in the world of startups and venture capital and entrepreneurship. It seems like something that, oh, will worry about it later on. We'll worry about it when we've, you know, done five million or ten million or fifty million in revenue. Then I can hire somebody in HR that can figure out the company's culture. But the reality is you have to worry about...

...that culture from the get go, from day one, because that culture, whether or not you are aware of it, your company has a culture. So it's better to get ahead of it. So this is about future proofing your start up so that you do have a culture that you can be proud of, that can actually help your company get to wherever it is you want it to go. So let's talk about tarish. First, I'll give you a little bit of background on who he is and why it was so psych to have them on my show. Serish is what You'd call a serial entrepreneur. He's well versed in startup ventures. He Co founded live MOCHA and team on systems. Our conversation was not some conversation. What we spoke about was everything from fundraising to scaling, to venture capital to culture, which I feel like is a very important topic. Basically, let's define culture as well. Culture is the idea that all members of a company must align with core values of that company and that founding team and purpose in order to reach true success. So, as somebody with extensive knowledge and experience in building startups, I asked Heish what he thought about company culture and where, or even if, it fits into the startup world. What he said both reaffirmed and challenged my personal thoughts on company culture. So I want to dive a little bit deeper into this. So in the early S, that's where this story not Cherishas Story. That's where this story and the concept of culture started. So is the early S, in a man by the name of Doctor Elliott Jacques introduced a concept of organizational culture. In his book the changing culture of a factory. Jacques argued that organizational culture was not something that could be seen or touched, but rather it was the shared set of assumptions, values and norms that guided the behavior of members within an organization. He come to the conclusion through a study of the glacier metal company, in which he observed that the workers...

...displayed different behaviors depending on which part of the factory they were working in. The workers in the finishing department, for example, we're more likely to take their break at the same time and chat with their colleagues, whereas the workers in the furnace room tended to keep to themselves. Jacques argued that the different behaviors of the workers was not due to their individual personalities, but rather to the culture of the factory in which they worked. They shared set of assumptions, values and norms that guided the behaviors of members within an organized zation became known as company culture. So fast forward today, company culture is more important than ever. With the advent of the Internet and the globalization of business, companies are no longer confined to their local markets, so having a strong company culture globally is something that sets them apart from their competitors. But really, what is it? What is the tangibles that are tied to company culture? So, in the corporate world, the definition of company culture has evolved to become one of the most important strategic assets that a business can have. Culture is now understood to be a system of shared assumptions, values and beliefs that dictate how employees behave both within and outside the company. And it's not surprising the company culture has become an essential ingredient in the success or failure of companies. A strong company culture can help to attract the best talent, can help retain that talent, it can help inspire innovation, it can help build a sense of community and loyalty amongst employees. But on the other hand, a week or dysfunctional culture can lead to employed turnover, stagnation and even disaster. So without a strong company culture that binds employs together and drives them towards a common goal, your startup is at risk of becoming just another failed venture. You'll experience symptoms such as lack of cohesion and direction. So when employees don't share a common culture, they often don't know what the company stands for or where it's going. This can lead to confusion and a lack of motivation, also low morale. All, a toxic company culture can quickly sap any sort...

...of employee morale, leading to decreased productivity and engagement poor customer service. A company with a week culture is typically more focused on its own internal politics than on meeting the needs of its customers. This can lead to a loss of market share and damage or company's reputation and, lastly, a lack of innovation. A strong company culture is a breeding ground for innovation. When employees feel connected to each other and the company's mission, they're more likely to come up with new ideas and solutions. Fights to say that company culture is fairly crucial, even from your first activity as a business, when you're just starting out. If you want you to start to succeed, you need to focus on building a strong one. But that's so hard because there's already all these other things you're trying to do when you're building a business. How do you focus on building a culture purposefully? So in the conversation I had with Sharish I learned some of the incredible successes that he has had in the startup world, but then we spoke about the cultures that he's experienced in some of these startups. So to give you a again a little brief resume or a bio, he founded team on systems, which was acquired by research in motion, or rim blackberry, in two thousand and two and later became the core foundation of blackberries Internet email service. He also co founded live Mocha, the world's largest language learning site with over fifteen million members. So before all of this, he was an employee at Microsoft and it's early stages. In one thousand nine hundred and eighty seven, he was given the responsibility of launching Microsoft's email software at just twenty six years old. He was also responsible for the acquisition and launch of Hot Mail, which later paved the way for MSN messenging. As our conversation continue, to group curious what the company culture was like in those early stages of Microsoft. It's very rare that you still get to speak to somebody that was working at Microsoft when it was like Bill Gates and a couple employees. So he said that it's not uncommon for startups to not prioritize company culture and most don't even give it a second thought, at least until much...

...later on, and the outcomes aren't always pretty. But quoting suress, he said when he was at Microsoft, Bill Gates didn't define a culture and say these are our cultural values. The culture was emulating bill. So everybody was super hungry, super aggressive. But that served them well for a while, but then they got into trouble with the Justice Department. So what can we learn from this? Founders have to realize that at the end of the day, the culture isn't the values that you put on the wall or the mission statement that you put out. The culture is who you are. That's going to be what is mirrored by your employee. Sharish made a great point. He advised the founders take time before they start their venture to lay out a set of values and attitudes that they want to and still within their company as it grows. How will you communicate? What will your goals be? What behaviors will you practice? What are your standards? But you have to understand that you have to be able to hold yourself accountable to these values, because you can just say them. But what's really going to create that culture is what people see you do, especially at an early stage, and that's going to be how they look at their work and how they look at what they want to accomplish and how fast they accomplish it and how aggressive they accomplish it and how ethically they accomplish it. So you are the role model as the founder. The reason company culture is so important is that at some point the company is going to outgrow you, the founder, and you will not have the opportunity to work with everyone. So you want to make sure that the culture defined the guard rails in the process by which your employees make a decision. So if you want a certain type of behavior, then you need to define that culture. If you want people to behave the way that you behave in your company, you have to define that culture and you have to live it and breathe it and do it. Tish gave examples of Amazon as a company that prioritizes its culture. Well, the company is laid out fourteen principles by which every single employee should listen to and abide by. These principles guide...

...the employees decision and are meant to create a consistent customer experience. Netflix is also a great example of a company with the strong culture. They have a set of values that they live by, which has led them to be one of the most successful streaming companies in the world. And lastly, another example of somebody who doesn't have a great culture. Uber has had some trouble with its culture. So Travis a clanic was actually forced to step down to CEO because of the companies issues that were rooted in a rush and despite their incredible success to begin with, after the company grew, that culture started to deteriorate. So how to create your company culture? Well, I already sort of gave you a big tint, which was you have to live it, breathe it, do it yourself. But we can get a little bit more tactical. So culture is your key to success. You've already established that, but how do you develop it? What are the right steps? So the key is to begin working on your culture before you even make your first higher. Culture of a company is like the DNA of a human being. It starts to develop from the moment of conception and evolves over time. As an entrepreneur, you are the father and mother of your company culture. You create it, you shape it, you passed it on to future generations. But don't worry, you don't have to do it alone. You can involve your team in the process and get there buying and actually this is what I was alluding to when we first started speaking about how culture isn't just hiring people that are going to be in line with you or friends with you, or look like you or think like you. Culture is an ever evolving thing and to have the best culture is to bring people into the organization that think differently, that act differently, to do things differently, all obviously towards the end goal. You all you all have your goals that you have to hit, but there's many ways to get there and as many ways to think through the problems that you will undoubtedly have as an entrepreneur and a company. So what do you do? Well, you hire people to think differently, act differently, have different backgrounds, come from different experiences, and that's how you build the best company culture. Now the parts, the actual steps that have to be involved...

...in always building culture outside of you, living and breathing it, and hiring people that think differently than you. That will build onto the culture. There are four steps. So you have to define your values. So what is important to you and your team? What are your core values? Define them and make sure everybody's on the same page. Create a mission statement, so what is your company trying to achieve? What are its goals? Again, make sure everybody is on board with this. Establish rituals and traditions. These help to define and strengthen the culture. They can be as simple as daily stand ups, team lunches or Friday beers. And then be consistent. This is probably the most important step of all. You have to be consistent in your values, mission and rituals if you want your culture to take root and hell and grow. So when you define your values, you create a mission statement, you establish rituals and traditions and you be consistent about them. You are living and breathing these as the CEO every single day, and everybody who comes into the organization should either want to be part of this culture or add on to it and challenge it. And then you include those person's ideas into your values, your mission statement and your rituals, and then that person and that group of people that you bring onto the organization, like say your second or third or fourth round of hiring, will add on different values, they'll add on to your mission statement and then your culture will grow and get stronger because it will include the ideas of people that you hire into your org. But the point is that everybody at every point has to be living and breathing these things and it's and that's why if you feel like you're doing cultural things, like you have like Friday beers, and like nobody actually likes doing it, then then don't force it, because that shouldn't be part of your culture. Culture is not doing gimmicky things to get people to feel like they're part of a team. Culture is doing things that people actually enjoy doing, so that they will want, so that they feel like they're they're using their energy in their resources for the betterment of something that they actually believe in. So enough with the gimmicky culture stuff, enough with the CEO saying something and not...

...living it and breathing and doing it. Culture has to be real and it has to be valuable and it has to actually achieve purposes and goals in your businesses and your business context, but also in the lives of the people that you're hiring. On if culture is annoying or if culture is something that is unaligned with what the people that the the values of the people that you're hiring, it's no longer useful and then you just have people that are pretending to try and fit into a culture just to get a job. That's not what you want. So again, it's not easy to navigate this. I'm not saying it is, but ultimately it's what you have to do to build a strong culture so that you can leverage that culture and attract the right people that always want to give a hundred and ten percent. Now, what should a startup culture look like? So company culture cannot be cut and paste from one business to another. It needs to be tailor to fit the specific company employees and their goals. Otherwise you're just creating meaningless corporate jargon, buzz words and activities. But that's not to say there aren't some essential elements of a strong company culture. So we sort of went through this, but I'll reiterate mirror your values. So first and foremost, your company culture should reflect your brand and your values. If you're passionate about giving back to the community, for example, then your company culture should reflect that. Employees should feel like they're part of something larger than themselves and they're contributing to a greater good. They should also be able to see the company's values and action in the way that they're treated and their work is structure be ready to adapt. So company culture should be adaptable. As your company grows and changes, your culture should grow and change with it. It should be flexible enough to accommodate new employees, new ideas and new challenges, support and appreciate your employee so, of course, company culture is about more than just values and brand identity. It's also about the day to day operations of Your Business. So employees need to feel like they're able to take ownership of their work and that they have the freedom and flexibility to be creative and innovative. They need to feel supported and appreciated both by their colleagues and by their leaders and their peers. A strong company...

...culture can help your business whether any storm. So when Shit hits the fan, if you do have a strong company culture, people aren't necessarily just going to leave I can't say with a hundred percent certainty, but there's a better chance. If you can build this culture, it can help you attract and retain top talent, it can give your employees a sense of purpose, it can align business goals with employees personal goals, but most importantly, it's going to help you build a strong, long, sustainable brand that will truly stand the test of time. And a few closing thoughts on company culture. It's not easy to launch a start up, much less a successful one. We all know this. A lot of people do not focus on company culture and honestly, you'd be forgiven for neglecting the basics of company culture because you're just so damn stressed out. But I'm telling you right now, if you speak to any experienced entrepreneur who's done this more than once, they're going to tell you that, yes, sometimes a stressful try to start building culture from the get go, but if you haven't yet, it's never too late to start putting those pieces into place. Why is company culture so important? Simply put, it's a glue that holds everything together. So a strong culture provide a sense of identity and purpose for employees. It helps a track the best talent. It can also be used as a key factor in determining the company's long term success or failure. I'm going to leave you with one quote from Brian Chess Key, air BNB's cofounder, which I think sums up culture perfectly. Company culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion. If everybody in your team shares the same passion that started the venture in the first place, your potential for success has absolutely no limits. Anyways, I hope you enjoy I hope you found value in that. It gave you some great ideas about what you should do to build your company culture. Or if you aren't a founder, you aren't a CEO, you aren't an entrepreneur, it should give you some ideas about what to look for when you're going into your next hub or your next organization. As always, I would really appreciate you...

...smash that like button hits subscribe and then leave comments below if you like the video or if you didn't like the video. But any topics, any business, sales, marketing, tech startup topics or other topics, I don't care if you want to hear me do a video on them. You want me to break down something or if you want me to from my experience or from somebody on my show, I'll leave it in the comments below and I'll put it in I'll put it in a list of video topics that I eventually have to get to, but I appreciate you all. Thank you so much for listening. We'll talk again soon. Have a great week. Cheers,.

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