Why Defining Your Work Culture Values is Important

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Why Defining Your Work Culture Values is Important


Sean: And I want to rewind a little bit back to when you started that digital company, so you were able to sell it, but what were some of the earliest challenges that you discovered?

Sean: Because one of the reasons why we started the Leadership Stack podcast is leadership is not really that natural for a lot of people. And even for those who are kind of like they were born with some leadership potential, they still had to hone it. We still have to read a lot of books, listen to a lot of podcasts, and get mentors whom we trust, who share the same values and principles.

Sean: What was it like for you as a young leader, as a young CEO of that small organization when you were starting out, maybe take a time machine back in your head, going back and realize and share with us what were some of your challenges then?

Jay: I think you have a lot of those challenges the second that you’re two people. And so if you’re a sole founder and you’ve started your own business and kudos to you, it is a hard path. So there’s a lot of bravery in going down that path. But if you are a sole founder and you started your own business and you hire a person, or if you’re a co-founder and you’re starting a business with some partners, as soon as there’s more than one of you, you have a culture.

Jay: And you can be intentional about that culture and you can sort of orchestrate it. It’s one of the topics that we talk about in Decoded, which is our book that came out in 2014. The Decoded Company and one of the three D code principles is engineered ecosystems. It’s the idea that you can engineer the ecosystem of your organization or of your culture and be very intentional about what that looks like. As soon as you have more than one person, you need to be thinking about what that is because culture scales alongside the organization, and the biggest determinant of culture is who you have in the organization. It’s not about posters in the break room, it’s not about foosball tables, it’s about the people. And as soon as you start hiring, the hiring decisions that you make will determine what the culture looks like as the organization grows.

Jay: And so when you think about people, think of them at kind of three key moments, the choices you make about who you hire, the choices that you make along the way, about who you promote, and the choices that you make about who you fire. And those as a leader are really the three most important decisions that you’re going to make. If you make those decisions, well, then everything else kind of takes care of itself.

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