Why Every Company Culture Should Be Intentional
Sean: So what are some of the things that you have come up with? Maybe a system, or perhaps it’s a set of principles to form an intentional culture that you would like to work in.
Matthew: So what levers have you got to manage all of that? Things that have worked for me, had as the company, as articulate marketing grew 5 people, 10 people, 15 people. I brought in external expert consultant-type people who are very, very good at working with a team and then helping them express what they think is valuable about the company. Express what they think the culture is, both as it is and a little aspirationally. And I learned from doing that. So we would have company meetings where we would talk about culture for a day or two, moderated and guided by a professional. And I learned there that you don’t want to just import someone else’s culture, right? You don’t go to the Netflix culture guide or the HubSpot culture guide. These things are floating around on the Internet. They’re really interesting to look at. But don’t just go right – we’re going to have Netflix as culture because it doesn’t work. All you’re doing is borrowing the form and not the substance.
The culture of the business, especially in the early days, kind of emanates from the personality of the founder. And there comes a time, as you as the business grows, where the personality, the decision making, the charisma, or in my case, lack of it, you know, of the personality of the leader slightly separates from the business.
As that happens, as it stops being me and as I change and as the business changes, what’s worth keeping, what’s worth changing? So there’s this other thing that’s going on, an exciting but difficult challenge, which is – what do I like? What do I want to do? Now, not as a founder, but as a leader? What do I do with that? Where do I want to go? What is important about my input to the culture as distinct from the input of everyone else, arbitrating the bits that are important to you and the bits that you’re willing to democratize is really important. How do you share the responsibility in the ownership and the authority for doing that?
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