The June 2011 issue of Inc. magazine recognizes top small company workplaces. It is a great article for people thinking about culture and the start-up of new companies. Here is the link.
Here are some thoughts that all leaders can take away.
- Intentional: Defining and writing down what you want to create is a must step. Some start with what they want to avoid based on experiences at other organizations. Whatever the start, in the end someone writes something down and uses that as the guide.
- Exclusive: One example is how a company called TRX has a core value of Fitness. People are encouraged and expected to workout. (coincidentally they company markets fitness products) It would be difficult to fit into this organization unless you had a passion for exercise. Values define who you are and will exclude people who do not share the same passions.
- Ideas backed by action: All of the examples have established norms, interviewing techniques, goal setting in evaluations, or standard practices that promote a value. The values/beliefs have come off the wall/out of the head of the entrepreneur and become an observable action that people see. Spandex is often seen on employees at TRX as the go to or return from a workout. An example of an acceptable norm and practice.
There is lots to worry about in a start-up. Cash flow. Sales. Product quality. Hiring. In my dealings with leaders 5-10 years after a start-up I have often heard the comment “I want work to be fun again.” Part of fun is enjoying/participating in a culture you created.
This is great lesson for any leader.