Why we need to define culture from day one
Date of publish: 06/11/2022
As we celebrate the world of successful start-ups, the stories of those that didn't go unsung. There are lessons in them about what not to do and how much of it came from the fact that they didn't quite figure it out, reminiscent of the ancient Greek aphorism "know thyself".
Company culture is a mentally stimulating exercise that many entrepreneurs opt out of because it's considered too premature, too intangible, or just plain arduous. The temptation to "replicate" something that already exists is real, expressed in easy-to-understand statements like "we have a Netflix culture" or "we are the Uber of this segment." All this amidst the noise of dwarfed low-growth historical companies that call themselves start-ups just to look cool. Another challenge with freezing the definition is the concern that the company would not be closed or retyped and it would be difficult as it grows. Like everything else, commitment is a bit of an early stage company question, which is perhaps the biggest reason why the definition eludes many.
On the other hand, it's not that hard after all, setting a "culture" for an organization is as easy as looking in the mirror; sometimes it stems from something as simple as the following.
What can we be the best in the world at?
What things can we be excited about?
What key economic indicator should we focus on?
It is important to ask yourself these three important questions, which Jim Collins defines as the "hedgehog concept". These can act as the easiest compass to navigate the "culture-defined procrastination" trap.
Haven't we all heard the phrase, "To win the market, you must first win the workplace" and defining cultural brands first on that agenda. When a born marketer like me thinks about culture, it's natural to gravitate toward thinking in "P" terms
Here is my list of 7 P's that are integral in defining the first culture day!
Expertise comes from what Jim Collins says: “Every business is essentially a product of something that someone is really good at. A culture that expresses a commitment to this expertise is a good and proper place to start. Whether this business solves world hunger or makes the world party, the expertise this market provides is a valuable glue.
Purpose, which is often mistaken for selfless activity, is the larger agenda that the business serves. The fact that there is more to the day than meets the eye is another great way to bond the team. For example, a data intelligence company like ours is not just about crunching numbers, it's about the results that can be obtained from it, and those results can mean more profitability for pandemic-ridden businesses, more value for customers who want to stretch every dollar. and all this with sustainability as a result of reducing waste throughout the supply chain. Purpose also pings a super critical attribute that can be easily compromised in the frenzy of chasing growth. Ethics and narratives of integrity are often intertwined with "purpose" and this itself becomes the cornerstone of a clearly defined culture.
Passion is at the heart of every business and becomes the fuel in defining culture. It helps set the mood and energy expected in the team, which will play a key role in setting the tone for everything that lies ahead.
Investments in energy are decided by the setting of priorities. When baked into a company's culture, it can mean the way decisions are made. It helps clear the clutter of things that matter and cut through the clichés, which helps in formulating strategy at each level. Endurance, as a fundamental element of cultural persistence, may be a critical determinant of longevity. Building "persistent" narratives into the definition of a company's culture creates a driving force that makes teams intransigent.
Pragmatism sets the stage for decision-making, investment and action. It acts as a guide in each new chapter of business development. As an important cultural quotient, it helps to make decisions that decide the outputs of the present and the results of the future. The promise of a better today and a brighter tomorrow becomes the cornerstone of every definition of culture. It helps the team see the goal for now, but appreciate more the value of the journey.
The definition of culture must be inspiring and, with its spoken and unspoken articulations, a source of pride and commitment. It cannot afford ambivalence and demands clarity, it needs leaders and cheerleaders for reminders and repetition. It requires rituals and practices to confirm and more than anything else it has to be absorbed and imbibed by every member of the team and that starts from day one. We always remember Drucker's strategy "Culture eats breakfast" and we all don't know that it is really the first and most important meal of the day.