It doesn’t take a genius to realize that it’s going to take more than a beer keg and an in-house masseuse to drive sustained performance of your startup.
Beyond the perks and window dressing that business leaders adorn their exposed-brick workspaces with, what can be done to solidify certain ways of working that guide behavior to tangibly drive the results you’re looking for?
Most articles out there about startup culture focus on some of the very important basic foundations that help align people in organizations: Creating a clear and compelling vision that creates a fire in peoples’ bellies about what you’re trying to accomplish. Articulating an intentional strategy where every individual can clearly see how their day-to-day behaviors support the bigger picture. Creating a non-negotiable set of core values that help members of the group understand what’s important and help guide decisions at the point closest to the issue.
Right now, some of you may be saying to yourselves, “We’ve done that. Now what?”
Well, let’s go there.
Beyond the Basics of Organizational Culture
First off, the concept of organizational culture is a bit different from many of the other concepts leaders navigate in business. This is because many of the concepts—particularly those having to do with the people side of things—focus on individuals. Compensation, performance management, and employee engagement all focus on the person as an individual.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. All of these efforts serve a purpose in the organizational system. But, they are fundamentally different from culture at the outset, as culture, at its very core, is a collective concept.
If a group develops a culture; a certain way of doing things that guides the behavior of individuals in the group, it stems from the learnings of the collective: what works, what doesn’t, and what they should or shouldn’t do in the future for success. As the group learns what works, those ways of doing things become embedded in the collective understanding (the culture) and they begin to serve as a framework, or a recipe, for success that new members of the group learn when they join the organization.
The key here is these lessons about what works and what doesn’t are learned through collective experience. This takes time. As team members work together and learn what methods are most effective, they begin to solidify their practices based on these shared learnings.
So what can you, as a business leader of a startup—which, by nature is limited in shared experiences—do to help create opportunities for collective learning so these shared ways of working can begin to take shape more quickly?
Seven Tips for Shaping a Collective Startup Culture
The good news is; it’s going to happen anyway. As time goes on and people have shared experiences and learn a certain way of working, this will inevitably develop. But if you’re not the type of leader who wants to sit back and just wait for things to happen, here are a few tips to consider.
Perks are helpful for attracting talent, but don’t make the mistake of assuming that they will help create a deeper, collective understanding within your growing organization. And if you’ve already taken the first steps by defining a compelling vision, a set of non-negotiable core values, and a clearly aligned strategy, don’t stop there. Use these seven tips for creating a more meaningful, sustainable, culture for your startup.
This article was written by Chris Cancialosi from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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