Jess Yuen

Culture is the set of words, actions, and behaviors of a group of people.

Laura Del Beccaro

Founders, here’s a good litmus test for your company values: If you took 6 months off, and left no directions other than “Follow our values to a T,” would you be happy with the outcome?

Laura Del Beccaro

This first [culture] pillar is about communication within teams, between teams, and between individuals — essentially how we treat each other when we interact. The frequency with which we talk, the way we talk to each other, the tone we use, how we communicate good or bad news, whether we communicate certain things at all, and the channels we choose to use — those are … [ Read more ]

Laura Del Beccaro

Culture is commonly overlooked, particularly at early-stage companies. It’s easy to think, “We’re only five people, our culture is who we hire, we don’t need to define anything until we’re bigger.” “Hire amazing people” could mean talented or kind or ambitious — which are you optimizing for? Startups are often allergic to process, but a hiring process exists whether you define it or not. It’s … [ Read more ]

Dharmesh Shah

For folks looking to get started [creating a culture code] [begin] with this prompt: Who are the kinds of people that we think we want to work with? These can’t be platitudes that everyone would say yes to. Like, we want to hire smart people. Intelligence can’t be a core cultural value because no one would say they want to hire stupid people. You have … [ Read more ]

Michael Beer

Culture is how a group does the things it does. It changes because people start doing things differently or start doing different things. The causality doesn’t go the other way.

So, in a company, you first need to change how the company is organized, managed, and led in light of its strategic goals. The goals themselves may need to change. A new culture then emerges as … [ Read more ]

An Innovation Culture That Gets Results

This article presents some practical guidelines for executives seeking to design a high-impact innovation culture. It also outlines four areas of focus that offer a clear path for change, drawing on examples from leading innovators.

James Heskett

One useful way to think about the relationship between culture and strategy is that an effective culture can provide a competitive advantage for a very long time, often much longer than any strategy. This is a particular advantage in a world in which some claim that strategy today confers only short-term competitive advantage.

Alexander Roos, James Tucker, Fabrice Roghé, Marc Rodt, Sebastian Stange

A company’s culture is frequently at the heart of mismanaged planning, with management often rewarding the wrong behavior. Because financial incentives are still frequently tied to the achievement of short-term plans, employees can feel pressured to negotiate financial goals and to sandbag. Consequently, planning begins to feel like a bazaar instead of the organized, top-down process it should be. Employees may be motivated to reach … [ Read more ]

DeAnne Aguirre, Varya Davidson, Carolin Oelschlegel

Too often, leaders […] create a laundry list of the traits and characteristics they aspire to see in their company, and then try to retrofit how people work to fit those goals. But that isn’t how people behave, nor is it how cultures evolve. Some elements in a culture will support a specific strategic play, and others will undermine it.

Intellectual Honesty Is Critical for Innovation

Here’s how to balance psychological safety and intellectual honesty for better team performance.

Does your culture fit your strategy?

A big culture–strategy disconnect can be catastrophic. Only a formal assessment based on objective data can tell you if your organization is ready to transform.

Mary Meaney

In today’s world, strategy is relatively easy to replicate and capital is relatively easy to access. What gives you a real source of competitive advantage is your talent and culture.

Jessmina Archbold

Most folks aren’t honest with their feelings because they get unsolicited advice or intrusive questions — you can try to stop that cycle on your team with the culture you create and the micro-actions you take.

Rituals at Work: Teams That Play Together Stay Together

Rituals—even seemingly silly ones—help employees bond and add meaning to their work.

Chris Gagnon

If I were to lay out the requirements for a great leader, having a clear cultural aspiration and a plan to drive it through the organization would be really near the top of my list.

Chris Gagnon

The success of hallmark cultures is that they read one of these groups of [business] books that hung together with a consistent philosophy, and they really, really stuck with it. A little bit of best practice here, a little bit of best practice there will get you killed.

Run This Diagnostic to Thoughtfully Build (and Evaluate) Your Startup’s Culture

Most founders tend to remain high-level when the topic of culture comes up. For starters, there are tons of reads on why culture matters, but strikingly few on how to actually architect it. We all understand what it means to some extent, but it’s rarely defined or broken down. There are frameworks for product/market fit or founder-led sales, but when it comes to culture, the … [ Read more ]