Sat, May 18, 2013
As your organization grows from the original set of founders to a handful of people and beyond I believe one of the most important things you have to do as a founder is to create, define and cultivate your culture. Too many startups are founded on a very strong internal culture — typically the believe system of the founders — and then lose pretty much all of that as they grow, and new people come on board.
Here’s what I would do: Sit down with your co-founders and define what you want your culture to be. How do you want people to interact with each other? What are the biggest do’s and don’t s? How do you see yourself within the context of the community you’re part of? What are your beliefs & values?
Write this down. Turn it into a manifesto. Print it out and hang it on the walls. Give it to everyone; and whenever you hire someone make sure you walk them through it. Create poetry around it and get good at telling it. Storytelling is deeply ingrained into the human psyche and the most effective way to relay not only information but also associated emotion.
Cultivate your culture from the beginning. It’s much easier to start out being awesome at this than it is to fix it when you hit the wall and the place you once founded doesn’t feel at all like the place you envisioned it to be.
Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit, regularly told the founding story of his company to new employees — making sure they understand the values and beliefs the company was founded on.