How To Build A Great Company Culture

GIST

LECTURE PART

Company Culture matters from the business perspective (besides wanting to create a great working environment for everyone)

  • Culture very important for scaling the business and growing the team into an effective larger team
  • A good/strong company culture enables the company to achieve its mission/goals much easier and faster
  • Without a good/strong culture a company is likely to fail in its pursuit of its goals
  • Building for a strong company culture has real power on company performance/effectiveness
    • Culture translates into primary principles for decision making
    • Helps to align people on values that matter to the company
    • Provides level of stability and trust
    • Serves as a guideline for Exclusion and Retention (exclude/punish undesired behavior; retain/reinforce desired behavior)

Some best practices for culture

  • Incorporate mission into values
  • Interview for culture fit
  • Evaluate employee performance on culture as well
  • Make it a daily habit (a great company culture is unlikely to build and sustain by itself, it needs constant nurturing and effort)

INTERVIEW PART with Brian Chesky

  • AirBnb core values (they have 6; he talks about two):
    • Champion the Mission: hire people that come to Airbnb for the mission, not because it has great valuation, office design, the people need a job or they think it’ hot to work for; they want people to be at Airbnb for the one thing that will never change, and that’s the mission. One interview question they use: If you had 10 years to live would you take this job? Intention is: there is a job and there is a calling, they want to hire people because they come for the calling
    • Be scrappy and frugal: shall remind people to be creative in finding solutions)
  • You want diversity of background, age; you don’t want diversity of values (homogenous beliefs among people)
  • You need to have intention with culture, culture needs to be designed
  • Have core values that are unique to you that define the DNA of your company
  • Culture = Shared ways of doing things; values, beliefs, principles you have inside the company that you want people to be aligned with long-term
  • Three problems with culture
    • Not much information about it (cause it’s this soft, and fuzzy topic)
    • It’s hard to measure and therefore often gets neglected/ignored
    • But the biggest problem with culture – it doesn’t pay off in the short term: culture makes you hire really slowly, be not as quick about decision that in the near-term can slow progress, it’s like putting an investment into the company to build it for the long-term and endure
  • Hire and fire on company’s ideas and values; they have separate interview process of functional interview and other interviewees that interview for values and culture fit
  • Employees are the company’s evangelist; companies that hire people that are deeply passionate create companies that customers are really passionate about
  • Companies that care deeply about culture (e.g. Zappos, Goolge) create great brands
  • Don’t communicate like a utility (Airbnb is an alternative to hotels); instead articulate the vision over and over to new applicants, to new hires, to the outside world

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