Culture does not make a company. The primary thing that any technology startup must do is build a great product. The second thing that any technology startup must do is to take the market. If you fail to do both of those things, your culture won’t matter one bit. On the flip side, designing a proper company culture matters to the extent that it helps you achieve the above goals. As companies grow, culture can help you preserve your key values, make the company a better place to work and help it perform better in the future.
There is a cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. This limit has suggested to be 150 and is known as “Dunbar’s Number” named after the British anthropologist Robin Dunbar. Dunbar’s research implies that for a group to sustain itself at the size of 150 requires significantly more effort that must be spent on the core socialization to keep the group functioning.
>> on Management, Collaboration & Org Design <<
Written by Kevin J. Delaney, published on Quartz
Alexander Grosse, Director of Engineering for BCG Digital Ventures, and David Loftesness, the Head of Platform at eero, have both lived through the brilliant and bleak moments of scaling teams. In this interview, they look at five areas where startups can either take action to deactivate destructive factionalism or even prevent them from forming in the first place. They share concrete processes for regaining the efficiency that leaders might not even realize they’re losing to competing mindsets and poor communication. Through these tactics, they show through specific scenarios why empathy is just as vital to a startup’s success as innovation.
Article by First Round
Growing from 50 to 500 to 5,000 to tens of thousands of employees is hard. Operating systems and processes that work in a 500 person company don’t work in a 5,000 company. The same is true of every growth spurt. Systems break down and stuff gets messed up. As you scale a well designed and implemented human resources organization can help tremendously. A messed up human resources organization will hurt.
** on HR, People Operations & Talent Management **
Written by Fred Wilson, published on AVC
In 2015, startup guru Steve Blank made the concept of Organizational Debt popular with his article, “Organizational Debt is like Technical Debt but worse.” In it, he introduced and defined the concept of Organizational Debt as “all the people/culture compromises made to ‘just get it done’ in the early stages of a startup.” In this piece Aaron Dignan from The Ready unpacks how Organizational Debt manifests and what to do about it.
Many of the skills you need as a leader of a scale-up are much different than the skills you needed as the leader of a startup. In his post, Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot lays out some of the skills and tools he needed to develop during the scale-up phase.
Article by Brian Halligan, CEO HubSpot
Start-ups that are lucky enough to get to the “build” phase have a new set of challenges. They’re not just strategy related. It’s about fixing all the organizational debt that has collected. Growing companies need to understand how to recognize and “refactor” organizational debt. Failing to refactor organizational debt can kill a growing company. Onboarding, training, culture, and compensation for employees at the “build” phase all require a fresh look and new approaches.
Article by Steve Blank on Forbes
The team at Culture Amp recently explored the challenges technology companies face as they grow. The team of data scientists reviewed data from over 700 companies, analyzing scores for employee engagement at different stages of venture capital funded companies. Engagement is tied to the level of self-determination a person feels at their work. As a measure of cultural health, it tends to decrease over time, which is what the team calls the culture crunch. Learn how engagement is impacted throughout various growth stages from their data informed insights in this brilliant piece by Culture Amp.