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Is your company suffering from a stale and generic culture? Does the saying "We are a company driven by excellence!" make you raise your brow, bust out a cup of tea, casually sip from it, and murmur "Really now?"
Well, it sounds like your company is pushing tired copies of company culture cliches.
Last week, we attended Startup Grind Manila's event in Ortigas. After some networking over sushi and pizza (yes, you heard that right) we were told to sit and gather around to listen to that night's speaker, Bjorn Pardo of Xend.
Photo (c) Gabe Ferrer
During the sit-down, Pardo emphasized the importance of maintaing the company culture. From his experience, one person who conflicts with the company culture can be a major setback. He shared that no matter how smart or how talented that individual was, if that person wasn't aligned with the vision and principles of the team, the set-up just wasn't going to work.
Why wouldn't it? You may ask.
Simply put, people the right people are the most valuable asset of a company. So, treat them as such.
If you think about it, everything only improves or grows in the right environment. Plants grow under perfect conditions of sun and water, atheletes get into top form under the right coaches and training, and your company can only reach its greatest potential if your people reach their own as well.
So what is the right environment?
There is no one answer or formula to this question. Using a previous example, different athletes train under different environments. Some thrive in a competitive culture, feeding off of their teammates and rivals like in contact sports. Some sports however, calls on an athlete to train in solitude because their biggest competition is their own body and mind (e.g. marathon runners and triathletes).
In the same way, different companies imply personalized environments and principles to bring out the best from their people. The customized environment and principles tailored to the people working within will make a sustainable culture.
Bringing home the point this article is all about, we listed down key takeaways from Jay Wilkinson's TEDx talk on Company Culture so that you may construct your own sustainable company culture, one that will, in the words of Wilkinson, "feed you, not deplete you!"
1) Define your value
"Values are the guiding principles of your company."
2) Hire Values
"Put culture fit first, before skill fit."
3) Live your Values
This matrix divides a company's people into four groups.
In Wilkinsons talk, he explains that the first quadrant is the most dangerous. High-performing people who don't live out the company's culture are deadly. The low-performing individuals who don't live out company values can easily be released from the company. The low-performing people who do live out the company's values are coachable and can eventually become part of the valued high-performing people who live out the company's culture (the kind of people who will really make your company thrive).
However, the high-level performer who doesn't live out the values of the company poses a threat. All too often we value these people because of the results they can produce. If the company's vision, values, and culture don't mean anything to the individual, not only are they not right for your team, but your company isn't right for them as well.
4) Culture is a design
"..and you are the architect"
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