A few weeks ago, I attended an entrepreneurship event where the main speaker was Founder and investor Claude Ritter, the co-Founder of Lieferheld, Book A Tiger, and Cavalry ventures.
Claude gave a fantastic speech. He spoke about his journey and how he built several successful companies. He gave a lot of helping tips to aspiring entrepreneurs such as ‘’How it’s normal to fail sometimes, how it’s important to understand that the success journey is not a straight line, how to choose your team and the first steps that you should consider starting with when founding a new company.’’. However, from all what he said, one important thing caught my attention because it’s undervalued today in the business world. This thing was ‘’the importance of creating the right company culture’’.
Claude mentioned during his speech that they never considered the company culture as a crucial point when he and his co-founders were starting their previous business. In fact, they thought that it’s something that comes automatically and they should not even think about. He said in his own words ‘’We thought about winning and making revenues and focused on the most important KPI’s, and we said to ourselves when the business goes well, and we make good revenues, maybe we can hire someone and put him as the head of cultural activities or development or something. As a nice to have. And that was a mistake.’’
He added that what he discovered later with his co-partners is that creating a great company culture was one of the things that must have a priority and should drive their choices and decisions from the beginning. Because what he discovered was that, in tough times, great company culture is what makes the people stay strong and pull each other to function as one unit together in the face of hard challenges.
Does your company possess a unique culture? Does your company spend time on picking talents while ensuring that they are a good cultural fit? Or does your company choose talents and employees based on their resume and achievements on papers only to fill opened positions as soon as possible?
Working at a Company with a good healthy culture is one of the most important factors that you should consider. It is even more important than the salary. In my book ‘’What’s next?: The most important career guide to help you find the right job, be more confident and achieve career success.’’ I wrote that working in a company with a bad culture- no matter how successful this company is- is a big mistake, waste of time and will harm you far more than the benefits that you will gain. And I recommended directly that any person who works for a company with a bad culture to leave.
If you are working at a company which does not consider company culture before hiring, then most probably you will end up having a mix of people who are working against each other and not with each other. And when the going gets tough, they will not stay together as one unit against challenges.
So how can you spot that you have a problem with your company culture:
1- If your company is keeping people who are explicitly having the wrong behavior because they are good performers or hitting the targets, then you have a culture problem.
2- If your company is full of people who are looking after their interests most of the time, then you have a company culture problem. Looking after their interests most of the time will make them make political decisions and not effective ones.
3- If there is a gap between management and employees and you hear a lot of words such as ‘’They’ ’and ‘’us’ ‘or sentences such as ‘’nobody listens to us’’ then you have a company culture problem.
4- If the information is shared with some employees and not the rest then you have a company culture problem.
5- If you feel that the meetings are meaningless and a lot of politics is hindering people from stating their own real opinion, then you have a culture problem.
6- And finally, if you ask any employee at any time ‘’what is the current status of the company? How much are we still missing to hit our yearly targets? Or what is the company long-term vision or values?’’ and the employee did not answer then you have a company culture problem.
If you are a company owner, make sure that you set the right culture and pick your team based on that. And if you are an executive in a company, make sure that you choose people who may fit your company culture and not only good performers. Choosing the wrong people who do not fit into your company culture, or neglecting the company culture, in general, will make your people work as groups and not as teams. They will care about their interests, and in the tough times, they will leave because they do not feel that they belong to the Company.