Company culture is not something that is forced or created by a handful of executives. Instead, culture emerges from the actions, attitudes, and commitments of people throughout an organization. One of the most powerful things you can do to help shape a meaningful and sustainable culture is to lead a cross-functional team to create a shared set of values.
Blaine Mathieu recently wrote about how values shape culture. He also shares in the video above why Selectica chose to go through an intensive process to bring to the forefront their values and what the Selectica team is all about. In simple terms, values provide a sort of operating compass. And in the context of business, culture and values are key for successful business operations and growth.
People in the workplace absolutely invest in a culture that is appealing to them and signals alignment. Take for example David Bush of Iasta, an Indiana-based software company that entered into an agreement to be acquired by Selectica. In David's blog, he wrote about reasons why his organization joined forces with Selectica. Culture made the short-short list.
Let's move from a B2B software example like Selectica/Iasta to Airbnb, a community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. In an April 2014 blog post from Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky, he describes how Peter Thiel, a well-known technology entrepreneur and investor in the San Francisco Bay Area, invested $150M in Airbnb primarly for its culture. Peter's advice to the Airbnb team? Don't mess up the culture.
Starting from scratch and focusing on culture from Day 1 of a new business is certainly easier than trying to change or dramatically shape culture after a business has been operating for a number of years. Regardless of what stage your business is in, make a commitment to invest in culture and core values, and make this a sticky and successful initiative by applying creativity, collaboration, and ongoing communications.