Our culture is our greatest asset and largest vulnerability. We’ve been lucky so far in two ways. We grew an enviable, kick-ass culture organically. And over 9 years of growth and change, it has remained intact and even reached new depths.
Great culture enables exceptional work.
Exceptional work happens at the intersection of talented, happy people, challenging projects, and high productivity. Every single one of those pieces hinges on a healthy culture.
Hiring marketing unicorns that really want to stick around is a breeze when your culture is known and sought-after. Keeping your unicorns happy and productive comes naturally when the environment is positive and focused. Securing a steady flow of challenging and interesting work happens when your culture shines loudly, even before the first conversation with a potential client.
We can see how much our culture has done for us. But what have we done for it lately? Not enough.
We’ve taken our culture for granted.
Like any good thing in life, you have to actively work on your company culture to weather the storms of change. Admittedly, we haven’t been doing that, and that’s not like us. We haven’t defined it. We haven’t figured out how to keep a pulse on it. We haven’t thought about how to rein it in if it starts slipping. And now, we’re sweatin’ it.
“ABP” – Always be paranoid.
We joke that “ABP” is one of our internal mantras. While we don’t actually encourage anxiety, the concept is valid. A little healthy paranoia helps us spot our own vulnerabilities and tackle them. We use a candid team-wide approach to constantly evaluate and improve the way Stryve runs.
Projects like psychological safety, Get Shit Done Wednesdays, Stryve IO, and 360 feedback started because we could recognize our own gaps. We worked together to figure out how to define, measure, monitor, and course-correct these issues.
Keeping culture in check will be a top priority in 2018.
We don’t have the answers today. What we do have is a sense of what makes our culture great, an understanding of why it’s critical to our business, and a healthy level of anxiety pushing us to prioritize this. As we continue to work on 2018 planning, it will be at the top of the list.
We’ll be working together to:
- Define it meaningfully. What makes it ours? What are the lynchpins we should pay attention to the most?
- Keep a pulse on it. How do we measure it, know if it’s slipping, engrain it, and communicate it?
- Protect it. How should it influence hiring and coaching? How will we course-correct if something is off?
Of all the self-work we do, this is some of the most important. We know it’s something other organizations have on the brain too, so we’re excited to share our work in progress with you over the coming months. As always, discussion is welcome! How are you growing the culture at your organization?