You might assume that, early on, startups don’t have a defined culture – but that’s not the case, according to Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, writing for Fast Company.
The author insists that the founders probably set the organisation culture from the very beginning, whether defined in a formal company document or not.
With that in mind, Fouladgar-Mercer presents five ways to build a company culture conducive to delivering the best products and solutions:
1) Trust. The author states that trust is the most important aspect of building your company culture, especially in the early days when you will be relying on goodwill.
Do your best to follow through on promises, showing consistency with what you say and your actions. This will help your company move forward without friction and make the working experience more enjoyable.
2) Teamwork. Your talent pool needs team players who can work together when the inevitable problems arise. A team mindset is essential for steering “an often tenuous and quickly changing ship”.
You can create incentives that help to cultivate a team-oriented environment. Groups should feel rewarded when they achieve things together. When goals are achieved, celebrate as a team to remind people that what they have accomplished has significance beyond the individual.
3) Freedom to fail. People should be able to fail without feeling like a failure, especially if they were working on the basis of an intelligent assumption or well-informed strategy. Fouladgar-Mercer points out that real team building lies in its response to failure, not just success.
4) Give credit. Fouladgar-Mercer comments: “Nothing is worse than a company culture where the leadership takes all the credit. While it is the leader’s job to drive the vision, often putting her/him out front for others to see, a culture devoid of sharing the proverbial wealth will kill any company – and in the startup world, this is even more.”
5) Respect. When schedules get tight and tempers fraught, it’s easy to give in to impatience, frustration and negativity. That’s when you have to be especially vigilant and ensure that everyone treats others how they’d like to be treated themselves.