Company Culture: The Invisible Superpower
Culture is the difference between a good company and a great one.
I've worked in, with, around and on hundreds of companies - great ones, good ones, average ones, and shitty ones - and believe that the great ones all have culture as a Superpower.
We all want to work in an inspiring place. The most admired brands all have a strong culture at their core that anchors everything they do - Cirque du Soleil, EA, Virgin, Google, Zappos', Warby Parker, REI, Southwest and Facebook all are known for their unique, enviable cultures that making working there bigger than just a paycheck or a great name on a resume.
Culture is a company's operating system - the visible and invisible wiring that connects people with a sense of purpose, clarity and focus.
And legendary IBM CEO Lou Gerstner said, “I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.”
Put more simply, culture = attitude.
Exhibit A: Nike co-founder + chairman Phil Knight's description of what makes Nike great:
Investopedia's definition - "Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company's employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires."
This great site - Culture Codes - aggregates "Culture Decks" from leading companies known for their culture, including Netflix, HubSpot, Spotify,
Every startup should ensure that its culture + values are codified and lived as early as possible. Exhibit B: TheSkimm
It should be very easy to sum up a company culture. If you need a ton of business buzzwords - i.e. "We work in confident, empowered teams" to describe yours, the culture at your company probably sucks. (But you already know that.)
Which companies have great cultures? Does yours?