As a company grows, one of the most important areas of focus needs to be the culture. To ensure you have a great company, I believe, leaders need to focus on people first so they can develop game-changing products that drive profit.
At my company, Porch.com, we have worked hard to carve the principles of our culture into the fabric of our DNA.
We have them painted on our walls. We remind everyone of them in our Friday all-hands meetings. We go out of our way to live them through our actions, how we treat each other, with how we treat our customers.
To build a great culture, there are things you must not tolerate and you must say NO to from day one and be committed to say NO to as your business grows.
Below are three things every company must say NO to at all costs.
1) NO Egos
I categorize ego as people that spend too much time thinking about the "I" and not enough time thinking about the "we." They use "me" more than "us" and they are motivated by things like title and visibility more than the success of the business in aggregate. People with big egos don't collaborate well, they aren't transparent, and it is hard to know if they are in it for the right reasons.
When egos get too big you will begin to see people focus on the wrong thing--themselves. For a culture to thrive it needs team players, people who excel in being a part of something bigger than themselves. Luckily, if you've been able to pull together enough good people, the team will police their own and weed out the individuals that don't belong.
2) NO Bureaucracy
Bureaucracy is an inevitable by-product of a growing company. I define bureaucracy as a moment in time when a company starts to have too many meetings with elaborate PowerPoint presentations and people start to send too many emails. A bureaucratic culture is an inefficient one as it starts to promote behaviors that take people away from doing their job. This can become frustrating for employees who just want to put their heads down and do meaningful work. It's up to you as a leader or manager to bust down silos and flatten your teams so people are given the flexibility they need to produce great results that delight your customers.
For us to lower bureaucracy and remain responsive as an organization, we exhibit transparency on a companywide level. This means weekly all-hands meetings, an open office environment, and tools that allow us to collaborate across teams in real time. In today's fast paced working environment, a detail-oriented culture that values agility is essential.
3) NO Jerks
Jerks are toxic to a company culture. They spread negativity among the ranks and if not removed immediately, the can cause damage to a culture that could take months to repair. Plain and simple--jerks are disruptive and they make it harder for the rest of the team to be productive.
We spend a significant amount of our lives with the people we work with. Why spend that time with jerks--people who are not respectful, tolerant, or pleasant to be around? It's important to develop a culture that is optimistic and hopeful that can work together amicably. Hire slow and fire fast when adding new employees to the team.