A lot of startups are mimicking what was successful in the past for companies like Google or Apple. They should stop doing that. They will never be the next Google or Apple if they imitate the mindsets of Google or Apple. Earn a place among their ranks by creating a unique company culture which will inspire future startups instead of molding a company culture based off previous successes. But how do you do that? Here are 6 ways to develop an incredibly strong and extremely fulfilling company culture.
1. Put someone in charge.
Almost any project needs a leader, and the project to develop a company culture is no exception. That leader needs to truly understand people. It would be great if you could find a psychology major who knows the nitty gritty of how people interact, but that’s probably not feasible for most companies. Instead, hire someone who fits your company’s needs and also reads people exceptionally well. If you hire someone else who understands where the pieces fit as well as or better than you, you won’t have to solve the company culture puzzle all by yourself.
2. Base the culture on the company.
Your company culture should absolutely not be created in a vacuum. To be a sustainable and fruitful culture, it needs to be inspired by the people you hire. Get inspired by all the special talents of your co-workers, as well as all their weaknesses, in order to develop a company culture that takes advantage of what everyone has to offer.
3. Remember that the goal is productivity.
Even though Google is known as a very liberating place to work, it’s still based in a structure that encourages workers to get things done. Your business needs to follow the same principle. You want people to be happy to go to work, but you shouldn’t let that get in the way of results. Be sure to not concern yourself with the well-being of your employees quite as much as your employees’ contributions to your new business. To achieve a successful company culture, you need to focus on what will really make your business a success.
4. Encourage diversity.
Look for co-workers who have skills and attitudes different to or even opposite from yours, compensating for the talents and mindsets that you lack. Hiring a group of yes-men won’t net you anything but answers in the affirmative. Look for people who will readily disagree with you if they believe that they have a better idea. The legacies of company leaders like Jobs and Gates and Bezos loom large, but remember that the great businesses are made up of much more than just the opinions of the figurehead.
5. Pull out the weeds.
Don’t be afraid of firing people, even though firing them is one of the hardest part of being a boss. If you don’t pull out the weeds, they’ll just take over the rest of your soil. If a member of your team isn’t pushing you towards your overall goal, pull that person out of the way of growth. Be kind and fair, but at the same time, leave feelings aside and do what’s best for both your company and your company culture. Otherwise, your business will never gain root.
6. Set the example.
To encourage a great company culture, you have to represent the company to the very best of your abilities. Be the leader that people look up to and the person they respect. As the head of your company, everyone else will be following you down the trail, so be a trailblazer. Heed the advice of this Lifehack article about different leadership styles to figure out what kind of authority figure you need to emulate.
Featured photo credit: Startup Weekend LA/Philippe Lewicki via flickr.com