Talking with an entrepreneur recently we started to debate when the culture of a startup takes place. My position is that is occurs immediately with the co-founders and builds out with each additional hire. Her position is that the startup needs 15+ employees to have enough personalities and stories to fully articulate the corporate culture.
Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when thinking through corporate culture in a startup:
- Corporate culture is the only long-term sustainable competitive advantage within your control
- Corporate culture starts immediately with the co-founders and strengthens or weakens with every new hire
- The sooner the culture is defined and clarified the better for determining future hire fit
- Getting the wrong people off the bus and the right people on the bus is the most important leadership job
It took me seven years of being a startup CEO before I really appreciated corporate culture and now I’m a huge proponent of having a strong culture. The corporate culture starts on day one and needs to consciously nurtured forever.
What else? What are you thoughts as to when corporate culture starts?