The Cult in Culture

Who owns culture
Image via Wikipedia

Corporate culture is only the sustainable, controllable competitive advantage for startups. It really is. Think about it: what other factors in business can you control? The market? Nope. The economy? Nope. Tsunamis or civil war? Nope. Corporate culture? Yes.

There’s a reason cult is the first part of culture. Many of the most famous corporate cultures are like cults, like Zappos. When I did a summer internship at IBM after my freshman year at Duke there was another intern there from Northwestern who kept saying she wanted to work at the SAS Institute. I asked why? She said people love it and never want to leave. I asked why again. She said it was a cult she wanted to join. True story.

Here are some ideas to put the cult in culture:

  • Require unanimous consent for new hires so that everyone has a vested say in the hiring process
  • Measure your employee Net Promoter Score each quarter and score above 70
  • Create the best environment you can afford (great office space, snacks, equipment, etc)
  • Find the right balance between good work, good people, and good pay

Creating a strong corporate culture is hard work. Do it, and the rewards and results will be profound.

What else? What other ways can you put the cult in culture?

4 thoughts on “The Cult in Culture

  1. The leaders of the organization must lead by example, such as 1) do “heavy lifting” work, 2) promote “trust over suspicion”, 3) consistently meet with and be transparent with the staff, 4) celebrate “wins” all the time and most importantly, 5) walk humbly.

    It all starts and ends at the top.

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