Back in the early Pardot days we defined our core values as positive, self-starting, and supportive. These values were used extensively in our hiring process, quarterly check-ins, and the day-to-day running of the business. Only, we had an arch enemy competitor that was cut-throat, aggressive, and, generally, the antithesis of our style. Yet, both companies were wildly successful.
HBR has an article up titled Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive where the author cites data supporting the Pardot-style as being more productive. Yet, organizations like Oracle are well known for their aggressive culture, while still being incredibly successful. How can cultures with completely different styles be so successful?
The answer: whatever the culture, it needs to be cohesive throughout.
If some people are cut-throat and inconsiderate while others are positive and self-starting, that’s going to be a challenging culture. If everyone is cut-throat, and that culture is cohesive, it’ll be able to succeed. A popular business book titled The No Ass Hole Rule, which argues bullying behavior hurts morale and productivity, cites Steve Jobs as a prime example, but we know how successful Apple became under his leadership. Apple has strong values and a cohesive culture.
There’s no one “right” culture — there are too many different, successful companies with varying cultures. What’s important is that entrepreneurs make a focused effort on building a great culture that’s cohesive and strong in their own style.
What else? What are some more thoughts on differing corporate cultures and success?