Culture is worth thinking about from the beginning as it is all that matters in a startup. Startup is more like a dream craft in which people board and culture is what holds them strongly. What kind of company do you want to build? How do you want your team to treat each other? It all depends on the culture the startup defines. If your startup culture if set right, it is capable of handling the startup by itself.
Here are few tips to get your startup culture right.
Sell your vision
As stated, a startup is nothing more than a dream-craft. Nobody wants to board a directionless craft. People board the craft with hope. And to do justice to the hope, you need to sell your vision. A good vision will help your team members visualise their future both personally and professionally. The initial core team or your initial hires are the ones defining your company and your culture; so making sure that they share the same vision as you becomes very important. A study says 80% of a company’s culture emanates from its founder and hence transfer of the founder’s inspirations, roots, founding story to the core team is paramount for alignment on the same axis. This will enable a strong cultural base in your organisation.
Half your company’s culture is set, if your hires are right. A wrong hire can cause a lot of damage to your organisation. A right hire can be spotted in many ways and one of the simplest ways is to hear a lot of ‘We’ than ‘I’ from the prospective candidate.
Also when hiring, look more for attitude than skills. Skill-set is something that can be honed by training over a period of time. In a startup one must have the right attitude to learn, to grow, to team spirit, to listen, to persist, and to hard work. These attributes matter more than that of skill-sets. Skills are something that could be developed over a period of time but attitude is inborn. So hire based on attitude. Since businesses are built on people, hiring right becomes the most important aspect in setting the culture right.
Set the environment right
Smart people require smart work environment. Smart environment need not necessarily mean a hi-end posh office, it could also be a garage but the environment related to infrastructure, co-workers, processes and surroundings should be conducive to growth, learning and happiness.
Recognising and promoting talent is very important. The organizational culture should foster identification and appreciation of key potential performers- a monthly or a weekly activity. This will boost morale and a productivity-led culture.
Work attitude based on inspiration & personal growth, not fear.
Let your startup have a work attitude be focused on inspirational and personal growth. Fear might drive productivity but only as a short-term measure, and will also cause attrition. But inspiration driven work shall cause more productivity over a long term period. “Nobody wants to work for a dictator boss!”
Share growth & victory
Learn to communicate and appreciate, and share growth & victory related accolades. Celebrating for even the smallest of accomplishments will induce happiness within the organization, build a responsible team and boost productivity. This will facilitate a culture of ownership for both failures and successes.
Provide ownership. Promote leadership
Most startups make the mistake of not delegating ownership due to fear of failure. But only from failures will the team learn their mistakes. And only by learning from failures, leaders are born. Great organisations are built by great leaders.
About Santhosh Palavesh
Santhosh Palavesh a NEN E-Cell member at Velammal Engineering College – Chennai, is the CEO and Founder of UMM Studios, a hybrid agency focusing on Marketing, Creatives & Technology. Today it has 500+ clients with overseas offices in Belgium and Dubai. Santosh has won numerous awards for his endeavors.