Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lean Coffee: Culture

Today at Lean Coffee Toronto, we discussed Culture as a Competitive Advantage.

A few of my key takeaways:
  • Culture is: The expression of your values
    • Examples: Mediteranian vs.British vs. German
  • Can be a big advantage for small companies
  • Business was a lifestyle choice
    • Enjoyed work and stuff outside of work
  • Profit not the only motive -- sustainability too
  • Formalized profit-sharing (after setting aside 3 months emerg. money)
  • Working Group working retreat: Amazing ideas, great team building
  • Marked a commitment to the future and to the team
    • Defining the culture was a group effort
  • Building a "post-modern" company: happiness and fulfillment as well as profit
  • Reference: "Drive" (Dan Pink)
  • Even in bad times, continued to do "extra" stuff like team retreats
  • Growth spurts can hurt culture
  • It takes a lot of time to hire people that meet the culture
    • Often creates problems when companies grow quickly
  • Ties into organization, process, procedures, scalability
  • In small companies, culture is based on your personality
    • When you grow, you need to abstract your values
    • Successful models: Zappos, Apple, Google
  • Employees drive culture in subtle ways -- when they show up, conversations, etc
  • Culture defined stronger when founders are very involved in day-to-day ops
  • People want ownership of stuff
  • Is culture like a brand? Difference between reality and what is said/written
Thanks to Andres and Dom from TWG for hosting and facilitating today!

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