I have found that the earlier a startup begins to consciously develop a company culture, the better off it will fare in the long run. As such, we are striving to be more declarative of the Minim culture at the earliest stages of our growth.
Culture is best described as how people act in the absence of direction. Do contributors come together as a team to solve problems, or do they tackle them individually? Which is celebrated? I have found that declaring an official stance on the intricacies of office dynamics can lead to far better results than leaving it open to individual interpretation.
Mission-driven organizations like startups are defined by their beliefs and actions. Tribes will form and behaviors will be established that, without direction, may be contrary to the prevailing vision. That is why it is so important that, as a company grows and the founding team's influence diffuses, great care is taken to promote those values across the organization.
Culture, much like dialects and accents, can differentiate two people speaking an otherwise common language. It is similar to the way bebop jazz and big band music use many of the same chord progressions while producing vastly different rhythms and melodies. The dissonance that arises from competing cultures can be disadvantageous to success.
In the early stages of formation, startups are on the hunt for like-minded people who share their vision to join them on their mission— A task made infinitely easier by developing a cultural yardstick against which to evaluate potential teammates. Such evaluations will ensure a company develops their own uniquely optimal formulation of teams, strategies, and assets to achieve success with their unique customers, in their unique market.
Stay tuned for a post on how we think about culture at Minim.