|Mike Dariano||Nov 20, 2019|
Culture, says venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, is what people do when you don't tell them what to do. What's interesting about culture is the uniqueness of it. Some organizations are lauded for ideas like '20% time' or ‘being flat' or to 'move-fast-and-break things' but each attribute of culture only works within that group.
At Apple, for example, Ken Segall wrote that that the culture was like a newsroom. Steve Jobs was the editor and assigned stories/tasks and gave feedback for submissions/proposals. That worked at Apple. That was their version of a decentralized command. "The assumption at your hiring," Segall wrote, "is that you're well equipped with brains and commonsense."
Cultural awareness makes hiring easier. The New England Patriots football team has a very strong culture where the emphasis is to 'do your job'. Coach Bill Belichick provides the top-down support necessary for this approach. In one interview he said, "A big part is the selection process. If you select people that aren't going to be able to adjust to the culture you're going to be swimming upstream."
Sometimes organizations mistake perks for culture. Food, childcare, trips, etc.- do not make the culture. Culture is also not something to copy/paste from someplace else. Rather, it's something that should flow from the way an organization does business, serves customers, and operates internally.