Much has been written lately about how to create company culture – just check out the 36,000 news articles Google has indexed in the past week on the subject. Hopefully this post will be indexed as well as I certainly have my opinion.
I have worked at BrightWave Marketing
for 7 of the company’s 9 years and was fortunate enough to be Simms Jenkins first full-time hire. Even though the company doubled in size when I arrived, the simple act of hiring me was the first statement on the company culture – we are dedicated to customer service. He didn’t hire a programmer, a designer, or a business development position; he hired someone to take care of his clients. This decision and commitment to ensuring his clients had a dedicated resource to listen to their needs and goals, plan and execute a campaign, and report and recommend what to do next was BrightWave’s first statement to what the company culture would be for the foreseeable future. To this day, we still give every new employee a copy of Tony Hsieh’s book “Delivering Happiness“.
Nine years later, even though we are still razor-focused on serving our clients, I’ve noticed our culture is maturing as we grow and Simms is no longer the sole person responsible for defining it – we all are. The business owner of a company our size or larger can’t define the culture by themselves, they can only support, nurture and, most importantly, be a part of it. Don’t get me wrong, the CEO should certainly have a say in it but the company culture isn’t something that can be handed down from the top, it will feel forced. If you are a business owner, takes Simms’ lead and empower your employees to define it on their own and support them through the process.
I mean, look at the picture above. This is a picture of a company in the midst of organically growing their own culture. (NOTE: Our CEO is in there – I bet you can’t identify him.) All it takes is a modest budget, focused encouragement, and employees that get behind a movement. Kudos to my colleague, and field day co-champion, @_twojdesigns, for reminding all of us how important it is for our culture to not take ourselves too seriously. Have some fun, enjoy the people you work with and it’ll bring the best out of everyone and create a winning company culture.