Minimum Viable Culture
April 19, 2016
1 min read
When should a startup start to write down its culture and values?
As a startup founder, I deeply believe two things:
- Company culture starts with your first hire and is fundamental to long-term success.
- Small, early-stage startups don’t need a lot of process, documentation, or formality.
When my co-founder Ben and I were deciding whether to work together, we exchanged notes on the values and behaviors that mattered to us. But it felt too early for an official company values statement.
Instead, I wrote a brief set of “ground rules” that we give to new hires on their first day. They’re simple enough to read in a minute, but practical enough to apply to your daily choices and actions:
Fieldbook: Ground Rules
Always speak the truth—candidly and if necessary, bluntly—and always be ready to hear the truth from others.
Think for yourself. No one’s opinion is gospel. “Jason said” is not a justification for anything.
Be honest, fair, and respectful with others, at all times — inside and outside the company.
Act like an owner. You are never to say: “That’s not my job.” Your job at all times is to do whatever, in your judgment, is in the best interests of the company.
Think and act long-range. We are not “built to flip.” We are building long-term, sustainable, durable value.
Take pride in your work. If at any point you feel that something is preventing you from doing your best work, talk to Jason right away.
Thanks to David Crawford for commenting on a draft of this post.
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