Building a magnetic and infectious culture isn’t accidental; a company has to make a conscious decision to foster and grow it. Once a company decides to actively cultivate culture, the process required to grow it is sort of like chasing the horizon: you never quite ‘get there‘ since it’s always moving, but the journey is wonderful.
In every industry, there are companies with fantastic cultures and others with terrible ones: Google gets it, Microsoft never has—but both are tech companies. Both have about the same amount of money and both do roughly the same thing. However, Google decided that they wanted their culture to differentiate them from the Microsofts out there, and they succeeded.
When you walk through Microsoft’s main campus, you can actually feel a cultural void. Everyone at Microsoft sits in the dark in their private offices cranking out code without anyone around them to engage them in simple human interaction. Google, on the other hand, has open space and whiteboards everywhere so people can put up ideas when the spirit moves them, and have unstructured discussion time.
As one of my first mentors, Greig Clark, the founder of College Pro Painters said, “Building a great company means creating something that is slightly more than a business and slightly less than a religion.” What Greig was saying was that culture has to be more than a passing trend or some ideal to which you pay lip service—like any aspect of culture outside of the workplace, it has to be lived, experienced, and grown in order to be sustainable. It has to be a cult. Cult-ure.
Your Vivid Vision (formerly Painted Picture) should include ALL aspects of the type of culture you want so that you attract people who fit your culture and repel those who don’t.
Pic: Tommy Panetta