"5 ways a CEO can help build a sustainable company culture: Guru’s Rick Nucci"
Below is an article originally written by Guru cofounder and CEO Rick Nucci, and published by Technical.ly Philly on October 24, 2019. Go to Guru's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.The image above shows Guru's company values. We view them as our lifeblood.
When done well, company values guide us on how we truly want to operate both as a company and individually as we do our daily jobs. They should be a part of every decision made, which means they must have room to grow and change as a company matures. By treating your values as a set of living principles, you'll be in a position to build a sustainable, flexible and growth-oriented company culture.
When we decided to formalize our values at Guru, it was because we'd reached a point where we were about to start growing rapidly. Before that point, we were able to look around the room to reach a consensus, but we knew that going forward, we needed to identify our north stars around how we wanted to make decisions holistically. How did we want to interact with each other? How did we want to interact with our customers? Who were the kinds of people we wanted to bring on for the long journey?
Here are the five major things we realized as we worked toward a sustainable company culture:
1. Define values that symbolize your great team.
Protecting company culture is one of the most important jobs of a CEO, but no CEO exists in a vacuum. Observe the way your team interacts and identify patterns. Those patterns are clues to what your culture is, and some of them can be defined as company values.
Tap those people who have passionate opinions and views, but don't lose sight of values you feel are not negotiable. For me, those were "don't take yourself too seriously" (because those who do tend to debate out of a desire to be right instead of a desire to learn) and "embrace the journey" (because burnout cultures never endure).
It's also critical to revisit your values over time so that they can evolve as the company grows. Not only does that give you permission to not burden yourself with trying to find the perfect set of values the first time, but it allows you to recognize that A.) what works for a company of 30 people may not work for a company of 300 (or 3,000), and B.) you're probably going to get something wrong the first time out.
2. Values aren't perks.
I believe that trying to out-perk other companies to attract the best talent is a losing proposition. Perks get copied (in a way, they're just another feature set), but the identity of your company — how you define it, measure it and reinforce it over and over and over again — is something that can't be copied.
At Guru, we want to compete for the best talent based on values, not on which perks we offer — and I also know that that means we're going to lose some candidates. At the same time, that means that those candidates who do end up joining are driven by more than just a paycheck (or gourmet chefs, onsite dry cleaning and climbing gyms). They tend to be more mission-driven and more excited about the cause.
3. Be intentional about reinforcing them.
Once defined, celebrate employees who live out your company values. It's a way to show newer employees what behaviors help you live a value.
At every one of our monthly company town halls, we have a segment called "Values in Action" where we thank individuals who embody our values through their contributions. To integrate our values into our workdays, we designed custom Slack emojis for each value, making it easy for team members to recognize each other. Our standard employee review process also includes a score for each value, allowing peers and managers to rate and have a discussion with the employee about how they live them and where there might be opportunities for improvement.
When not a daily part of the conversation, it's too easy to forget values, which can lead to culture dissolving. By keeping these principles at the forefront of everything, you can naturally promote your company culture by showing instead of just telling.
4. Avoid the growth-at-all-costs culture killer.
If culture is one of the last great corporate differentiators, and your hiring process ignores it in favor of "rockstar software developers" (or simply hitting hiring targets for the sake of hitting hiring targets), you're going to lose your culture before you have a chance to even build it.
We use the scorecard process defined by Geoff Smart and Randy Street's book "Who," and our scorecard includes a culture interview component. After defining our values, we break them down into interview questions so we can test for compatibility. The result is an inspiring amount of team compatibility, with a strong ability to collaborate, figure out tough problems and execute effectively. Oh yeah, and they are more likely to be here because they feel connected to the company and the mission, not just equity.
5. New leaders should make culture a top priority.
If you're new to a company that has a strong existing culture, understanding and attempting to demonstrate it should be a top priority in your first six months. Again, this shouldn't solely be a top-down approach. You're going to be working with people who have been functioning — and hopefully thriving — under the current culture.
The better way to approach it is to look at it as you would an existing product with a strong brand. Talk to your coworkers and understand the way they think and operate and learn what they're experiencing and seeing. Look to codify the positives in what you observe and then explain why you've decided to incorporate those into your company values. This will ensure that everyone understands that it's coming out of listening and learning from those around you and that you're responding to what they care about.
Remember that culture trumps strategy. Defining, iterating, celebrating and hiring for your values will go a long way toward creating an enduring company.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn via the Forbes Technology Council.
For the boss you loved, the coworker you hated, and everyone in between
Two things are inevitable when someone leaves your team at work: there will be an abundance of sweet treats (I'm partial to those giant cookie cakes from the mall) and there will be a card passed around for everyone to scrawl the professional version of sweet nothings in. Depending on the "importance" of the person, you may get the bonus activities of farewell gifts and/or an all-team champagne toast.
If you are a New York based tech professional and you'd like to attend this event, please email your name and LinkedIn URL to email@example.com.
Whether you are a software engineer, fitness enthusiast or both, you won't want to miss PowerToFly's evening of product demos and networking with the women tech leaders and allies at Peloton.
Founded in 2012, Peloton brought top talent together in its Silicon Alley headquarters to create a new concept in fitness. In their words, "We loved cycling but had a hard time finding a workout that consistently fit our schedules, and our at-home workouts never felt quite up to par. So, we set out to create a world-class indoor cycling studio experience on your time, and in the comfort of your own home."
This event is your chance to hear directly from the women tech leaders and allies who make their revolutionary products like the Peloton Bike, Peloton Tread and Peloton App possible. We'll be devoting a large portion of the event to taking your questions and I know the Peloton team wants to hear from you!
The unique evening will take place on Wednesday, February 12th from 6pm to 8:30pm at 125 W 25th Street.
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Studies have found that as women take over male-dominated fields, the pay drops. So what happens when men start joining female-dominated fields?
There's a lot more to building an inclusive company than just hiring more people from diverse backgrounds. So, how can you build an inclusive culture that will help you attract and retain a diverse group of employees?
How This Sales Coach Found Success—And A Career Path—at the Intersection of Tech, Construction, & Sales
A few months ago, Lily Zintak found herself at a crossroads.
She'd been working as a Sales Development Representative in construction management software company Procore Technologies' Austin, Texas office for the better part of 18 months. She'd watched the office grow from less than 200 people to more than 400—and even cut the ribbon when they opened a new floor of offices. She'd made 50-plus sales calls a day, honed an approach to prospecting and connecting with clients that worked for her, and found success. It was at this point in her career, where she had to make a tough decision.