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Why Company Culture Should be Your #1 Priority

October 26th, 2021   |   by fbadmin

(disclaimer: in restarting FounderBlog.com – I promised to err on the side of sharing more and more often vs. perfect posts – so I do not proofread my posts for typos! 🙂 )

Have you thought about your company culture with the same process as your product plan, financial plan, business plan or your marketing plan? Have you defined a vision for it? Or a set of goals, measurements/KPIs or even a roadmap? Does it have a budget to achieve those goals?

I’ve talked to very few founders or companies that would answer yes to some or all of those questions. But think about it for a moment. No company is going anywhere without people. People are usually a company’s most expensive asset – and the most challenging to scale. Recruiting, retention are costs (time and money) and performance is everything.

What if your company performance improved just 1% every month? That’s 12% a year, 24% in two years and at least 60% in five years. And by the way, it’s actually compounded growth performance. Who wouldn’t like to see that kind of company performance improvement?

It’s easy to put your financial plan or product roadmap first — that drives the output. But what about focusing on the input first? Try it out, start with filling in the following blanks:

  • Vision for your company culture
  • Mission for your company culture
  • Top 3 goals for your company culture in 1, 3 and 5 years
  • Culture Roadmap (what activities, events, trainings, communications, rewards/recognition, etc. will help you get to those goals)
  • How will your company culture provide an Impact? (i.e. purpose – social and environmental impact)
  • How are you doing to measure it’s success and impact? (in actual numerical, data-driven measurement)

This is just a start. You should publish your roadmap to your team! Put it on your website. It’s easy to talk about where the company is going, or where the product is going — but tell the world where your people and company culture are going. Remember, people are driven by causes, not organizations.

At the last company I founded (Rubicon Project, now Magnite) – this is how we started. We created a People Plan before product, marketing, financial or business plan. Why? Because we knew all of those other things would change – the market would change, the product would change, the financial plan would change – the economy would change! You can change your product or your plan, but changing your people is the hardest thing. For us, it worked. We were one of the fastest growing companies from zero to more than $1 billion in managed revenue and grew from zero to a $4 billion+ market cap.

If company’s were as disciplined with maintaining people like we do cars or software upgrades to our phones and computers – I think many companies would see even greater performance impacts!

How do you manage your culture or people plan today? I’d also love to see your answers/plan based off my bullet points above – please share! #CultureMatters