Your culture isn't the words on your walls, t-shirts, and website. It is those things that you do as a company that works and is therefore promoted, encouraged, repeated, and honored. Let me pick on integrity to illustrate my point as many, many businesses will include integrity in their core values.
There is one choice every successful Founder must make. At some point, every Founder will need to choose between transforming culture and character of the organization to create the ability to scale OR limiting the growth of the organization to keep it within its current operating capacity.
Your business culture isn't a fixed set of values you scribbled with your mission statement on a napkin one night. Instead, it is a dynamic set of hierarchical values that can and should change in response to the business' growth and development.
It's time for the single most significant cultural change your business will experience, stage 3 of the Predictable Success model. Culture in Whitewater. To be honest, I cringed when I wrote the heading "Culture in Whitewater." Culture in Whitewater can be summed up in one word: awful.
Every successful company's true values are almost virtually identical. These shared values actually define employee behavior and have more to do with their stage of development than they do their unique identity and how this is ok.
The culture that has given you so much success and brought you so far will, at some point, prevent you from taking your company to the next level. There is an interesting pattern that happens in virtually every successful startup, regardless of their industry.
When you have started a business, your first few hires will be some of the most critical decisions you will make. A bad hiring decision can kill the company you’ve worked so hard to build. If you hire too late, the work can build up, causing backlogs and missed orders. If you hire too early, you can burn right through what little cash you have. Hiring someone with the wrong personality can suck the life right out of you.
The "Stop Doing List" has been one of the most painful but powerful tools I have had to learn to use over the last 13 years of running a successful small business.
As the year winds down, you are likely spending more and more time thinking about and working on next year’s projects. As you’re planning, I’d recommend you consider the following three actions. I believe they are critical for the long-term health and success of your business.