Corporate cultures that are haphazardly created often die most peculiarly. Some of the reasons that come to mind are strife between founders, toxic team members, lack of empathy, and the slowness of decision making. No company is exempt, especially in the new pandemic era. Under normal circumstances, early startups' corporate culture frequently reflects its founders and first few employees. And with time and purpose, culture changes to be more aligned with the greater all. Such was the case at Mercatus.
In late 2004, when Andrew and I went through the machinations of incorporating the company, we fell into our first corporate culture overnight. The majority of our first employees had previously worked together at other companies and or ventures. They arrived, stormed, formed, and normed. Looking back, I can only imagine how hard it might have been for new employees to fit it. We had a cadence of our own, and we could quickly finish each others' thoughts. But there came a time that we had to evolve our culture. It was no longer appropriate and comfortable to have the culture represent such a small minority. Once we hit 48 people, we set the lofty goal of building-out values and cultural mantras.
Sometime in 2014-15, our cultural maven Sachi Kittur led 17 people through a deep and thorough exercise to build-out our values to pinpoint our culture goal posts. It wasn't easy. Not at all. We couldn't find the words to describe the emotions that we wanted to express, and that was compounded by the fact that English is a second language for many of us. Don't worry, Sachi came to the rescue. She spent countless hours cutting out pictures from various fanzines that we used to express was we were feeling. Those pictures became our collective voice in seeking the words to say our values.
Since that day, I've become consumed with the idea of culture. How it's created and changes with time and influence. Fascinating. And the pandemic and since most of us are working from home, will only usher new theories around corporate culture. It's an evolution, baby.
Joining me for episode #10 is David Bator, Vice-President of Strategy at TemboSocial, a gentleman who spends most of his day discussing all things social.
Grab your favourite drink and listen to David and I gab about all things culture.
If you have any questions or ideas for an episode, drop me an email by visiting the contact page.
Don't forget to keep an eye out for Episode #10.