Shape and Strengthen Your Startup Culture with These 5 Tips 66

Shape and Strengthen Your Startup Culture with These 5 Tips -

This is a guest post by Niraj, founder of Hiver – an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool.

One of the many crucial factors for a startup’s success is the culture it thrives on. Nurturing the culture of the company from early on is inarguably very important.

A strong, thriving, growth-oriented startup culture is built on the foundation of core values you set for the startup and the employees.

Here are some steps you can take to nurture a growth-oriented startup culture:

  1. Pen down startup’s principles and values.

“We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build.”
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

A startup can have a strong culture only if you can unite all the employees under common principles, goals, and values. This is the first basic step to fostering a great culture.

Your team must be in tandem with your idea of a great startup. The best way to achieve this is to explicitly state the core values that you want your startup to have and what your vision for the startup is.

So take a paper and pen, and give words to your values and vision. In fact, go as far as create a manifesto if you must and let everyone, including yourself, know what your business should stand for (this will help you get started)

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Say an employee’s actions violated the values your startup stands for, make sure to have a talk with them, and tell them why you don’t find it acceptable.
  • On a similar note, if an employee complies to a particular value, make sure to convey  your appreciation publicly.
  • Put a list of your core values on display – maybe get some posters?
  • Delegate the responsibility of upholding values to the seniors in the team.
  1. Choose people with the right attitude.

Startups typically have relatively small workforces, given that, the effect each employee has on the startup and it’s culture is going to be significant. Picking the right people to work with you is crucial to keeping your startup’s DNA intact.

First, you must form a list of attributes that you think are important for an employee to fit well with your startup culture, and when interviewing a candidate, you must evaluate based on these checkpoints.

For example, if  constant innovation is one of the core values of your startup’s culture, then choose someone who is eager and comfortable to break stereotypes.

Companies such as LinkedIn conduct a rigorous selection process in order to discover people whose attitude fits well with theirs. Keep in mind that a skill can be taught, attitude cannot be.

  1. Be incredibly honest and transparent with your employees.

What Stops You on The Way to Perfect Organization

A culture that is authentic and transparent is necessary to foster growth and achieve success.

Some startups divulge the salary information of their employees to everyone in the company and some other startups organize meetings/product discussions  that are open to all. This is the kind of shocking honesty I am talking about.

At Buffer, a startup, the founder not only keeps the salary information open but also divulged the salary decision formula. The great thing about this kind of incredible authenticity is that the employees will deeply trust their founders to have their best interests in mind, resulting in a positive startup culture.

No one feels wronged about anything, everything is genuine and everything is out in the open. A transparent culture results in a ‘We’ concept rather than an ‘I’ concept in your employees.

  1. Let your employees get a first-hand taste of victory.

At my startup Hiver, when an employee comes up with a great idea, we appoint them as the ‘CEO’ of the idea and give them all the rights to plan, execute, delegate, and monitor the project. All the employees report to the person in charge, including the founders.

After speaking with some of my employees who left MNCs to join a startup, I realized that one of the major reasons for their job shifts was that it is almost impossible to get important work in such MNCs and that there is no autonomy at work in these overpopulated companies.

I understood that deep down everyone wants to do things that matter and so the best way to keep employees motivated and push them to take initiative is by letting them play the big game from time to time.

Here are some examples:

  • Start including them in client meetings.
  • Take the time and explain the company’s strategy, plans, future goals, and the vision to your employees.
  • Give them ownership of tasks and encourage balanced healthy autonomy.
  • Encourage an employee who wants to take up more challenging work by letting them.
  1. Make your workplace happy and inspiring.

Make your employees feel a tad bit excited to come to work every day instead of having to drag their feet. For example, if you want your employees to feel creatively inspired at work, fill the place up with vibrant colors, fun and artistic designs, etc.

Help your team/employees de-stress and recharge from time to time, by organizing fun and engaging activities, dinners, outings etc.

Given its small size, one serious advantage startups have is that all the employees can get to know each other well and really bond. Make this happen by organizing extracurricular team activities.

Most of us think that a growth-oriented culture is not about having an all-work-no-play culture. Wrong! A stress-free and upbeat work environment makes employees want to root for the startup and feel motivated to work for you.

As Richard Branson says, “There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.”

What do you think? And what’s the startup culture like in your company?

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Hunt Down Your Goals and Become Fearless Like a Lion 12

Hunt Down Your Goals and Become Fearless Like a Lion

To be fearless is to dare yourself to think new thoughts, take risks, fail and find the courage to start again.

In order to change, you must face the uncomfortable, because fear is not supposed to run you. Instead, it is a call to action.

We all have fear and we must never let it paralyze our dreams. If 2017 was an unsuccessful year, hopefully, this article will inspire you to take action.

I know how it feels when you are tired of listening to those inner voices of doubt. Slowly, the anger builds up inside. Despite those feelings, you can channel fear and anger in the right way and start to hunt for your dreams. Throughout my life, I felt a renewed hunger and drive to succeed when I simply let go of denial, accepted full responsibility and took affirmative action.

“Everybody wants to eat but a few are willing to hunt”

In today’s cold reality humans do not like to see anyone other than themselves succeed. Most will never take the next step to improve their life or the lives of their future generations to come. We are pushing towards survival of the fittest.

Tell me, when a lion hunts does it care what is in its way? No. The lion is in pursuit because it is relentless.

You must become the king of the jungle. All the things that make up our lives are in intricate balance and you must fight to protect your dreams.

1. Be fearless like a lion.

A lion has no fear of any challenge, so how do I become fearless?

My simple answer to overcoming fear is that I wake up with the burning desire in my heart. The burning desire is created by repeating positive affirmations like I CAN and I WILL.

Hidden somewhere deep down within you, there is that courage to dare yourself.

Ask yourself who is really stopping you? Go out there and let loose and you will learn what great lengths you are capable of going to.

Your first job before you start hunting is to find the fighter within you.

2. Know your limits and then defy them.

You’ve reached a certain limit but just can’t seem to go that extra mile. Once you become fearless, you become limitless.

A mind that is fearless has the urge to take more action and that is where you become defiant. Try your best to understand what you are doing wrong as sometimes it is easy to give up hope. So focus your attention on studying the obstacle in detail.

As you achieve one goal, you have the mental capacity, maturity and experience to face a new challenge. Therefore, your hunger and appetite for more success increase. Keep pushing no matter what and you will eventually break through.

I know for sure it is difficult at first, but now you’ve successfully defied the odds.

3. Think of a plan, visualize it and execute it.

A lion stalks its prey from a distance and seldom charges as it grows closer and closer displaying deadly predatory behaviour.

Never rush to execute a plan as it takes careful selection. Be clear what you want just as the lion calculates timing. 

Visualization is a vital tool to programme your subconscious mind in order to create that bridge of what is non-existent into reality, which is capturing your goal.

4. Be willing to accept failure.

Failures are what propel anyone forward their current success. We can certainly learn from our failures, but our intentions should be to succeed in accomplishing our goals! Failure is then a learning process, not a reason to accept defeat. You are the king, show no remorse!!!

Motivation from Will Smith is perhaps one of my favorites. Here’s one speech:

5. Have a winning attitude every day.

To keep the cycle of motivation in constant momentum you must work hard too.

The winning attitude is created by approaching your life with discipline and putting in the hours of practice.

I like to perform a reflective practice and personal development, which enables me to identify areas where I am falling down and thus need to pay more attention to.

6. Don’t allow criticism to defeat you.

We are afraid what others think of us, what we have or what we are going to do. It is you that must make that self-promise to finish what you started.

Every once in a while, a lion must remind everyone what he is capable of.

You are the king of the jungle. Own it!


This article was written by Usman Mahmood. Besides working in the field of science helping patients through genetic testing, his purpose is to empower and inspire people in life with motivational videos, messages, articles, and stories from around the world. He loves to engage creative and ambitious minds on his Facebook page.