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Build a Company Culture That Gets Things Done
For startups, performance is paramount.
As startups grow, they face an onslaught of information, problems, and uncertainty. The kind of company culture they build makes a difference in how they navigate these challenges.
Sociologist Ron Westrum's model of organizational culture, developed in his 1984 book Complex Organizations offers some guidance.
Westrum identifies three types of cultures: Power-Oriented, Rule-Oriented, and Performance-Oriented. Startups, especially when they're small, naturally lean towards a performance-oriented culture. This type of culture focuses on getting things done and promotes collaboration, learning, and transparency.
As a founder, it's crucial to remember the importance of maintaining this performance-oriented culture as your company scales.
But don't mistake the means for the ends.
Collaboration, communication, and learning are valuable because they help your team achieve results. They are not the goal in themselves. Transparency supports trust and removes barriers that might impede progress. But sharing information without context and in an untimely manner is useless at best and dangerous at worst.
A great recent example of this comes from Ryan Denehy's story about a co-founder who prioritized getting things done above all else. They didn't bother with management books or fancy frameworks. Instead, they succeeded through sheer drive and determination. While it's unrealistic to expect employees to match a founder's level of urgency, performance should always be non-negotiable.
Embrace failure as a learning opportunity, but also recognize that perpetual learning without action is pointless. Some decision-making will need to be centralized, and innovation isn't desirable in areas like recruiting and project management. Instead, focus on fostering a company culture that prioritizes results and adapts to the ever-changing landscape of the startup world.