[Inverted Passion] Your team’s culture is defined by your behavior, not your words

Your team’s culture is defined by your behavior, not your words

By Paras Chopra on May 29, 2022 02:10 am

Imagine you’re the founder of a startup project (it could be a company, a non-profit, a religion, or even a country). You have a weird habit: you like to come to the office by noon and stay late (say until 8 pm). You hire your first employee, and on the first day he arrives at the office at 9 am (just like he did in his previous job).

The empty office seems odd to him, and it becomes odder still when he sees you stroll by in the office during his lunchtime. In the evening, since it’s the first day of his job, he waits for you to leave but the entire time, you are happily busy on your laptop. You leave the office by 9 pm and a couple of minutes after you, the new hire leaves. Thinking of his first day as a fluke, the new employee comes in early again tomorrow but the same thing repeats.

/>

As you can guess, new employees usually don’t confront their bosses in the early days, so they end up adapting themselves to their bosses’ weird habits. When another new employee joins, she now sees two people working from noon-8 pm. So the pressure is even more to conform. As the team grows, for new hires, the situation gradually starts looking like a cult to the outsiders (a group of people who work from noon to 8 pm).

As more people an organization and the more time passes, the harder it is for anyone (including the old members) to change these joint habits. Continuing with the previous example, imagine that the company has now grown to 100 people and the CEO has had a change of heart. He declares that the noon timing is no longer OK and that everyone has to come to the office by sharp 9 in the morning. How do you think this proposal will be perceived by the company?

The criticism will likely be one among these: “our culture is changing”, “It’s not like the old days anymore” and “Here are 99 reasons why noon-8 pm is the best timing”. People don’t like to change their habits when they’re the norm around them.

If the CEO himself faces resistance to changing these culturally ingrained joint habits, imagine how difficult will it be for anyone else (including new joiners) to try doing the same?

Organizations are habit amplifying machines. What is amplified in an org are not just weird habits, but all habits (good or bad) of the initial founding team. Do founders like to read? They’ll attract, retain and encourage people to read. Soon enough – reading books becomes part of their culture.

In America’s case, since their founding fathers gave great emphasis on freedom of gun-owning, changing that now is political suicide for US politicians. Similarly, China’s totalitarianism that started with Mao Zedong’s reflects today in the government’s tracking and rating of its citizens. Apple’s maniacal focus on design continues even after the death of Steve Jobs.

When people say, why can’t China now adopt democracy given that they have everything else going for them, they’re missing the point that an organization resists change in its collective culture. And culture is nothing but common behaviors and habits exhibited by members of the org.

Cultures do change but the process is notoriously difficult. Often, the changes have to be gradual or a revolution needs to happen that brings a sudden but destructive change. In the default case, culture, once established, resists change.

Remember: new employees observe previous employees to guess what’s okay to do and what’s not okay. And you – the founder – are the first employee.

This essay is part of my book on mental models for startup founders.


/>

Have any comments? Email me.

Receive new essays via email (~once a week)
/>
/>

The post Your team’s culture is defined by your behavior, not your words appeared first on Inverted Passion.


Read in browser »
share on Twitter Like Your team’s culture is defined by your behavior, not your words on Facebook




Recent Articles:

Your north star metric should be a leading indicator of profits
Study your most successful customers to set your direction
What kills startups is the lack of feedback
Profit overpowers ethics, if left unchecked
Great entrepreneurs think like investors
Copyright © 2022 Inverted Passion, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
Inverted Passion
1104 KLJ Tower
Netaji Subhah Place
Delhi, 110034
India

Add us to your address book


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp

Key phrases

Older messages

[Inverted Passion] Your north star metric should be a leading indicator of profits

Monday, May 16, 2022

Here's a new post on InvertedPassion.com Your north star metric should be a leading indicator of profits By Paras Chopra on May 15, 2022 09:23 am Kodak, Toys R Us, and Blockbuster were market-

[Inverted Passion] Study your most successful customers to set your direction

Monday, May 9, 2022

Here's a new post on InvertedPassion.com Study your most successful customers to set your direction By Paras Chopra on May 09, 2022 03:06 am Setting product and business direction is actually

[Inverted Passion] What kills startups is the lack of feedback

Monday, May 2, 2022

Here's a new post on InvertedPassion.com What kills startups is the lack of feedback By Paras Chopra on May 01, 2022 02:21 am A startup is like a hypothesis inside an entrepreneur's head and

[Inverted Passion] Profit overpowers ethics, if left unchecked

Monday, April 25, 2022

Here's a new post on InvertedPassion.com Profit overpowers ethics, if left unchecked By Paras Chopra on Apr 24, 2022 05:39 am We have seen our beloved companies transform into greedy and heartless

[Inverted Passion] Great entrepreneurs think like investors

Monday, April 18, 2022

Here's a new post on InvertedPassion.com Great entrepreneurs think like investors By Paras Chopra on Apr 16, 2022 05:11 am There are many stakeholders of a business. There are employees, customers,

Build In Public - April 2022 Issue

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Hey everyone, Wanted to pass along a few top-of-mind pieces of content which I think you might enjoy. Build In Public - April 2022 Issue By KP • Issue #30 • View online Hey everyone, Wanted to pass

Continuations & Async(Throwing)Stream, Swift Evolution News, DocC On GitHub Pages, AttributedString & Unicode

Thursday, April 28, 2022

One more thing... Hello, you're reading Infinum iOS Cocoa Treats, bringing you the latest iOS related news straight to your inbox every week. Wrapping existing asynchronous code in async/await in

Silicon Valley Funding News - Week of September 13, 2021. Affinity Raised $80M Series C

Monday, September 13, 2021

View this email in your browser Congrats to team Solana (one of my portfolio companies) for climbing to seventh in the Crypto Top 10! Solana is slowly becoming the de facto standards for DeFi and NFTs.

BlockFi's fire sale, Meta's memo, and confirmed: founders say venture investors are offering tougher terms

Friday, July 1, 2022

View in browser Top News The S&P 500 suffered its worst first half since 1970 but analysis by S&P Dow Jones Indices says historically there has been little to no correlation between the

How to build hype like Spotify 🎵

Friday, July 1, 2022

Web3 startups to watch | Our day at a metaverse expo | Balderton's portfolio letter View this email in your browser Powered by Sapphire Ventures Hi Sifted Reader, From the Sifted podcast studio

VC falls

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Cash cushion. Bitcoin energy. Yikes: this bar chart. View in browser CBINSIGHTS CBINSIGHTS June 30, 2022 On cue Hi there, Here is this week in charts. This Week In Charts Source: Bloomberg Get low. The

📰 SaaS Tribune Weekly - 30 Jun

Thursday, June 30, 2022

SaaSHub Weekly - 30 Jun Our weekly list of useful, trending and featured products Zimyo logo Zimyo Cloud-based Employee experience platform dedicated to driving productivity by creating efficient

Asking Users to Complete Tough Mudders to Use Your Product

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Tomasz Tunguz Venture Capitalist at Redpoint If you were forwarded this newsletter, and you'd like to receive it in the future, subscribe here.​ ​Asking Users to Complete Tough Mudders to Use Your

🔥 CRProxy, Devign, Flowmeter, Unicorn Dev

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Today's Trending Products and Posts. CRProxy A reverse web proxy for developers. View Devign An automated bug reporting tool View Flowmeter Machine learning tool to classify network packets. View

Today's startups in 10 words

Thursday, June 30, 2022

10words.io Discover new apps and startups in 10 words or less Listen2It: Amplify your content with voice deicare: Measure and improve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion RADAAR: RADAAR is a powerful social

The House of Sounds, Vocally, monse, Parma CRM, JoinSlip, and more

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Be the leader you wished you had BetaList BetaList Daily ZenLeadr Exclusive Perk Be the leader you wished you had The House of Sounds Everything music ecosystem Vocally Exclusive Perk Create, Host

Issue#50: Building $1K - $10K MRR Micro SaaS around Developers ecosystem

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Welcome to the 378 new subscribers joined this week. Unlock the Pro version (for full content access to 800+ profitable ideas across 76+ niches and community access) Pro subscribers community launched

📂 3x ARPU without decreasing conversions

Thursday, June 30, 2022

​ ​ ​ Today's newsletter is proudly supported by 42/Agency 🙌 ​ ​ When you're in scale-up mode and you have KPIs to hit... the pressure is on to deliver demos and signups. And it's a lot to