Culture & Principles
Culture is a funny thing. It’s very elusive. When you try to pin it down with words, when you try to crystallise precisely what it is, you’ve already missed it. It’s like a light wave in that sense - always bounding out ahead of you.
I like to think about it this way: through books, documentaries, footage and audio you can learn a lot about a period of cultural history - say the US counter culture in the 1960’s or ancient Rome. But even with huge reams of material it's still hard to get a “real” sense for what life was like then. What the living and breathing culture was like.
Culture is hard to define in this macro sense but it’s similarly hard to define in our little world of company building.
Accordingly: I don’t like the idea of “defining” company culture. I don’t believe in the notion that a Founder-CEO can write down what he or she thinks The Culture is (or should be) and that these words will then somehow become manifest in the organisation.
Even if we were all highly motivated and eager to embody such a document, the reality of our organisation will be still something quite different.
While I don’t believe in culture defining, I do believe in principles. Principles recognise that the reality is something much more complex than words can capture. Principles are ideals. They leave space and flexibility for what culture is in actuality.
If we agree upon our principles, if we think they are good way to run our company, and strive to embody them, a good culture will flow naturally from there.