Building a company with the right values

To determine the company's success, it's not the technology or the team you assemble that matters most. Having built 4 businesses before and being part of 3 startups, my observations and experiences have made me discover that a company's values are what will make a company successful.

As an employee, one might not care about a company's mission, vision and values. It may seem like a piece of decoration and never taken seriously. Your only concern might be to do your job, go home on time, and get paid. You go through life with a job as a means to an end. Maybe it's because you don't really like your job or maybe you have nothing to feel excited about when you go to work.

Maybe, management failed to demonstrate the company's values. and you failed to internalise them.

What type of company are you trying to build? And if you're an employee, is this the type of company you want to work for?

Values must sync. And if the values are absent, then there must be an effort to internalise it. The employee gets a chance in the form of a probation to try out if there is a fit. Often, employers make the mistake of keeping someone if they're able to fill a need and if they work hard. They don't observe whether the employee has the right culture fit. An employee's longevity at your company completely depends on whether there is a culture-fit. If there isn't, chances are, this relationship won't work out in less than a year.

To reduce the impact of wasted time and effort to on-board and off-board an employee, I often start from the beginning of the hiring process. First, I don't look at grades. I look at demonstrated ability. I give them an online coding test, and if they meet my grade, I give them an interview. At the interview, I ask about what are their proudest piece of work and I ask them to demonstrate it to me. You can tell a lot about somebody's passion by the way they describe their work. If the candidate does not sound excited and proud about their work, that means that either they're looking for a job that pays the bills or they find no meaning in the work they do and therefore will never give their 100%.

Once you hire the person, it is entirely your responsibility to not just communicate the values, but demonstrate it. If you yourself fail to demonstrate it, be the first to admit it and crucify yourself. Get better. A responsible employer must lead by example. Then, others will follow and gets pulled by the values and the vision.

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