The journey to a company culture

I like to think of culture as what happens when no-one is looking.

As a new company, you’re in a unique position to genuinely define your culture, rather than adapt to someone else’s [1]. Who do you want to be? What matters to you beyond your Product or service?

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Some books

I’ve found a number of challenges to the cultural philosophy I want to live, the strongest of which (for me at least) are from customers. To be specific, I found many customers wanted a fixed price arrangement. This would mean:

  • defining work up front
  • attempting to estimate duration
  • committing myself to a potentially large chunk of time

As I discussed with them, I don’t want to do any of those things, in the interest of the customer getting great value[2]. I want us to be able to pivot as we learned more, so we can work on what matters rather than what happened to be in the contract. This is the spirit of the value of genuine “Collaboration” that Fuza has[3], which I believe means I need to share the same goals as my customer. Luckily most of the people who are interested in working with Fuza are keen to make smart decisions, and have understood and embraced the attitude.

The key reason: Without shared vision for the work, we cannot work to get the same benefit and it can become a purely capitalist transaction. When I work, I want to feel and genuinely be a set of people working together for the same thing, as this sense of shared purpose is motivating [4] and as such I am confident it will lead to not just better delivery but also more engaged and happier customers. I’m sure this holds for people working in larger and longer-established companies too: we all like to have purpose. Hopefully one day soon we can get some solid scientific studies to help us understand how to share that purpose effectively.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_philosophy

[2] http://www.agilemanifesto.org/

[3] See www.fuza.co.uk for more info on our values.

[4] Incase you haven’t watched it, http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation?language=en

3 thoughts on “The journey to a company culture

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