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Every company is creating two products at once.

We have two products, one we sell to our customers (HubSpot’s CRM) and one we sell to our employees (HubSpot’s culture).  Like your product, you need your culture to be unique relative to the competition (for talent) and you want your culture to be very valuable.  Like your product, when it is unique and valuable, your company turns into a magnet that attracts and retains terrific talent.  And also like your product, it’s never done – it needs continued interation.

~ Brian Halligan

It’s fascinating to think of your company culture as a product.

But before we go too far, let me define “company culture.”

What do you mean by “company culture?”

Culture results from your shared beliefs and values, as played out in your interactions as a team and with your clients and community. As the founder, you are the biggest determinant of that culture, but you are co-creating it with your team. They are interpreting your beliefs and values and reflecting them in their actions.

You can feel your culture when you are making key decisions. Maybe you rule out some options because “that’s not in keeping with our culture.” You can find it when you are hiring, and you meet someone who’s “not a good cultural fit.” It’s also shown in times of adversity – people in strong cultures pull together when times get tough.

Your culture is never static; it’s never “done,” because every decision you make, person you hire, or client you onboard is a signal to your team about what you value and who you are as a team. Every day your culture evolves.

So, when we think about our culture as a product that we are creating to attract and retain high-quality talent and to create an environment where that talent can thrive, it makes a process that is usually invisible more tangible.

How do we create our culture?

Just as we can make discrete choices about how we will serve our clients – and predict some of the results of those decisions, we can do the same for culture.

When you have a lower-performing team member, you can ask, “What would it say to our company culture to let this person go right now? What would it mean to let this person stay?” Then, weigh those outcomes along with the lagging productivity. Maybe your team culture is to value high performance, and everyone would cheer when a low performer exits. But another culture that values connection and inclusivity might feel you haven’t done enough to give them a chance. The “right” decision for the same employee with the same performance could differ depending on your culture.

How do you evaluate service offering decisions in your firm? What if you asked those same questions about features of your company culture? What might change?

I’d love to hear if this idea was helpful to you – what did you see differently looking through this lens? Hit reply and let me know!

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