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El blog de Mikel Niño
Emprendimiento digital, startups, Big Data Analytics y nuevos modelos de negocio

Keys to build your startup's culture (1/2)

One of the topics that recurrently comes up when we talk about important ideas to care about while building a startup is its culture, understood as a set of values and attitudes shared by all the members of the organization, and which will constitute a very important facet of the startup's evolution since the very beginning. I would like to share my vision about this topic by pointing out, through this blog entry and the next one, some keys around this concept that I consider fundamental.

I just mentioned values as one of the crucial aspects of a startup's culture. In fact, it is extremely common to define the usual set of mission, vision and values as the fundamentals of the strategy of every collective initiative, including of course business initiative. I do think, however, that we tend to make a mistake when defining values as we usually (no matter the tool or technique used to select them) end up creating an unordered list where we give all values the same relevance. Because of this, as all values are considered equal, the list becomes a "hodgepodge" resource where we gather good intentions without paying too much attention to anyone of them in particular.

The main mistake here is not having a prioritization of what is more important for the organization. We all know that, if we put ourselves in "wishlist mode", we would want that all possible values considered as positive were present in our startup. The key point is: if we face a situation where two of those values are in conflict: which one is more important? For example, shall we prioritize our flexible work schedule or an immediate response to customers' demands? We should have clear which value is the most relevant to our strategy, as that should be prioritized in any situation. Here is a nice example of this by the MOOC provider Coursera.

Besides, this prioritization produces two highly desirable effects when defining a startup's culture: (1) having a solid basis upon which to make easier the choice of team members and their cohesion around a shared vision, and (2) clarifying the criteria to keep coherence over time, which guarantees us a stable reference to guide our decisions even in difficult times.

[Haz clic aquí para la versión en español de esta entrada]

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