by Ed Lascelles
Most founders focus on the external factors they perceive as make-or-break. Product-market fit… go-to-market strategy… customer dynamics… the mantra of MBA-graduates and incubator entrepreneurs alike. Workplace culture is just as important but less well understood. Research by CB Insights reported that 'not having the right team in place' was the third most common reason why start-ups fail (after poor market fit and failing to raise sufficient capital).
When shaped consciously and strategically, workplace culture is a primary source of competitive advantage. A company's culture is at the heart of the way it functions and delivers on its vision. It is one of a few existential factors impacting a business that governs its very sustainability.
From a leadership perspective, a better understanding of workplace culture and mastery of its key drivers will directly impact a business’ “fitness to scale” - its ability to grow from fledgling Start-up to corporate juggernaut.
- How well does the business attract, manage and retain talent?
- To what extent is the top team and the entire business aligned around a clear and compelling purpose and direction?
- Does the organisation enable people to work well together?
- Is there potential and capability in the business to execute flawlessly?
- Does the business respond and pivot quickly and effectively?
Together with Fenji & Co, we have performed a study on nine of our fastest growing tech companies, revealing what companies can do to improve their workplace culture and why it matters.