Startups undergoing major transitions started flooding in at Kulturenvy this week. Many are experiencing the challenges of relocating their office to make room for physical growth while simultaneously preparing for cultural growth. As such, it’s a great opportunity for companies to assess their culture from the ground up. It’s no secret that many individuals are seeking work with companies that provide a sense of purpose and a chance to contribute to something bigger than exclusively adding value to the bottom line. This translates to your ability to attract essential partners in advancing your startup and cultivating your startup’s role in your community. How are you going to define your culture?
Here in Boston we have an Innovation District (a.k.a. the Seaport District) and lots of startups are vying for a spot in this flourishing area. It’s got more to offer than just amazing views; however, it takes time to cultivate the right vibe and forge valuable relationships. Much like other innovation clusters, it is quickly attracting companies and talented individuals alike, driving the foundation for a new community. Not long ago it was a barren landscape of warehouses, empty lots, and muddy parking lots. Now, several projects are being completed, are underway, or are being conceived. Mixed-use development is being considered and companies moving to the district are seeing signs of progress in the way of restaurants and cafes. A lot of what drives culture is the surrounding environment – the people and the ‘bump’ factor, effective communication, and the general cohesion within a community or organization. Your input matters, the fabric of your community depends on it.
The more I meet with founders and cultural enthusiasts, the more I hear about the need to look at the big picture – the idea of a startup’s identity within the ecosystem and the role of culture. For the folks anticipating a similar period of growth, here are a few key points to consider:
How are we developing our culture and using it as a tool to contribute to the community?
Are other companies making a conscious effort to interact with the community and are we taking advantage of opportunities for collaboration?
Why does our culture attract the type of people it attracts, and how are we reflecting our cultural vision publicly?
As our culture grows and become more established, how can we be aware of changing priorities in our company as well as our community?
Just as your company culture is evolving, the larger community (whether physical or virtual) is also evolving. Keeping up with this moving target will require nimble positioning and an in-depth understanding of your complex culture.
Participate. Adapt. Thrive.