The Challenges of Creating Organizational Culture

Darmesh Shah exposed the why of Cracking the Culture Code at Dreamforce 2013 today, but his approach is even more interesting.

As co-founder of the then-young Hubspot in the late 2000s, Shah was posed the challenge of defining the culture of Hubspot.

“For the first three years at Hubspot, the word ‘culture’ wasn’t spoken,” he said, confirming the uniqueness of the challenge.

The idea came from co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, who had joined a CEO support-group of sorts and other, more seasoned CEOs warned that company culture could end up biting you a lot harder than you think if left untended.

Dharmesh started with a simple survey of 60-or-so Hubspotters – “On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend Hubspot as a place to work?”

The responses indicated a maniacally happy workforce.

But the real question is why? And that’s where the work really started with Dharmesh – documenting the culture of Hubspot…on paper.

The Hubspot culture deck is, apparently, the second most widely read culture document in the history of the planet. The first? Netflix.

Hubspot found that the key to documenting your company culture is remembering that it “can’t be about who you are. It should also be who you want to be.”

And the measurement should happen with frequency and consistency.

Have a company meeting? Ask your employees afterwards on a scale of 0 to 10 if they would have that meeting again.

Meet with company alumni and ask how happy they are to have your company on your resume.

Always measuring. Always adapting.