A Reflection on the Power of Cohesive Company Culture
In an era where corporate culture is often relegated to buzzwords on a company brochure, I had the privilege of immersing myself in an environment where culture was lived and breathed daily. At Smartly.io, a company unabashedly obsessed with cultivating a strong, cohesive culture, I experienced firsthand the transformative power of values that resonate beyond just words written on the walls. As someone who transitioned from a culture-centric space to companies less focused on nurturing their culture, I found myself grappling with what I now call the “culture hangover.” Here, I share my journey, the lessons learned, and the profound impact of company culture on employee well-being and organizational success.
Journey at Smartly.io: Embodying the Culture
A Dynamic Culture Infusion
At Smartly.io, the emphasis on culture was pervasive, seeping into every facet of our operations — from the hiring process to daily work life. Our core values — Humble, Hungry, Hunter, Maximize Learning, Work Smartly, Build Trust, Act Customer First, and Take Ownership — were not merely philosophical concepts, but practical guides influencing our behavior and decisions daily. They were more than just principles; they were a living, breathing essence of our corporate identity.
Living the Values
As someone with inherent humility and ambition, I resonated profoundly with the “Humble, Hungry, Hunter” philosophy. This value system propelled me to not only realize my potential in sales. It help me to also mature as a leader, keen on imparting these values to my team. The culture at Smartly.io encouraged us to be forward-thinking. It encouraged us to forge paths that would steer us towards unprecedented success while remaining grounded and approachable.
The Transition: Facing the Culture Hangover
Moving away from a space that nurtured such a vibrant culture, I hoped to find a similar environment. I hoped to find one where the culture was not just stated but experienced in daily interactions. Unfortunately, the journey led me to companies where culture seemed to be a missing puzzle piece, leaving me feeling like a part of me was missing at work. The openness, the camaraderie, and the genuine commitment to values that I had witnessed at Smartly.io seemed like distant memories.
This transition brought with it instances of harsh realities — aggressive exchanges, lack of professionalism, and a palpable void of psychological safety. It felt like walking on eggshells, questioning whether voicing my thoughts was worth the potential backlash.
Reflections: The Unparalleled Value of a Strong Culture
Looking back, I realize that a potent, cohesive company culture serves as a blueprint for fostering successful, harmonious work environments. It facilitates open communication, encourages feedback sharing, and fosters a safe space where employees can flourish, professionally and personally. This culture of safety and openness not only nurtures individual growth but catalyzes organizational progress. Shaping a community where employees can present their authentic selves, with their strengths and vulnerabilities.
Conclusion: Carving the Path Forward
In the words of Kristo Ovaska, it’s pivotal for companies to actively shape their culture, to set examples that resonate with the values they wish to instill. Failing to do so allows the culture to evolve independently, possibly drifting into realms that stifle growth and innovation. For companies and employees navigating the intricate web of corporate culture, my advice is simple — be proactive in nurturing a culture that embodies respect, inclusivity, and growth. Because in the end, a company’s culture can either be its strongest asset or its most significant downfall.