It is somewhat of a cliché these days to see employees of a startup in skinny jeans and t-shirts. A dress code that once would have been perceived as such person being unemployed, now associates an individual with the potential to disrupt. What makes these guys instantly distinguishable to outsiders are the branded hoodies and tshirts that makes them look like the rest of their colleagues. This "uniform" encapsulates the general startup principle; everybody at your company should be different in the same way -- a group of like-minded individuals who are devoted to a single mission.
Startups have small teams with limited resources and so, it becomes crucial to work quickly and effectively in order to survive. This agile characteristic of a startup is a lot easier to achieve if everyone in the company gets along well and has a similar understanding of how the world works. The certain degree of mutual understanding reduces the amount of valuable time wasted to make sure everybody is on the same page. Unlike corporations, differences in opinions and methodologies are encouraged since they can lead to breakthrough ideas, as long as everyone has a similar hunger and vision.
At Privé, we are obsessed with bringing top-tier wealth advisory to the masses. It does not matter what country people are from or what they look like, we seek an equal level of obsession in every new hire.
A TIGHTLY KNIT TEAM
With startups, there is also a sense of belonging that develops over time. I have friends that currently work for large corporations, consultancies and private banks, where they experience a very transitional employee network. This results in an organization that is more transactional rather than tightly knit.
The founders of Privé, from the very beginning, have set out to build a team that actually enjoys working together. Stronger relationships not only make a happier and better workplace, but, it also creates an environment for more successful careers - even beyond Privé. After all, what is the point of working with a group of people that don't get along, other than creating conflict?
In my previous experiences, I had opportunities to work with some highly intelligent individuals that were incredibly talented and impressive. But the relationships between them were oddly thin. They spent countless hours together in the office, but had very little to say to one another outside the office doors. I found myself conforming to their work ethic, thinking it to be a necessary sacrifice to make money.
It's clear now though, that a working culture like that completely unnecessary. Even from a financial perspective. Time is your most valuable asset, and so it becomes completely irrational to spend most of it with people you don't envision a long term relationship with.
If the members of a team are relatively siloed from one another from the beginning, there's bound to be a degree of fragmentation as the company scales. We understand that this is a problem that plagues the bigger organizations, so we've established a collaborative and enjoyable culture based on strengthening relationships.
Startup "company cultures" have become a little bit absurd over the past few years. Offices with bean-bag chairs, slides to get from one department to another and table tennis tables for the occasional game of beer pong have become somewhat of the norm in the startup realm.
Albeit extremely cool, all these perks lack a certain element of substance. Companies sometimes tend to do this to attract new talent. This method has its flaws since a candidate who is more interested in the perks than the vision of the company is probably not a good hire in the first place. You cannot achieve great things without substance in your resources.
A company culture is simply the company itself. In their book, Peter Thiel and Blake Masters say, "no company has a culture, every company is a culture. A startup is a team of people on a mission, and a good culture is just what that looks like on the inside".
Companies are a living, breathing entity with a personality of its own. Attempting to define it seems to be somewhat of an oversimplification. The only way to truly understand a company's culture is to experience it.
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