Culture eats strategy for breakfast - Peter Drucker
We are now 15 people, between San Francisco and Ukraine, with some in transit from Bangalore to San Francisco. All team members have joined in the last 9 months, 10 joined in 2019.
When we got together in Istanbul for our offsite in May, TEAM showed up as the top strength in our SWOT analysis. During one of many team lunches, we went around the table to answer why we joined the company. Team members were authentic and open in their sharing. As it goes with founding teams at an early startup, nearly all of us had a person we followed into the company.
We have an image of what that person is like. We know what we admire most about them and what inspires us. We can tell that working with them would make us better personally and professionally. We are aware why they improve our odds of success, happiness, growth, or whatever it is we seek. We can usually share this openly with those we trust.
That leads us to the question. What are we like together? How would we describe ourselves to those who are or want to be part of HyperTrack as team members, partners, users, customers or investors?
We called it CULTURE.
Three hours and three hundred sticky notes later, this is what we came up with.
Make customers happy
We do what we do to make our customers happy
We believe that our customers are happy when they deliver value to their users. HyperTrack helps them build applications they have imagined for their users. We treat customers the way we would like to be treated in the same situation. We build what customers want and might not know yet. We treat internal teams consuming mutual services as customers. Making internal customers happy will make external customers happy.
The quality-speed flywheel
We believe that quality begets speed and speed begets quality
Quality and speed are foundational to HyperTrack’s business. We deliver a product that just works and quality that we are proud of. Speed lets us validate what we have built and understand what customers want. There is a way to move fast and not break things. We believe that autonomous decisions and personal responsibility are the ingredients to strike this balance. We own up to our mistakes, never allowing them to stop us.
Radically open communication
We value trust with our team, community, and customers
More transparency makes us better at what we do. Within the team, we are as open as mutual owners of the company would be. Within the community, we are as open as support groups dealing with similar problems would be. With customers, we are as open as colleagues working on the same project would be. Our product stands for openness between our customers’ team and users.
Proactive and respectful
We celebrate differences that help, resolve differences that hurt
We celebrate the cultural diversity within the team, community, and customers, and embrace our differences in perspective. When differences stall our progress, each of us has an obligation to engage in resolution with humility and respect. Diversity makes us better individually and collectively.
Half of what you see above was pure resonance. It was a natural flow. We finished each other's sentences. Each new sticky around the same theme made the overall articulation better.
The other half came out of friction. There were two types of friction.
- Two different themes, both agreeable, yet we must pick one or none. Examples would be imagination and patience. Both are important and non-conflicting. They are a top theme for one of us and we have lived our lives by it. Yet, none of these eventually made it as our culture. This does not deny that individual theme we bring to the team, yet does not represent who we are as a team.
- Two conflicting themes, both controversial, and the conflict needs to be resolved. Picking either one would misrepresent us, picking both would be a cop out. This conversation brought to fore the most frequent friction points that stall us as a team. We dug deeper, often using culture themes we had already agreed on, and resolved them. It was a powerful and effective conversation.
The outcome was beautiful, authentic, relatable and representative.
Individually, we speak languages from: English, Mandarin, Hindi, Russian, German, Ukrainian, Turkish, Gujarati and Marathi
Individually, we work on areas from: mobile, platform, data, devops, web, design, product, devrel and content.
Collectively, we share one common set of cultural values.
- Make customers happy
- The quality-speed flywheel
- Radically open communication
- Proactive and respectful
Write to us and share what you related to the most, what you found yourself disagreeing with the most, and what cultural values do you believe in the most.