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The Importance of A Clear Company Culture

Matthew Barnes

Engineering Lead at iflix

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Problem

Overtime, Drawboard has evolved as a company. However, because we didn't take our culture seriously from the start, as we thought a lot of it was just fluff, this has led to a number of problems. The lack of mission statements, vision statements and value statements for our team has been really problematic, as it feeds into the growth of our company and hiring. When you don't have a mission or vision statement, you can't communicate your vision to people who are being recruited into the company, and you can't gauge how aligned with your vision they are or whether they're likely to succeed.

Actions taken

Six months ago, we introduced mission statements and vision statements to our company, and it's completely changed our interview process. The very first thing I do in the interview process is to get on the phone with the candidate for ten minutes to explain the journey our company has been on, the problem we're solving, and the mission and vision statements of the organization. I then invite questions around this, and we have a five-minute discussion. From this, I can gauge their level of interest in what we're doing. With this, in the past, we ended up bringing in people who didn't care about the problem we were solving, which is fundamental to our business' success. They were just there to do a job and then go home. To me, this was a waste of their time. You can be a great technical person, but you should be aligned with what the organization is wanting to do. By having our mission and vision statements upfront, we found that the people we were hiring were a lot more energetic and passionate about the problem we were solving, and they, therefore, naturally went out and spread the word about us. The environment in the company also became much more passionate. We're also now coming up with values, and the entire team is working on them. They're short, sharp, actionable things such as "Treat others as you want to be treated", "Disagree and commit", and "Respect people's time". What these allow you to do is when you're having problems, you can take the values, look at the negative behaviors that are happening in your team, and you can then point out how someone isn't aligned to those values. You can also use the values when interviewing - don't tell candidates what your values are, instead ask questions around the values to determine whether a candidate will be a good fit.

Lessons learned

Without mission statements, vision statements and value statements, your job will be a lot harder. You're much more likely to hire people who aren't a good fit, your team will be misaligned, and you'll waste a lot of time, as they're fundamental to the health of your organization.


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Matthew Barnes

Engineering Lead at iflix


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