Bold leadership – How do founders shape company culture?

Every founder dreams of leading their startup to tremendous success. While factors like securing funding and developing a solid business strategy are crucial, establishing a winning company culture may be a founder’s most enduring achievement. Defining a strong organizational culture is more than a nice-to-have it directly impacts performance, employee satisfaction, and a company’s overall trajectory. As Jack Levy, founder and CEO of commercial real estate firm VEQ, shares, As a founder, the culture you cultivate will determine if your company sinks or swims. From day one you’re embedding assumptions, attitudes, and priorities that your team will live by for years to come.

Defining company cultureĀ 

Company culture encompasses the collective behaviors, beliefs, principles, and general work environment that shape an organization. It’s “the way we do things here,” for better or worse. While often casual and unwritten, a company’s culture frames everything from internal policy decisions to how leadership treats individual team members. According to jack levy veq, culture stems directly from those at the top. Your explicit and implicit actions constantly communicate what’s acceptable and unacceptable behavior within your startup. Set the right tone from the get-go. For many entrepreneurs building their dream company, minimizing corporate bureaucracy and hierarchy is a top priority.

Why does company culture matter to founders?

The perks of cultivating a “good” corporate culture are manifold. From both employee engagement and customer retention standpoints, culture establishes loyalty and community within a company. If done correctly, everyone knows they play an indispensable role in shared success. Research overwhelmingly suggests that a strong company culture reduces turnover. As consulting firm Intentionalist puts it, “Workers that believe in leadership and the direction of the company will stick around.” Saving resources otherwise spent perpetually recruiting and onboarding gives startups a vital competitive edge. High employee retention also protects the tacit knowledge built over years of service.

For founders interested in ultimately selling or going public down the road, defining an equitable, inclusive culture also makes your startup far more attractive to buyers and investors. No one wants to acquire major HR headaches or PR crises around discrimination, harassment issues, and the like. Getting culture right from day one mitigates very serious risks.

Steps founders must take to shape culture

Crafting an organization with a shared purpose, satisfaction, and profitability for all stakeholders starts with proactive steps from founders. While often hectic, making culture an ongoing priority will prevent much larger headaches for founders and employees alike. Ideally, all startups incorporate some sense of organizational purpose beyond making money. Founders should get clear on their own “why” for launching as well as short and long-term goals. Recruiting team members solely chasing big checks will undermine startup culture quickly. Workers wanting to make a genuine impact often accept more risk. They prove more loyal when challenges emerge too.

Lead by clear and consistent example

Founders sow culture daily through their conduct. Being frequently distracted, delegating all unpleasant administrative tasks, or slacking on deadlines signals those behaviors as acceptable within an organization. Exuding panicked urgency or fits of anger in response to inevitable hiccups or disappointments teaches employees that startup journeys must be anxiety-ridden. Optimistic persistence in pursuing company goals while still taking an interest in team members’ lives and career aspirations motivates me through even difficult chapters. Workers observe founders’ habits closely embody the energy and outlook you aim to perpetuate. Consider leading by example by taking weekend getaways yourself, building out spaces like lounges designed for informal socializing, and transferring unlimited PTO policies from tech giants. Get it right from the beginning and watch added dividends pay over time.