I read somewhere recently that the best company culture is still a work in progress. What I’ve come to believe is that company culture, on a fundamental level, is simply about relationships. The relationships that employees have to their jobs and to the mission of the company. Relationships that exist within the organizational structure, between managers and associates, between members of the leadership team. And of course, the bonds and friendships that exist between coworkers. Without those relationships there is only work from 8:30AM to 6PM, Monday through Friday, 261 days a year (give or a take a few evenings and weekends thrown in).
Like any other relationship then, the relationships which make up company culture require continual investment and maintenance. A good (married) friend of mine once told me that the thing about marriage is that every day you wake up and you choose to be in your marriage. Every day you wake up and you choose the person you married to be your partner and your friend. In the same vein, I believe that growing a great company culture means choosing to be the culture you wish to see, so to speak, every day. Fostering community and happiness, trust and positivity, I believe culture is the key to a successful company.
With the requisite amount of Kombucha and yogurt jokes, of course.
There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind of people who enjoy making cold calls, and the kind of people who don’t.
Having worked as a student caller for my college’s annual fund, I can tell you it takes a very special kind of crazy to enjoy cold calling. While some people find steady defamation and rejection to be motivating, I simply do not. My greatest frustration lay in the fact that if I could get someone on the phone, nine times out of ten I could get them to donate. Unfortunately, the chances of getting anyone to (happily) answer their phone between 5PM and 7PM, prime dinner/relaxation/ family time, were slim to none. Alumni were annoyed, even furious, at being disturbed and I in turn was frustrated beyond belief. Our sales manager could not for the life of her understand why we weren’t able to pump cash out of alumni the way students had in the pre-recession years. It was almost as if people suddenly prefered to donate online, on their own time. Shocking.
After a year I threw in the towel. Making a decent commission every once in a while simply wasn’t worth the hours of frustration, which I felt sedimented into my psyche long after work was over. I knew deep down there had to be a better way.
Fast forward three years.
I’m three weeks into a job with an awesome (super early stage) startup called Sales Beach. We’re automating outbounds sales, which means no more horrible cold calling. The opportunity to build a business from the ground up is fantastic, and more fun than I ever could have anticipated. My team is incredible, and I feel lucky to be working in a four person company that allows me the freedom to figure out which skills I want to strengthen, and which I want to gain. Who knows what the future will hold, but for now I’m enjoying working from the beach.
Ps. check out my writing for the Sales Beach blog here.