The 50 Best Companies to Work For

I was perusing BusinessInsider’s list of the best companies to work for when I realized the companies in the top two had, in contrast to the rest of the list, built their companies on culture from the bottom up.

These two companies have a very specific culture and thrive on it—it literally drives who they are and a what they do. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, right? But if we haven’t built our company on culture first, culture seems to elude us.

We call ourselves strategists and tacticians and we build on a model of task orientation instead of people orientation. It turns out, we need people, but only as far as they help us get to our goal.

What if we built our company based on how we can help our team and our society around us? After all, isn’t that what we’re doing with our customers? Finding a way to meet a need? Isn’t that what makes us leaders and entrepreneurs?

I submit that the majority of us do not implement culture in our organization. At best we talk about culture in reference to the “other” guy.

How do we inject culture into our company?

  1. Decide what you want it to be! Are you a died-in-the-wool engineering company  who wants everything to be high and tight? Maybe you’re a software company utilizing collaboration. Maybe whatever. Know what you are trying to attack and set out to do it. Let it go where it wants to go after you start it. Give the team room to let it morph naturally.
  2. Enjoy it! Don’t be upset that it’s the way it is unless it’s bad. Enjoy it. Understand it so you can promote it. Reflect on it. Be the chief evangelist for it.
  3. Share priorities & responsibility. Let the team know what your goals are. Spread the responsibility throughout the team. If each has a part, they are a deeper part of the culture.
  4. Be transparent. Be honest without being unkind. Learn to share everything that won’t hurt the company by sharing. Honest Abe said, “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” Ask questions. Be candid.
  5. Communication. Everybody—even you—hates a company that holds everything close to the vest. Communicate culture, responsibility, possibility, mission, love, kindness, understanding. Give your team a way to engage and ask questions and make sure they know how!
  6. Bonding. Have real time together making memories, both personally and at work. Know your people and let them know you!
  7. Ask, don’t tell. Selling isn’t telling, it’s asking. The same for selling one another on an idea. Ask questions. Be curious. Dig deep into each others hearts.
  8. Consensus Build it where you can. If there isn’t consensus, ask and find out why. Don’t just let individuals on the team remain aloof. Find out what they are thinking—they may have the better answer. Or not. But either way, let the right thing win and get as many on board as possible.
  9. Mentor. Coach. Make the time to mentor your team. Teach them how to succeed more than you! Make it a win-win-win for everybody.

Take time to form and build a great culture. Work with your team on what that is and then enjoy the culture and your team.

Now on to the best companies to work for in America.