Staying with the “it’s summer - keep it short” theme, here’s something from Airbnb Co-founder Brian Chesky. It's an excerpt from a letter he wrote to the Airbnb team a few years ago.
Here’s a link to the entire letter if you’re interested. (F-bomb alert: Don't click the link or read below if you're allergic to F-bombs.)
“Culture is a thousand things, a thousand times. It’s living the core values when you hire; when you write an email; when you are working on a project; when you are walking in the hall. We have the power, by living the values, to build the culture. We also have the power, by breaking the values, to fuck up the culture. Each one of us has this opportunity, this burden.
Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous. They can be entrepreneurial. And if we have a company that is entrepreneurial in spirit, we will be able to take our next “(wo)man on the moon” leap. Ever notice how families or tribes don’t require much process? That is because there is such a strong trust and culture that it supersedes any process. In organizations (or even in a society) where culture is weak, you need an abundance of heavy, precise rules and processes.”
It’s my observation that the larger your business gets, the weaker the culture tends to get. And, as predicted by Chesky, rules start multiplying like rabbits. Which further erodes the culture. Which necessitates more rules. Which further erodes the culture...
You get the point.
This is exactly how and why billion dollar behemoths tend to be rules-laden life-sucking sloths.
So yes, your growing business needs rules, but think long and hard before you give life to yet another one. They each carry a cost that’s hard to see and measure in the present - but you’ll eventually feel their collective weight sitting on your chest. As you lay there dreaming of your unlikely exit plan.
Don’t let this happen to your growing business. Double down on your culture!