Creating company culture starts day one
Many founders are brilliant product people and will tell you that managing a company and creating culture is the biggest thing that they struggle with. Creating company culture starts when you go from one person to two, aka day one. On the other side, the importance of working in companies where you fit into the culture is just as important. You could go see ten companies in one building on one day and feel the different vibe the second you walk in the door.
Katherine Zaleski wrote an editorial that was published in the NYTimes on Sunday about gender-blind job interviews. She writes about the new gender-masking tools that are being built by start-ups. I have been pitched by a few of them and although I appreciate what they are trying to do, I don’t believe that software is the fix to gender-diverse companies. It might help women get through the first couple of interviews easier but building an inclusive company is not a software fix.
Building a gender-balanced company is about creating a culture that women and men feel comfortable in, where respect and collaboration is a priority, where respecting parents to make their children their number one priority is embraced, where each team works hard to make sure that there are just as many women at the table as men, where the C-suite also has as many women as men and where a myriad of faces is an important consideration.
All of these factors are as equally important as the product that the company is built on. It is about creating an inclusive environment and by making this a priority from day one. The data has shown that companies with strong diversity are more successful. It is hard work to build a company that has a product-market fit and it is just another step of hard work to create diverse gender-balanced companies. The rewards will pay off and in time it will become easier to do so because the environments are built for everyone and anyone. This is not one of those fixes that can happen with software, it is about building a culture with eyes wide open.