Company culture quotes
Most managers talk about culture, very few manage it. Virtually all of these quotes are taken out of Ben Horowitz’ “What you do is who you are”, which is a great source of inspiration for managing and thinking about corporate culture, so this post will seem more like a book summary than a collection of quotes. I’ll add more quotes from other sources over time.
Remember that ethics are about hard choices. — Ben Horowitz
He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man. — Samuel Johnson
Making decisions and communicating as if we weren’t dealing with other people’s lives is the easy, wrong way to do things.
The most robust, sustainable cultures are those based in actions, not words — Ben Horowitz
A value is merely a belief, but a virtue is a belief that you actively pursue or embody. — Ben Horowitz
Make decisions that demonstrate culture — Ben Horowitz
Company culture is what goes without saying. — Antonio García Martínez
Pick the virtues that will help the company accomplish its mission — Ben Horowitz
If you see something below standard and do nothing, then you’ve set a new standard — Ben Horowitz
If you don’t methodically set your culture, then two thirds of it will end up being accidental, and the rest will be a mistake. — Ben Horotiwz
Culture is the set of assumptions your team uses to resolve the problems they face every day. — Ben Horowitz
Culture can feel abstract and secondary when you pit it against a concrete result that’s right in front of you. Culture is a strategic investment in the company doing things the right way when you are not looking. — Ben Horowitz
If somebody behaves in a way you can’t believe, remember that your culture somehow made that acceptable — Ben Horowitz
If I work hard and my neighbour does nothing and we both have the same impact at the company, then her behaviour is the way to go — Ben Horowitz
Structure eats culture for lunch — Safi Bahcall
On his book, Loonshots (I wrote a summary post on it last year), Safi Bahcall takes a contrarian view on how everyone views culture. According to him, setting up a proper structure within a team that balances what he calls artists and warriors eats culture for lunch. I find this argument to be very aligned with all the other quotes in this post. Culture is about action, it’s remembered in very specific events, in very specific words everyone says. Otherwise it fees artificial.