Submitted by Dave Gray, Founder of XPLANE, May 21, 2018
The first in a series of articles by the people who generously shared their stories with Levine for his book. Great Mondays: How to Design a Company Culture Employees Love will be out this winter from McGraw-Hill Education. Sign up to learn more.
My company, XPLANE, has grown quite rapidly over the years, and as the founder of the company, one of the things I felt was very, very important was to keep the culture and the magic that keeps the place alive, and not feeling like a cubicle factory. We worked for a while on this to define and clarify both the culture that we have as well as the culture we want, including our deepest dreams and aspirations.
We created a visual map (see below) to highlight the characteristics that we want, visualizing them, demonstrating in action what they mean, and showing how they relate to each other. Creating and using the map confirmed my faith that by creating a vision and making it explicit, you can make it come true.
One of the reasons I like the map so much is because it is a representation of the truth we are shooting for, and it’s becoming more true every day.
If you have a picture of an ideal place that you want to be, you’re not necessarily going to be there day one — and we aren’t — but we are constantly moving towards it, and having this map as a compass really keeps us focused. It helps us hire the right people, it helps us support the right things, and rather than people living in a world where they really don’t know what’s expected, they have something they can point to.
The intern with only two days on the job can start a conversation that questions the CEO who has been around since the beginning of the company, and that’s possible because we have a clear picture that we can point to and have a conversation about. I think that’s pretty amazing.