1. Have a sense of purpose
The more you believe in the cause, the more chance you will have of success. It’s hard to build a great culture if the end goal is profit. Building a legacy and doing something important; making a dent in the universe — that’s what keeps me excited.
2. Hire for culture
Bringing in great people is the most important thing that you can do. But hiring senior executives can be challenging as they come with experience, which also means they have their own views of how they want things done.
Normally, people arrive and absorb your culture, but some will try to change it. We have made this mistake and it didn’t work out, and the whole experience cost us a lot.
3. Share your wins and losses with everyone on the team
We’ve always tried to include our people in the decisions we’ve made – let them be part of finding the solution. It means they really are committed to the outcome. Be completely transparent. If information doesn’t flow, trust breaks down and your team won’t own the company’s goals.
4. Understand that founders aren’t always the best people to run companies
PrivateProperty’s current CEO started with us as head of product, and then COO, and finally CEO. He grew with the business, and he’s much better at managing operations than I am. It’s ultimately the founder’s job to work on the business, not in it.
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5. Sleep with one eye open
It’s a new world, and even traditional, entrenched businesses need to sleep with one eye open. Understand that your next competitor is coming to disrupt you, and you need to spot them before they arrive at your doorstep.