When I started Phuse
, my life was tailspinning. Within the span of a couple months, I lost the place I lived, quit my job, and became a full-time single dad. In those early days, decisions were made with the thought of survival
I started my small agency with the intention that it had to fit into my life. I knew what I needed to make, I lived far from where most of the tech community was gathered in Toronto, and I didn’t have the luxury of daycare. In the early days, most client meetings happened in the hours my son was down for a nap, and most work was done in the evenings when he was asleep. It forced me to be in all-out work mode when I could, but gave me the flexibility to adjust as I needed to. In every way, Phuse was a reflection of me.
Similarly, culture is representative of the people within it. It’s created early, and while it can change over time, it tends to be constant. This might seem common knowledge, but it’s quickly forgotten when you’re in it as we often chalk up cultural problems as operational ones that process can fix. While in many cases process can overcome cultural hurdles, understanding the personal barriers affecting issues is critical.
Our people are a subject of their environment. Tools won’t work if people don’t use them. Process won’t be followed if people don’t appreciate their value. Early on, your team is what it is because of your habits and lifestyle. If you’re always in the trenches fighting with them, they’ll be right alongside you: but the opposite is also true. As leaders, we have to be conscious of the behaviors we model.
I believe companies lose their way when they try to be something they aren’t. If you’re wondering what you are, just look around.
PS: If you enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d really appreciate your support sharing it. Whether it’s a forward, a Twitter post, or sending this email to 10 friends before you pee your pants, it would mean the world to me.