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Be Part of the Conscious Culture Movement – You and Your Company Can Do It Too

Jun 2, 2021 | Business

“Fake it ’til you make it.” It’s one of the dictums of early stage startups. But while some things can be faked, one crucial thing cannot: company culture.

Culture is a company’s glue, and while it’s often invisible, it’s powerfully felt. Which is why companies should approach culture with the same focus and rigor with which they think about their brand, their bottom line, or other elements of their business.

Culture is an afterthought for many startups. It’s treated as something we’ll get to later, or just another item on a lengthy to-do list. “Culture” almost feels like a luxury good, something you indulge only once you’ve achieved Google or Netflix-level scale and resources.

An inattention to culture carries a high cost; the less you focus on culture, the more difficult it can be to succeed. A bad culture can corrode a business from within. You will lose employees to frustration or burnout and you may earn a negative reputation for hiring, business practices, or basic decorum. Even at the earliest stages, startups should take culture seriously and devote ample time and attention to it—not as a side dish, but as its main course!

That’s what we’ve done at Bolt. We’re not at Google-level scale (yet!), but we are proud of how we’ve managed to create a balanced and kind work environment that also delivers significant impact!

Our success is deeply tied to our culture. From the beginning, we knew we had to infuse life into our work, and we set out to create an environment that bridges humanity with execution. That was our foundation—and we like to think we’ve shown that culture can make a real and palpable difference in the lives of our employees.

To build that culture, we pinpointed the skills, behaviors, and operating values we needed to succeed. For us, that meant focusing on execution and impact; giving our team the freedom to take risks; encouraging our team to “think like founders”; and valuing decisions made on the basis of data and logic.

To make that culture more than ad-hoc or we’ll-do-it-if-we’re-in-the-mood, we documented our processes, best practices, and philosophies into guides, which we call playbooks. Our playbooks provide clarity, consistency, and connection to the team. The sum total of that effort—our culture playbook—is a document that makes our culture distinct and more than the sum of its parts.

Bolt’s Conscious Culture Playbook goes beyond describing what our culture is: it describes exactly how we have implemented our culture. The way we apply this is focused on our business goals—but the principles and techniques are applicable to any business, regardless of size or sector.

We believe in Conscious Culture so much that we want to share it with the world! We launched in the hope that other companies and entrepreneurs can borrow our operating values to inform their own company cultures.

From here, will be home to updates on our culture, first-person employee stories, informational resources, data, and guest submissions from thought leaders outside of Bolt.

Next Tuesday, I’ll be holding a Clubhouse Chat in Startup.Club to discuss Conscious Culture and answer any questions you might have. I’d love for you to join the conversation!

And lest we forget: We owe huge credit to a number of sources who influenced our culture. We’ve drawn inspiration from, among others, Matt Mochary and the Conscious Leadership Group. We’ve built upon their work and adapted it as our own, but their imprint is unmistakable.

As a founder, I couldn’t be prouder of the conscious culture we’ve created at Bolt, and this summer I’ll be sharing more about our culture and approaches in a series of posts. Until then, take a look at our Conscious Culture Playbook and let us know what you think!

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