An excerpt from Cultural Brilliance Radio: The DNA of Organizational Excellence- how to Avoid Chaos, Save your Company, and Improve your Culture with Guest Vito Chesky

With Vito’s perspective on culture, he show us how to easily understand how we can create brilliant organizations and what holds us back from doing that.  Vito is the founder of Icon Staff which is a Boston-based executive recruiting firm that specializes in the technology markets, not only in Boston, but around the country and around the globe.  Since 1997, Vito has worked with startups of five people all the way up to large, really well established companies. Vito explains the importance of communication and how learning from mistakes is a must for any culture to thrive.

The following is a conversation between Claudette and Vito:

Claudette: In terms of communication, what are the top two or three mistakes that you see that cause companies to be less successful than they could be?

Vito:  Whether you’re running the company or working for the company, companies tend to focus on their external communications.  There is a tremendous amount of effort and energy spent on building a message of clarity, purpose and that really involves all the goals of the organization.  Companies do not spend a proportionality equal time—which I feel is extremely important—on the internal communication aspects of what goes on in a company.  And this ultimately leads to a need for a system of accountability within an organization.  And I find that that is often time missing from just about every startup that’s being founded by a first-time founder.

Claudette: It sounds like most companies learn from their early mistakes in thinking that communication can be more informal.

Vito: Learning from those early mistakes is really the core of what I’m trying to get across.  So, in just relating it back to who we represent or who we choose to represent in terms of the companies we build, always looking to ensure that the lessons have been learned and that those lessons can be expressed in a positive and clear manner to the organization.

In fact, we judge startups based on three different aspects.  We don’t have a crystal ball and those three aspects are who’s running the company.  So, we look for a history of having been at a startup or having run a startup, whether lose or fail.

The second part is the funding.  Of course, funding has to be appropriate and this is a different topic and a different discussion but funding has to be right.

And finally, the product, it can’t necessarily be a product that’s chasing some unforeseen marketplace.  It has to resonate with the marketplace and it has to be something that provides value to the masses.

But that first one is inescapable.  You’ve either been there or you haven’t and there are two kinds: those that will run into culture clashes and those that already have.


To listen to the full interview, click here