This being my 4th startup, I have quickly learned that company culture is one of the most important ingredients for success. I work hard on a daily basis to ensure that we adhere to our fun and energetic culture at Alice.
One example of driving this culture at the office is by assigning every employee an animal. I have this strong belief that everyone’s behavior, temperament, personality and work habits match those of some animal in this world. I feel this becomes very apparent after working with someone for about a week. Once I have had time to observe the employee in the work environment, I get together with the animal naming committee to finalize the choice and setup the unveiling ceremony. In this graphic, you can see the entire Alice team by title and animal of who we have hired so far.
A few rules, you can’t create your own animal. If we did that, I would choose a lion or some sort of majestic bald eagle but I have been given a toucan as my animal (not be be confused with the Fruit Loop cereal mascot) Toucan’s are very unique and you know when one is in the room. They have very loud vocalizations and can be heard at long distances. They are also extremely feisty, smart, friendly and playful. This describes me to a tee (not so sure about the “smart” quality)
Reading this you probably think that you wouldn’t want or care about your animal but I have had on many occasions new employees putting pressure on me after a week to reveal their animal. They didn’t feel a complete part of our Animal kingdom (I mean team) until they knew what their animal is going to be
The staff then uses these animals on name tags, door signs, Yammer icons etc….In many cases the employee will decorate their work area with pictures of their animal. We have a ton of fun with it.
I have worked with all kinds of animals over the past 3-4 years at Jellyfish and Alice. We’ve had house cats, kangaroo’s, armadillos, gorillas, beavers….. and the list goes on and on. If you have received an animal name from me in the past and are reading this post feel free to introduce yourself and your animal name in the comments
There is a ton written on company culture including the Zappos story and a VC’s perspective. This is just one small example of how much fun we have working at Alice which sets the tone for the overall company culture. I feel that one of the CEO’s jobs is not only to take a lead in driving the vision but often over looked is to cultivate an overall culture that will ultimately lead to the company’s success.
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