House rules are how we grow without losing the culture that got us to where we are.

As your company grows, one of the first things that gets lost is the culture you established when you were a few people in a single room. When I refer to culture, I mean more than foosball tables, fridges full of happy hour beverages and free snacks. I am referring to a shared set of work values that makes coming to the “studio” (what I call the office) enjoyable and productive. This culture is what keeps the office positive and what contributes to long-term employees.

As you bring on new executives and employees and the company expands, this culture can easily become diluted. I experienced this firsthand as my previous company expanded across several national and international offices. The binding culture slowly dissipated with the growth. We did not have a shared code of conduct and values to assist with hiring decisions or to be continually practiced and reviewed. Although the ultimate business results were successful, the means to the end were not always palatable. I brought some very specific thinking into my new venture. Chiefly, the importance of creating and socializing “House Rules.”

Hanging proudly on the front of my office door and displayed prominently throughout the office, you can find our House Rules. This is a working list of shared values and behaviors, originally created when we first opened our doors. With this list, we aim to stay true to the culture and standards that we started with. We don’t want these values to get lost as we expand.

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