Being Intentional About Culture

- Worker Happiness

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by Management 3.0

Learning from the downs is just as important as gaining from the ups. A while back we had a fabulous podcast, two in fact, about the culture within Zappos. We had none other than Jon Wolske, a former employee as well as Christa Foley, Head of Insights.

Both talked about what makes Zappos so unique in its culture, how to hire for culture fit and the challenges of keeping that culture when a company grows.

For Christa Foley, the key to creating happiness at work was authenticity. For Jon it was about being intentional about culture.

So what is it that makes Zappos so unique?

For starters, it’s one of the largest online retailers in the world, but its success is rooted in its value-based culture. The company places a lot of emphasis on culture stories to foster a positive work atmosphere.

As Jon put it in a separate interview, Zappos’ values stood out to him, it was a company that was driven by culture. Zappos believed that the culture and brand were the same, it’s who you are, and it should guide and inform how you do what you do and answer the question why are you doing what you’re doing, he said. He was so passionate about it that it led to a new role: A Zappos tour guide. The idea was to give people an idea for how they’d feel on the premises.


One of the challenges Jon encountered was keeping the culture while also growing as a company.

The problem with growth is that companies risk going into a typical organizational structure where decisions are made at the top and people doing the work would have little say.

Jon Wolske

At Management 3.0 we work in a flat structure without a hierarchy. While we’re not even comparable in size to we sometimes wonder if everyone in charge means no one in charge. We try and combat this by playing Delegation Poker to understand who can do what and with what authority.

How has growth impacted culture in your company?

Share your insights with us on the comments below or contact us and write your own blog about an experience you had.

Photo Credit Austin Distel via Unsplash

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