Twill makes shipping simple. Ask any Twiller, what makes Twill, ‘Twill’, and this will be their response. But what exactly is it that links us all, near and far, through the invisible thread of twilling a culture together? What is the heart of Twill?
Defining our culture
Let’s rewind to a cold January 2017 in Berlin. Together with some brilliant minds I took on the challenge to define just that, the invisible thread. A most exciting journey for me, a professional first in my career, and a scary one.
We used “simplicity” as our anchor and through a series of iterations we identified our leadership principles. We then followed a similar model and we developed corresponding behaviors and actions. This I would call the mechanics of culture design and believe it or not, it is the easier part of the process.
Looking back through the culture lens
A company culture – or any culture in fact – is a living thing and it evolves with the actions we take every day. If I sit and review 2017 and how we have changed as a company, I think we can say:
I am afraid, however, that this is not the whole picture. We are a company that grew a lot in 2017, and very few of the Twillers today were with us in Berlin. We also know from our Barometer that aspects of our culture are not always clear.
As Twill’s leadership team, we need to continue to stay focused on our culture. Having an office with a living room, bean bags, a ping pong table and a couch (from which I’m writing this blog post) is super nice, but we should not be mistaken that this is what culture is. If culture were an onion, this would be the outer layer. The second layer is our behaviors, and deeper than that are our assumptions and rationale for these behaviors.
I would be completely honest if I said that developing or focusing on those deeper layers is something we couldn’t give enough attention to in 2018.
While we now have a model on how to build a culture, I don’t yet have a perfect answer on how to deal with competing priorities in a fast growing start-up. On the flip side, my interaction with a wide range of our peers this year has shown me how fortunate we are, that despite our speedy journey, we took the time to clearly define who we are and who are the “natural” Twillers out there.
Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection, I learned.
So the answer to my quest is that yes, company cultures can be built in an iterative manner. This is, in fact, the only way to build a culture and stay relevant, in the market for your customers and for your workforce. So looking to 2018 I know we’ll keep on twilling together this invisible fabric that makes the heart of Twill…Twill.
-Ramona Sandu – Head of People