How To Build A Great Company
Every company dreams of being the next Google or the next Facebook. What is it that has made companies like Google, Facebook or Amazon so successful and are still poised for an even greater success. What is the secret ? This is my take at trying to understand what is that makes some companies grow to the next level while others fail. Each company has it’s own story.
In my mind it all boils down to how you treat people and support them at every stage. By people I don’t just mean employees, it includes all stakeholders. At Amazon, customers are treated at highest priority. As Jeff Bezos says — “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Laying down the company vision and communicating it to all the employees clearly is of utmost importance. While we focus on the customers it is equally important to make sure the employees are treated well. At the end of the day employees need to feel motivated and rewarded to provide the kind of customer service Amazon provides. Being in the retail business it makes sense for Amazon to place the customer at the highest level followed by it’s employees.
In contrast Virgin records and Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson has achieved great success by putting employees first. Richard Branson has a very personal approach to his management style. He even goes to a point where he walks around the office to each cabin to collect employee feedback. Branson has a simple formula. Happy employees equal happy customers. One unhappy employee can ruin the entire brand of the company by providing inferior customer service or by spreading negative image of the company on social media. One can clearly see the company culture of Virgin airlines when one travels on Virgin Atlantic airlines. The level of customer service and the friendly nature of the staff is clearly evident. Not sure how many of you have traveled British Airlines, but I guess you get the point. How did Branson manage to enter a market already filled with so many carriers ? Branson was fed up with so many airlines that didn’t care about its passengers and he wanted to change this. In an interesting story James Clear tells how Branson started Virgin Airlines. Richard Branson is great example of how being employee centric can help build a great company.
How did Google become a $700B+ behemoth and is now working on every possible technology available on the earth. You name a technology and very high chances Google is involved in it. From Self Driving cars to Balloons providing internet connectivity. Google has it’s presence everywhere. How did Google get to this point. It is all in the work culture which is deeply rooted in the Google management style. Google focuses heavily on making sure it’s employees are happy and get all the resources they need to be productive. A visit to Googleplex in Mountain View will show you what google culture is like. It looks more like a place to hangout rather than a workplace. This is what enables some of the bright minds to get the best out of their creativity.
Google workplace above
Google provides it’s employees a wide range of perks like Free breakfasts, lunches, dinners, Free haircuts etc. This culture has worked really well for google and not necessarily will work for all companies. This worked for google because the the founders envisioned a work environment for their employees which helped them create Google in first place. The same would not have worked for Jeff Bezos as he come from a different background and had his own unique vision.
The point here is to be as Genuine as possible as a founder and then propagate the vision and culture clearly into the companies DNA. Being Honest about why the company exists in first place and clearly communicating this to the employees is very important. Giving the employees the company vision and then providing them with the tools and resources to achieve the company goals can make a huge impact on the companies success. Letting employees make mistakes and letting them learn from the mistakes is equally important in building a self driven workforce. Employees will dare to make mistakes only if there are no consequences of doing so. Allowing employees to make mistakes should be built into the company process. If an employee feels that if he/she makes a mistake and he/she will loose his/her job then the employee will never try anything new. Empowering employees is the key to building a successful scalable company.
At the end of the day it is very important to build genuine relationships with people whether they are your Employees, Customers, Business partners, Investors or Suppliers. People will remember you much longer if you treat them nicely, give a pat on the back or make a point to wish them on their birthday. People are the real strength of any successful company.