Business Culture | Clash Prevention For Foreign Startups Marketing To the US

There is a brutally draining fight between a team’s cultural idiosyncrasies, their desire to create a company culture catered to a foreign market (mainly U.S.) and the need to position the product correctly for growth and success.

For U.S. native companies, getting down to drafting and following the guidelines of a well-thought out and complete company culture package is already a huge challenge, even though they don’t have the disadvantage of a different country, culture or idiosyncrasy. Now, imagine how fierce the fight becomes when we have that scenario with a team in the Middle-East, Europe or LATAM, trying to drive customer and product value as well as generating good relationships to help them establish long-term company success.

Let’s dig in and explore some of the signs of bad values and what to do about them.

  • Signs of a Bad Company Culture and Values
  • Real Example Situations — Do you feel identified?
  • Quick steps to fix the problem and create the company culture that will fuel your success based on easy-to-follow, company values

For a newly-formed company, its culture needs to be the guidance and day-to-day driver, to help attain the overall company goals. A mission statement is not just a “nice thing to say”, and a cold revenue projection sheet does not represent your values; also, it’s not enough to look cool with a well-crafted employee onboarding package. Your company culture and values should be what you do, and how you do it. It should be at the center of your messaging, and your demeanor for the benefit of — and within the company. It should be the core of the relationships between team members, your product flow in terms of UI/UX, and the guidance for your customer relationships, partnerships and company outlook for the next 3, 5–10 years.

Signs of a Bad Company Culture and Values

  • Lack of Fairness or Respect from Management
  • Misalignment of Values Leading to Lack of Moral Leadership
  • Diminished Morale within the Team
  • Lack of Transparency and Open Discussions which Always Leads to Unethical Behavior
  • Management Focuses on Team Failure Rather Than its Success
  • Difficulty or Lack of Growth
  • There is Gossiping in the Ranks
  • Your Leadership Team Has Bad Habits Inherited from Past Bitterness
  • The Organization Doesn’t Perform as Well as it Should or Could

A Common Scenario — Do You Feel Identified?

Company values are as important to the success of the company as it is the product itself. However, we need to balance the values expected by our intended market with those inherited by the cultural idiosyncrasies of the place where the startup is located.

Without the proper guidance and total awareness, it would be impossible to create a company culture according to German values if the founding team is from and located in Venezuela — simple, correct?

This is crucial because the subtle details of regional cultures (expectations, sense of service, etc.) can and will be transmitted emotionally and as part of the client experience during partnership development, onboarding, support and product enhancements.

A very common example and one I know firsthand would be an Israeli startup with a very smart founding team, great product idea, and decent initial funding; developing a startup aimed at serving a global audience, with emphasis on the North American market.

However, none of the team members lived and worked in the U.S. during the years where one’s character would be heavily exposed to and influenced by cultural nuances (15–30). And, the Middle Eastern culture and regional nuances are very different from those, let’s say in Denver; therefore, it becomes virtually impossible for that team to create and operate, without the proper guidance and coaching, based on a set of company values catered to in the U.S. market.

What Can Be Done to Avoid the Bottom of the Bad Culture Pit?

It is a tough one that’s for sure! But it needs to be addressed and achieved as soon as possible, especially by startups from Europe, LATAM, and the Middle East.

We are creatures of habit! These habits are created by repetition throughout our lives, and they become part of our DNA and our marrow. However, a strategic and well thought out set of values and goals is the base and the deciding factor for easy scalability during growth as well as, a frictionless and efficient execution during times of product pivot or intensive product positioning.

You can choose to anchor on “One Single Value” and model your company’s everyday activities around it. With just this one value, you can realize sustainable growth and team retention, as well as, internal respect and total dedication to the company goals.

To better understand the “One Single Value” concept, please read Paul O’Neill’s Strides at Alcoa, the aluminum manufacturing giant. Read the Story from Business Insider

Creating a Strong Company Culture to Fuel Your Start-Up’s Success

Excellent company values should be established to empower that complete sense of ownership your team members should already come into the company with.

You should have hired them based on their ability to completely own their successes as well as their failures.

Unfortunately, some companies and CEOs/COOs/Managers, understand that all the great efforts, achievements and contributions by an employee come from their understanding of “that’s what they need to do”. On the other hand, they only concentrate on little things believing the need for change or improvement, instead of helping the team member own and manage their failures as well as accomplishments; which is one of the most apparent signs of a completely toxic set of values or lack thereof.

We need to remember that products are created every single day. Nevertheless, great companies are 1 in 20 thousand, so maybe it’s time for us to start working on the real challenges companies face and the ones that constrict growth, like:

  1. Culture
  2. Company Values
  3. Hiring A1 Team Members
  4. Resources Retention
  5. Healthy and Steady Growth

Great Culture Implementation Starts at the Hiring Process.

It can be very naïve to think you can hire an experienced professional in order to change his character and turn him into someone he doesn’t know and never agreed to. What am I trying to say?

Well, you are already aware of their capabilities from their resume, as well as their LinkedIn account. So, most of that precious time you’ll spend with them at the first interview will be to find out if there is a culture fit. Once you’ve established that, you can move onto professional abilities, tests, and sample scenarios.

If you feel your startup needs and can benefit from a reevaluation of its values and to gain a better grip on the day-to-day management activities, better talent acquisition and retention, growth alignment, and a focused company path, then you’re probably on to something. I suggest you take the necessary steps to “nip it” ASAP, because the longer you wait, the harder it’ll be to shift; the bigger your initial team gets, and without the proper values set in place, the more toxicity gets created.

I want to finish my “Value Oriented Start-Up Guide,” so connect with me, and I’ll send it to you as soon as finished!

Give it a Like and Share!

I would love to hear about your value-based achievements so far or your current concerns with your company, just connect with me on LinkedIn, post below or send me a PM; also, if you understand this piece or my upcoming guide can help some of the people you know, please like and share; it’ll be cool!

Be grateful and remember to have fun every single day…
..life’s too short not to!