This was originally published to Hatch, our internal version of Medium for staff only, on Sept. 25, 2014 as I was thinking about how we might retain our culture as we grow the company. See Hatching Inside Medium for context on this collection.
Fostering a healthy culture, one conversation at a time
Until I moved to Texas, I had the privilege of interviewing almost everybody we ever hired at Obvious and Medium. I usually had 30 minutes to decide if I thought the candidate would be a good fit, culturally. I usually started out by saying, “So, tell me your story!”
That open ended request usually resulted in a 10–15 minute story revealing many little details that have helped shaped the person I was interviewing. I’m thankful that I got to know many of you in this way. I feel very connected to so many people here, and it’s mostly because I asked to hear their story.
Enough about my experience, let’s look at cold hard data.
I believe that one of most important factors to having a healthy culture at work is how connected the nodes in our network, the people, are. Increasing relatedness will decrease anxiety, decrease skepticisms, and increase trust. Also, it’s more fun to know the people you are sharing this chapter of your life with!
So, back to science. The most efficient way to increase relatedness is to maximize the 0 to 1 interaction. Best ROI, hands down.
You can’t deny science. You can try… actually, you can’t, it’s science.
I’m convinced, based on my management experience, that increasing relatedness in our office will make people more happy and more productive, which will pay dividends for our culture and our product!
It’s not always easy to go and meet someone for the first time, but I want to challenge all of us, myself included, to sit with someone at lunch that you don’t know, or grab a coffee with someone, and ask… “What’s your story?”