How a Sports-inspired Approach Can Build a Strong Company Culture
Just like the members of a sports team are passionate about their game, each member of a startup should be passionate about her work
A lot can happen in six years! When we started out back in 2015 with five members in a small apartment building in Bangalore, we never imagined we’d come this far in such a short time.
From working hard to win our first client to expanding business in different continents, transforming our product into a global logistics SaaS, hosting our first international off-site, and navigating through a pandemic, we’ve seen a lot, learned a lot, and come a long way.
In my opinion, the culture of a company speaks volumes about its people, its foundation and its defining values. Especially when starting out, it is a hard task to find the right set of minds to build a tech-centered company. You not only need talented folks but also those people need to have the right culture.
We knew exactly the kind of culture we wanted to develop at Locus: one where everyone is passionate, everyone plays to their strengths, and everyone is an owner and a team player at the same time. Companies that are tech-focused and are seeking to build a solid culture can certainly get inspired by sports and inculcate values that can go a long way in defining their brands.
Just like the members of a sports team are passionate about their game, each member of our team is passionate about her work. It is one of the core virtues we seek when hiring. Some of the best minds in engineering and data science (PhDs, no less) work with us and they work on challenging tasks and create magic.
Healthy workplaces encourage team members to voice what they are passionate about and switch to or create new roles, if required. Team members feel far more motivated and stay inspired when they are given the flexibility to explore other roles with other teams. For example, we have people who first worked in customer-facing roles and then moved to growth and revenue generation teams.
Talent Wins Games, But Teamwork Wins Championships
Teamwork is of vital importance to winning on the playing field and in a business. I remember our early days with grueling, overnight on-ground pilots that not only required us to prepare and implement our solution, but also manage multiple stakeholders for a great customer experience.
In these crucial times, members from different organizations came together to ensure customer success. This 'partnership' approach led to a lot of smooth pilots, and great on-ground feedback. People in the organization have always recognized and embraced winning together as the North Star, and this is one of our greatest successes.
Ownership And Accountability Make a Strong Team
Take any world-class sports team, you’ll immediately notice that each team member has a certain responsibility and is expected to deliver their best for the team to ultimately succeed. They are given full support, without any restrictions. We believe in doing the same. All our folks take ownership of their work and are consciously accountable for their actions.
Moreover, I would encourage a liberal work environment with flexible work hours and leave policies, self-approved finance bills, etc., so that their team members feel valued, trusted and can deliver their best at work.
Communication Is the Glue That Holds a Team Together
The importance of clear and transparent communication cannot be overlooked, whether in handling a sports team or managing a corporate team. Especially when working remotely, and navigating through the COVID-19 crisis, we have emphasized communication like never before.
Regular work huddles, one-on-one meetings, wellness sessions, and fun banters have helped the team work efficiently, build a rapport with people even virtually, and kept us sane during these tough times.
Celebrate the Wins and Learn From Mistakes
Sports is all about constantly learning, hustling, practicing, and becoming better. Our team members have just one objective in mind: How do we win? All of us are aligned with the org goals and every person's contribution is important for us to win in the long run. While we celebrate our big and small wins, we also own and learn from our mistakes.
Sometimes, we stumble on the way, but there's no giving up. When one thing doesn't work, we huddle and analyze, try a different perspective, sometimes devise entirely new solutions: but we always try again.
Whether it’s about leading a sports team or growing a business, culture plays a crucial role in shaping up a team's attitudes and beliefs. Our core values of innovation, pride, commitment, integrity and ambition have been our guiding light in building our sports-inspired culture.
Remember, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime,” as said by Babe Ruth, American professional baseball legend.
Nishith holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and a Master's in Economics from BITS Pilani. He is a published author in the field of experimental physics and has patents in Machine Learning. Nishith was profiled by Forbes Asia in their ’30 Under 30’ 2018 list & was awarded the 2016 TIE Lumis Entrepreneurial Excellence award for Locus.
Nishith is passionate about photography.