Haute 100: Reid Hoffman Discusses the Importance of Corporate Culture at New York Times New Work Summit

Reid Hoffman

Co-founder of LinkedIn and Haute 100 lister Reid Hoffman stopped by the New York Times New Work Summit, where he discussed what makes an innovative culture, dissect why some corporate cultures are more successful than others and explain why it all matters.

During a conversation, which was hosted by Jenna Wortham, Hoffman said a number of things. Below is an excerpt from the dialogue.

Wortham: Backstage we were talking about this idea of when culture starts and you were kind of like well if there is four people in the room and you are looking at each other and if it’s just the four of you guys there isn’t necessarily a specific thing that embodies the culture from the jump so does it matter when it starts do you have to have that founding principle or is it something that can coalesce as the company grows and sort of figure out what will make it more successful?

Hoffman: So I think all of the successful scale companies actually in fact do end up with some sort of strong culture. There is a necessary component for doing it. Typically the way it plays out because of the imprint from the founders who go we are this and this is the company and that gets driven through the organization that is typically where most of the Silicon Valley culture gets to a scale. Part of what you are looking at is we are this, we are solving this problem, we are good at this, whether its engineering, product sales, etc….One of the things I learned last year when I started doing blitz scaling work and talking to smart folks like Reid Hastings and other kinds of folks, I think one of the tools that all of these companies should put in their tool chest is to actually do cultural definition. It’s actually one of the things I learned from Jeff Weiner [LinkedIn’s chief officer] when he came on board as kind of a re-founding moment for how to do scale at LinkedIn. Part of the thing is actually being very thoughtful and open and discussing culture where you are setting something.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term scaling, it is when the company grows to more than 150 employees making it impossible for individuals to get to know one another. This in turn isolates teams as more people join the company. If not addressed, it is believed the growth can actual hinder the company’s performance.

Watch the video below for the entire conversation.