The book Delivering Happiness, written by the late Tony Hsieh, gives fascinating insights into how he built Zappos, the company he led as CEO, that was bought for $1.2 billion by Amazon in 2009.
Zappos’ focus on culture was so strong they invented something they called a culture book.
Tony emailed everyone in the team to ask for 100-150 words in answer to one question, “What does Zappos culture mean to you?”
He received responses from every team member and the culture book was printed and distributed each year.
The Zappos team pledged to publish whatever was submitted. The only edits made were for typos. They felt it important that they didn’t hide behind editing or omission and this practice held them accountable to making the Zappos culture a great one.
A company’s culture isn’t defined by its CEO. It’s made up from the impression of everyone within it. It’s a group perception, not an individual order. A culture book is just one way to capture the sentiments.