Working at a Car Salon was always my dream job.
Until it wasn't...
Every day on my way back home from university, I’d pass a car salon with dozens of luxurious cars and slow down to look inside with relish.
When I graduated, I rushed to apply to the first salesman position that opened.
I didn’t even get an interview…
But after several years, I applied again and finally got accepted!
I was so excited!
On my first day I arrived at the salon early… loooong before everybody else.
And there it was... the new red Porsche 911!
I saw a microfiber cloth on a desk, picked it up, and started wiping it down.
And I couldn’t hold my passion in. I could tell you everything about that car…
“What are you doing?!”
The stern words woke me up from my trance!
It was the manager, coming out of the back office.
“Cleaning the cars… making them look nice,” I replied tentatively. “The cleaning ladies are late so I decided to clean them myself.”
“Leave it! We don’t do that here...” he threw back, “it’s not our job!”
I didn’t understand at first, but little by little I saw what he meant reflected in everyone else’s behavior.
What my manager told me on my first day, perfectly demonstrated the real culture there.
The company was facing real problems, but nobody really cared…
The lack of ownership ran so deep that you’d struggle hard to make anybody move.
Because in most cases — it was not their job!
My enthusiasm quickly evaporated. And I had to quit my job.
What seemed so appealing and shiny to me from the outside, just went up in smoke.
A saying from Israeli army, says:
“If you see something on the floor and don't pick it up, then you’ve set a new culture.”
While it might be tempting to get caught up in the day-to-day creative process of product development…
… when starting a company, having the right people from the start and building the right culture is the number one most impactful thing you can do.
Without it, whatever brilliant strategies you come up with just won’t make any sense.
Your team won’t join in with your passion. They won’t be driven to execute at the highest level.
Your key people will just say, “It’s not my job…”
And everybody else will follow.
When companies fail, it’s not because they didn’t have great ideas and strategies.
Most of the time, it’s because they didn’t have the right people with the right motivation who would set the bar and define the company culture.