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Anna Grassler, Cristian Grossmann & Sven Jakelj, Swisspreneur Podcast

EP #354 - Culture Evolving Over Time

Anna Grassler, Cristian Grossmann & Sven Jakelj

November 13, 2023

5:01 - What does culture mean?

12:00 - Making exceptions to culture

15:00 - Measuring culture

20:48 - Dealing with a poor value fit

36:05 - Hiring family and friends

About Anna Grassler, Cristian Grossmann & Sven Jakelj:

⁠⁠Anna Grassler⁠⁠ is co-CEO at ⁠⁠FELFEL⁠⁠, a company changing the way people eat at work. She holds a masters in Management & Social Entrepreneurship from ESCP Business School and previously worked for companies like L’Oréal and Gärtnerei before joining FELFEL in 2022.

⁠⁠Cristian Grossmann⁠⁠ is the co-founder and Head Bee at ⁠⁠beekeeper⁠⁠, the well-known Swiss frontline operating system. He holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from ETH and worked for companies like ChromaCon and Accenture before starting beekeeper in 2011.

⁠⁠Sven Jakelj⁠⁠ is the co-founder and CEO at ⁠⁠feey⁠⁠, an online shop for house plants. He holds an MA in Economics from UZH and previously worked for Deutsche Bank and PROCIVIS before starting feey in 2019. 

As both external CEOs and founders, this trio had a lot to say about shaping and trimming your company culture. They agreed that “culture” can best be defined as the shared set of values that is reflected in every interaction each employee has with the company. This means that once you’ve defined your company values, it isn’t enough to create posters stating these and hang them around the office: you’ve got to live them out during hiring, during performance reviews, at lunch time — all the time!

Which is not to say that as your company scales, your values can’t evolve as well. At beekeeper, for instance, their values used to be described by their stakeholders as very “kumbaya”, but as this Swiss company grew, these values adapted to withstand bigger and tougher challenges, and a clear reflection of that change was that their performance reviews became stricter. 

Check out Silvan’s conversation with these 3 entrepreneurs to learn more about how to set the right values, how to make sure the culture reflects them, and how to tell the difference between letting your values evolve and letting culture get out of hand. 

Memorable Quotes:

"All the jobs I’ve had I liked at the beginning, but eventually got bored with." (Sven)

"Don’t hire 'maybes' out of desperation. You will regret it, and you will have lost time." (Anna)

"Our values have stayed constant, but our culture has changed."(Cris)

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