The Law of the Lid

When the goal is to create the right team culture, Rule #10 of the HubSpot Culture Code is worth reflection: We are a perpetual work in progress.

hubspot culture code team culture  

These wry and wise words are extracted from the terrific culture deck published by HubSpot three weeks ago. At 152 slides, it’s daunting, but it’s full of the plot twists and humor that make it a page-turner.

The slideshow is a rulebook on how to create or, more accurately, endlessly cook up a compelling team culture.

This matters to HubSpot. The company is adding 25 new people each month.

The deck got me thinking, and I came up with suggestions for new slides to fill a couple of holes. The first is tied to Rule #10, and one well worth including:  

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Creating team culture is a fluid process, not forced but emergent. Such is the nature of the cosmos.

But culture (like the cosmos) is not flat. It is hierarchical. At HubSpot the aspiration is to create a hierarchy based on the ability to innovate, and to support others who innovate. Beautiful.

Yet let’s not pretend we’re all in this together. Leaders have the greatest impact on team culture. Choices made at the top create the biggest ripples. Charismatic narcissists surround themselves with yes-men. Conflict averse CEOs foster confusion.

HubSpot defines culture as a “set of shared beliefs, values and practices.” Here’s a definition I find to be more useful for leaders: Culture encompasses the ways of thinking and acting that we teach and reinforce. It’s more effective because it holds you directly accountable for being the actual source of culture.

Here’s why this is important. Inherent for those who dare to climb to the top is the responsibility to be conscious.

Leaders who accept the Law of the Lid know how they show up fundamentally shapes team culture. This has profound implications. Yet to sum it up practically, I came up with my second slide:  

team culture

  As the top leaders at HubSpot seem to know, creating the right team culture is on the short list of priorities. Perpetually.


This video is about m&a integration, but it presents a compelling path to evolve your organization’s culture and increase performance.

This blog bluntly cuts to the chase with a cultural critique of Silicon Valley.