Here’s a loaded phrase in the startup world: culture fit.
It’s a term with humble early intentions that has grown weeds and sprouted out of its container. It started as a simple way of talking about whether a new hire and current team would work well together. It’s grown into a loaded gun of baggage and misappropriation. It’s used to hire unqualified people and fire great ones.
Mathias Meyer, CEO at Travis CI, started to notice a problem with “culture fit” and the way it was implemented at many companies. It seemed to him like “culture fit” was doing the opposite, and holding company cultures back. Companies, if not careful, would create a monoculture, with everyone acting and thinking the same way. This is terrible for creativity and growth.
Or as Meyer put it in an excellent blog post:
“There’s one fundamental mistake in both using and looking for culture fit as a means for hiring: You’re assuming that your current culture is healthy and doesn’t need to be changed.”
I chatted with Meyer about his thoughts on culture fit, growing Travis CI and what they’re doing to create an authentic company culture.