Categories: Tech News

Why mindset fit trumps culture fit for high-growth startups

As a new founder and hiring a team for the first time, I’ve been struggling with the question of culture fit vs mindset fit vs experience fit. What are the best criteria to use when hiring someone at a high-growth startup?

Based on all my learnings from launching Trumpet, a B2B sales platform, I believe that culture fit is hiring people with similar interests, attitudes about life, hobbies, personality dynamics, and ways of socializing with others.

Simply put, if I put this group of people around a table, would they all be able to relate to each other, chat comfortably, and basically grow a friendship? It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean hiring exactly the same people in terms of age, race, and background. I think it’s a trap people think they have to fall into when hiring for “culture”.

But is culture the right approach for a fast-growing company? Instead of just considering culture fit, I think startups should also consider another approach: mindset fit.

What is mindset adjustment?

Mindset fit fits alongside culture fit, but is more focused on what an employee wants from their job and how much they enjoy working to achieve their goals. Do they want to grow as fast as the company? Are they willing to take risks? Are they okay with failing and learning? Do they have a passion for improvement? Are they self-employed?

You can have two people who are very similar culturally but they could have very different answers to these questions.

From the employee side, being a cultural fit for the company is extremely important. Company culture is a vital factor for 46% of job seekers, with millennials prioritizing “people and culture fit” above all else. You will see that job specifications now add as much weight to the job as to benefits and internal culture.

At Trumpet, we’ve put together a concept paper that describes not only our company culture, but also our values ​​as founders and as a company; this is the fine intersection between “benefits” and what we really stand for as people and managers.

All of this falls apart if you only hire based on education and/or prior experience. Of course, for some roles, a certain level of experience is required. But when a college degree or number of years of work is your only check box, I think you’re setting yourself up for a fall.

A team will always need to be able to work together and collaboratively to be successful, no matter how talented the individual members are. You can draw similar parallels with sports where a winning team is never about having a single superstar: having highly engaged employees can lead to a 202% increase in performance.

Bin university degrees

My two co-founders, Nick Telson and Andrew Webster, decided to deploy culture and mindset above all else in their previous company, DesignMyNight.

This resulted in a team that worked together, socialized and in some cases even lived together! They were all pulling in the same direction, all with the same work/play hard attitude, and all can communicate effectively as teams and move the company forward in a positive direction.

Of course, not all employees want to socialize constantly or be best friends with their teammates. That’s fine, as long as they don’t bring down the rest of the team or look down on those they’re socializing with. You get the same thing in non-work friendship groups anyway: those who want to socialize non-stop and those who want to be more in and out.

I’ve come to the conclusion that at Trumpet I want a similar concept but putting mindset above everything else, followed by culture fit and putting college degrees in the bin.

You can get the job done effectively is a big green tick, but nothing else is a no. Our first ten hires must form a close bond, be able to give open feedback to each other, disagree and come together in the end, realizing that every decision is not based on ego but on what is better for the company.

My job as co-founder is to hire the right people who fit that mold and create a culture where we can all thrive as a unit.

Rory Sadler is co-founder and CEO of Trumpet.


Published by

Recent Posts

More on the Interest-Income Channel

Last weekend, I wrote about Warren Mosler's argument that the Fed's rate hikes could be…

4 weeks ago

More information in the Interests Channel

Last weekend, I he wrote on Warren Mosler's argument that the Fed's rate hikes could…

4 weeks ago

Biden wants to reduce the deficit. Powell wants to reduce inflation. Do rate hikes undermine both goals?

Last week, the chairman of the Fed, Jerome Powell said, "the disinflationary process has begun".…

1 month ago

Quick thoughts on the CBO budget and economic outlook

Earlier this week, I joined Romaine Bostick and Scarlet Fu Bloomberg TV. The Congressional Budget…

1 month ago

Eight states have joined forces to raise taxes on America’s wealthiest

Tomorrow morning, I'll be joining CNBC's Squawk Box to talk about a new effort tax…

1 month ago

Mike Pence would pick up where Paul Ryan left off

Former Vice President Mike Pence talks about privatizing Social Security. The remarks came Thursday before…

2 months ago