Ep.37: How to Create the Ideal Work and Company Culture

By Sean Si

Isaac Sabas Part 3   What were some of the challenges that you’ve faced as the CEO of Pandora Labs and now VP for Product of Bolton Labs? How did you overcome them? The most common would be nonperforming leaders. Those that do not perform according to Isaac’s expectations.  What he does is he has an honest conversation with them. Isaac reiterates their mission and vision, as well as the expectations. Then, he gives options that they can take because if the person isn’t a perfect fit for you, they might be a perfect fit elsewhere. Another issue revolves around trust. For Isaac, the best way to earn trust is to trust first. He’s not saying that you shouldn’t be too trusting, rather you have to be careful with setting the right controls because in dealing with people, many things can get mixed up, many things can lead to change. Isaac has experienced people that he trusts to leave him and do things he is not proud of. At the end of the day, it hurts him because he truly trusted these individuals. He does see these as learning experiences. They do happen, and people need to be prepared when they do.   I want to share something that I realized during my trip to Singapore. Look at airports. These places have so many checks that every person needs to pass through. I’m sure that 99.99% of the people who go through airports are civilians, tourists, and businessmen. None of them I dare say are drug dealers. All of the checks—Security, Immigration, and all the little things that we do just to pass through airport security are not there to make the experience worse. They’re there to keep everyone safe; To keep the 0.001% that are drug dealers or any other dangerous person from boarding a single airplane.  In a company, that is what should happen. Unlike in the airport, however, the 0.001% is more common here and we need these rules and regulations to keep things in line. This means everyone is affected, so that the 0.001% will not enter, or will easily be found. This will protect the company. True leaders will accept these rules, and the minority of undesirable people will be forced out by them.   Isaac has his own set of core values that somewhat summarize the standard that he and his team members should uphold. He would ask his team to think about these things before they act while on the job.  We are Disciplined people. Because we are disciplined people, we have disciplined thoughts and we have disciplined actions.  It always starts in us. Disciplined people no longer need the rules, but this idealistic point-of-view is too good to be true. Even Netflix, with its Netflix culture, has its own rules for some situations.    The importance of these rules, as we go back to the airport metaphor, can be seen in a few tragic events. One was the horrible incident of 9/11. In that flight, the 0.001% got through; and unfortunately, all the passengers of that plane and the vast majority of those who were within the World Trade Center died. In business, the 0.001% can lead to your business crashing down. Nobody wants this to happen to your business, your culture, or anything really.   What kind of culture did you have in Pandora? Pandora had a very open culture. One of our primary aspects is that logic wins. Isaac encourages a lot of people, disregarding their position to always speak their mind in a slightly filtered manner. Having that open communication where logic is upheld is key. This is because at work there can’t be any opinions.  The company must not have multiple opinions as it might derail the company from achieving its goal. Isaac welcomes ideas from his team. He always follows logic and data. So if a team member su Support the show (https://tribe.leadershipstack.com/)

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