When I told a friend, “I’m going to open my own practice” I was struck by his words of advice that followed the usual congratulatory and supportive ones. “Your first hires will be critical. You’ve got to get the culture right day one.” My mind paused and then segued into a prolonged contemplation of why those words felt right. On the one hand it seemed so common sense. On the other hand, other goals vied for attention in the hectic business of starting up a medical practice…finding the right office location, working on the minutiae of credentialing with the insurance plans, figuring out the rules and regulations of electronic health records.
Coincidentally, another trusted colleague and dear friend echoes like-minded advice by sending me a blog post from Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, an online hospitality exchange business that receives venture capital funding from the likes of Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal. Thiel’s advice to Chesky was “Don’t f*ck up the culture.” Chesky expounds with “Culture is a thousand things, a thousand times. It’s living the core values when you hire; when you write an email; when you are working on a project; when you are walking in the hall. We have the power, by living the values, to build the culture. We also have the power, by breaking the values, to f*ck up the culture. Each one of us has this opportunity, this burden.”