Why culture and team trumps strategyBy Richard Potter on February 24, 2020
Today is a pretty momentous day for Peak. We’ve been named as one of The Sunday Times’ Top 100 Best Small Companies to Work For, entering the list for the first time and ranking at 45th place.
On top of this, we also made the list of the The Best Companies to Work For in the North West, coming straight in at number 20.
When Dave, Atul and I founded Peak we had a very clear idea in our head of what we wanted to achieve. Our mission, ever since, has been twofold; we aim to help businesses do great things (with data and AI!) and to build an amazing company – one that everyone loves being a part of.
The culture we’ve created at Peak makes the business what it is. Of course, business has changed since the early days when just a handful of us were sitting in a co-working space on Deansgate, to the 100+ strong global company we are today. However, that initial culture continues to be woven into the fabric of Peak, and it’s amazing to see our commitment to this recognised on a national level.
After our seed funding round a few years ago one of our first decisions was to bring somebody in who understands what makes a business tick in terms of people and culture. Lucy Tannahill joined us as our Head of People and has been instrumental in shaping the culture and spirit of Team Peak and the rest of our devoted People team.
Whether it’s end-of-quarter events, team bonding trips to the Peak District or even just Friday beer o’clock in the office, we’ve always aimed to make Peak a place that our team enjoy coming to every day. Of course, we make sure that the hard work gets done, but we have some fun in the process, and that’s really important. For me, a great culture and a great team trumps any kind of business strategy – it’s the number one reason that we’re where we are today.
I often describe our aim at Peak to create a sustainable high performance culture. Here’s some of the mantras we live that help us do that:
- Family first; nothing is more important
- Team over individual
- Coaching over telling
- Always put the customer first (at work)
- Success is not guaranteed and everything must be earned
- Move fast, make quick decisions, correct as you go
- Respect colleagues – everyone has a genius
- Don’t shy from hard conversations
- Be great, not good (and hold each other to high standards)
- Always take responsibility (be leaders, at every level)
- We all own Peak. We are all responsible for our culture and success
- Nobody is more important than the business. We are a team of equals
- No politics, ever. Politics are bullshit
- No excuses, be honest with yourself
- Always help a colleague in need
- Do that extra thing, today
- Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture opportunity
- Have fun, don’t take yourself or work too seriously
- …cash is king. Do not waste company resources
That list might not be for everyone, but it is core to Peak. It’s authentic and guides us. That would be my advice to any business leader looking to put culture at the heart of their mission. It must be authentic, it must be real and you must live your values everyday. Our values are published here and for everyone to see – we hire to them, we coach to them and we reinforce them continuously. Values can’t be simply nice sounding buzzwords, as so many are.
For us, we’ll keep working hard to build on this strong foundation. I hope we can and that we build Peak into a global top 100 company to work for one day…