What You Do Is Who You Are Quotes

Rate this book
Clear rating
What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture by Ben Horowitz
1,871 ratings, 4.09 average rating, 206 reviews
Open Preview
What You Do Is Who You Are Quotes Showing 1-27 of 27
“Culture is not like a mission statement; you can’t just set it up and have it last forever. There’s a saying in the military that if you see something below standard and do nothing, then you’ve set a new standard. This is also true of culture—if you see something off-culture and ignore it, you’ve created a new culture.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“Because your culture is how your company makes decisions when you’re not there. It’s the set of assumptions your employees use to resolve the problems they face every day. It’s how they behave when no one is looking. If you don’t methodically set your culture, then two-thirds of it will end up being accidental, and the rest will be a mistake.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“Breakthrough ideas have traditionally been difficult to manage for two reasons: 1) innovative ideas fail far more than they succeed, and 2) innovative ideas are always controversial before they succeed. If everyone could instantly understand them, they wouldn’t be innovative.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“Culture can feel abstract and secondary when you pit it against a concrete result that’s right in front of you. Culture is a strategic investment in the company doing things the right way when you are not looking.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“There’s a saying in the military that if you see something below standard and do nothing, then you’ve set a new standard.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“Your employees will test you on your cultural virtues, either accidentally or on purpose, so before you put one into your company, ask yourself, “Am I willing to pass the test on this?”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“I began looking for these four: Smart. It doesn’t mean high IQ (although that’s great), it means disposed toward learning. If there’s a best practice anywhere, adopt it. We want to turn as much as possible into a routine so we can focus on the few things that require human intelligence and creativity. A good interview question for this is: “Tell me about the last significant thing you learned about how to do your job better.” Or you might ask a candidate: “What’s something that you’ve automated? What’s a process you’ve had to tear down at a company?” Humble. I don’t mean meek or unambitious, I mean being humble in the way that Steph Curry is humble. If you’re humble, people want you to succeed. If you’re selfish, they want you to fail. It also gives you the capacity for self-awareness, so you can actually learn and be smart. Humility is foundational like that. It is also essential for the kind of collaboration we want at Slack. Hardworking. It does not mean long hours. You can go home and take care of your family, but when you’re here, you’re disciplined, professional, and focused. You should also be competitive, determined, resourceful, resilient, and gritty. Take this job as an opportunity to do the best work of your life. Collaborative. It’s not submissive, not deferential—in fact it’s kind of the opposite. In our culture, being collaborative means providing leadership from everywhere. I’m taking responsibility for the health of this meeting. If there’s a lack of trust, I’m going to address that. If the goals are unclear, I’m going to deal with that. We’re all interested in getting better and everyone should take responsibility for that. If everyone’s collaborative in that sense, the responsibility for team performance is shared. Collaborative people know that success is limited by the worst performers, so they are either going to elevate them or have a serious conversation. This one is easy to corroborate with references, and in an interview you can ask, “Tell me about a situation in your last company where something was substandard and you helped to fix it.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“Here are the rules for writing a rule so powerful it sets the culture for many years: It must be memorable. If people forget the rule, they forget the culture. It must raise the question “Why?” Your rule should be so bizarre and shocking that everybody who hears it is compelled to ask, “Are you serious?” Its cultural impact must be straightforward. The answer to the “Why?” must clearly explain the cultural concept. People must encounter the rule almost daily. If your incredibly memorable rule applies only to situations people face once a year, it’s irrelevant.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“I hear you and, quite frankly, I agree with you, but I was overruled by the powers that be.” This is absolutely toxic to the culture. Everyone on the team will feel marginalized because they work for someone who’s powerless. This makes them one level less than powerless.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“I was definitely zero-tolerance on managers who undermined decisions, because that led to cultural chaos.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“Without trust, communication breaks. Here’s why: In any human interaction the required amount of community is inversely proportional to the level of trust.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“To sell, you had have 1) the competence—expert knowledge of the product you were selling and the process to demonstrate it (qualifying the buyer by validating their need and budget; helping define what their buying criteria are while setting traps for the competition; getting sign-off from the technical and the economic buyer at the customer, and so forth) so that you could have 2) the confidence to state your point of view, which would give you 3) the courage to have 4) the conviction not to be sold by the customer on why she wasn’t going to buy your product. Cranney was obsessed with training every salesperson, testing them, and holding them accountable on the four C’s.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“If you ask, “Why am I so fat?” your brain will say, “Because I am stupid and have no willpower.” Robbins’s point is that if you ask a bad question you will get a bad answer and you will live a bad life.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“What you measure is what you value. Huawei’s results echoed Uber’s. Once you remove the requirement to follow certain rules or obey certain laws, you basically remove ethics from the culture.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“When you ask your managers, “What is our culture like?” they’re likely to give you a managed answer that tells you what they think you want to hear and doesn’t hint at what they think you absolutely do not want to hear. That’s why they’re called managers.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“You ask an electrical engineer to design the thermal system on the french fryer. Then you ask me to carry flip charts to facilitate strategic planning. I had many reasons to refuse all the opportunities that led to me becoming CEO.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“Your first day, your first week in an organization is when you’re observing each detail, figuring out where you stand. That’s when your sense of the culture gets seared in—especially if someone gets stabbed in the neck. That’s when you diagnose the power structure: Who can get things done, and why? What did they do to get in that position? Can you replicate it?”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“That’s the nature of culture. It’s not a single decision—it’s a code that manifests itself as a vast set of actions taken over time. No one person makes or takes all these actions. Cultural design is a way to program the actions of an organization, but, like computer programs, every culture has bugs. And cultures are significantly more difficult to debug than programs.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“where they spend most of their waking hours, becomes who they are. Office culture is highly infectious. If the CEO has an affair with an employee, there will be many affairs”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“Everybody wanted to show me the org chart, to make sure I understood the pecking order. I didn’t even look at it, because I believe that work gets done through the go-to people. They may not have titles and positions, but they’re the ones who get the work done.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“We respect the intense struggle of the entrepreneurial process and we know that without the entrepreneurs we have no business. When dealing with entrepreneurs, we always show up on time and we always get back to them timely and with substantive feedback, even if it’s bad news (like a rejection). We have an optimistic view of the future and believe that entrepreneurs, whether they succeed or fail, are working to help us achieve a better future. As a result, we never publicly criticize any entrepreneur or startup (doing so is a fireable offense).”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“You may be adopting an organizing principle you don’t understand. For example, Intel created a casual-dress standard to promote meritocracy. Its leaders believed the best idea should win, not the idea from the highest-ranking person in the fanciest suit.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“We tell the truth even if it hurts. When talking to an entrepreneur, an LP [limited partner], a partner, or each other, we strive to tell the truth. We are open and honest. We do not withhold material information or tell half truths. Even if the truth will be difficult to hear or to say, we err on the side of truth in the face of difficult consequences. We do not, however, dwell on trivial truths with the intention of hurting people’s feelings or making them look bad. We tell the truth to make people better not worse.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“He believed that you were either selling or being sold: if you weren’t selling a customer on your product then the customer was selling you on why she wasn’t going to buy”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“Integrity, honesty, and decency are long-term cultural investments. Their purpose is not to make the quarter, beat a competitor, or attract a new employee. Their purpose is to create a better place to work and to make the company a better one to do business with in the long run. This value does not come for free. In the short run it may cost you deals, people, and investors, which is why most companies cannot bring themselves to actually, really, enforce it. But as we’ll see, the failure to enforce good conduct often brings modern companies to their knees.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“To really understand how this stuff works, I knew I had to dig deeper. So I asked myself, How many of the following questions can be resolved by turning to your corporate goals or mission statement? Is that phone call so important I need to return it today, or can it wait till tomorrow? Can I ask for a raise before my annual review? Is the quality of this document good enough or should I keep working on it? Do I have to be on time for that meeting? Should I stay at the Four Seasons or the Red Roof Inn? When I negotiate this contract, what’s more important: the price or the partnership? Should I point out what my peers do wrong, or what they do right? Should I go home at 5 p.m. or 8 p.m.? How hard do I need to study the competition? Should we discuss the color of this new product for five minutes or thirty hours? If I know something is badly broken in the company, should I say something? Whom should I tell? Is winning more important than ethics?”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
“The answer is zero.”
Ben Horowitz, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture