• Background

      What you disregard, you accept.

      In early stage companies, founders and senior leaders may fail to see that some of an organization's common conditions, actions, and behaviors can lead to problems.


      And many won't read lengthy blog posts, or consult with an expert. The point of my checklist was to create another point of entry to the conversation.


      There are 50 conditions on the checklist: if more than a handful are present in your workplace, you should be paying some extra attention to what’s going on.


      The spreadsheet calculates a score of sorts. Yet it's merely counting the conditions. I do not believe that it is possible to create a meaningful score.

      Read on for the caveats.

    • The Calculation

      The calculation weights each condition equally. 


      If all 50 conditions are present, your score is a 0. None, and you’re 100.


      In a true score, different conditions would be weighted differently.


      “You know of racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic utterances in your workplace” is meaningfully -- and legally -- different than “Face time is enforced, even if you didn’t ask for it.”


      Behaviors have different meanings in different settings, there’s a cultural context.


      "Face time" in one culture might mean not leaving before 7pm. In another, 10pm.


      Being yelled at in USMC bootcamp is different than being yelled at on an engineering team.

      There's no way to derive a meaningful, accurate weighting across cultures.


      There’s no allowance for the presence of multiple conditions.

      Even if I could derive meaningful, accurate weights, the math gets pretty complicated, quickly.


      Presence of “People become intoxicated at work events,” and "You know of sexist/racist/transphobic utterances in your workplace," points to different environmental concerns than, “People become intoxicated at work events” and “People don’t take vacations.”


      Experience matters.


      When a company has a CEO with 2 years of leadership under their belt, naivete/inexperience can be a source of cultural issues.


      When the CEO has 20 years of experience, it's far likelier that there are intentional components to the culture.

      An unrecognized problem is different than one that arose by design.

    • The Exercise

      A committed management team can complete this exercise, together, with the checklist. (Or you may get my spreadsheet.)


      Many teams will learn that each team member has knowledge of different incidents and conditions. Nobody has the full picture. (This can even be true in an organization where things are going pretty well.)

      Ideally, a management team would approach the checklist like it's a bug report, and prioritize and work through the items on the list. And you'd also include your HR/People Ops lead in this discussion.