software company culture

How We Bring Our Company Culture to Life

This year is a very special year for MobiLab because it is our 10-year anniversary. Becoming a decade old and creating success as a company while at the same time fostering a culture that employees will look up to isn’t something that’s easy to come by. You must work hard to build and especially keep a work culture that motivates people. But by creating a great company culture, you create the foundation for an innovative and inspiring environment. And this is incredibly rewarding for everyone on the team.

What Does It Mean to Have a Great Company Culture?

A lot of companies claim to have it, and I am sure there are a thousand definitions out there telling you what establishes it. What they all have in common is that culture is how you define how things are getting done in your company. It is what you encourage and discourage, and what you will accept and not tolerate in people’s actions. As a result, you end up with a culture that either boosts your performance or slows your progress towards success.

When you’re in a leadership position and realize you’ve inadvertently defined a culture bringing a lot of barriers, it’s impossible to fix by simply offering a lot of perks to your employees. This is not about having sitting balls, pool tables, or fancy cold drinks like raspberry mate lemonade (I am not judging the taste of any lemonade here). Culture is nothing you can buy. It cannot be seen nor touched. Culture is invisible and is created by how we interact with each other and how we do things. Being clear from the start about the specific behavior you want to encourage, is a crucial first step. What is also crucial, is that you create a working environment where people can come together, in person, to interact and innovate. That is where your culture comes to life.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

I think everyone has heard this slogan and you might roll your eyes now as you have read this repeatedly. But there is one very important statement in this phrase that underlines the importance of people’s actions. If the way your company operates no longer aligns with the behaviors that have been encouraged, you will fail in operating your strategy!

At MobiLab, we have defined our guardrails for our daily actions by our four virtues. Yes, virtues and not values as it is a virtue that defines yourself by your actions and not your words. “You are what you do and not what you say you’ll do.”, a quote by Carl Gustav Jung, is what we truly believe.

Our Four Virtues

Our virtues are nothing that is just written on our office walls or all over our website. Each day we remind each other about it and provide feedback if someone’s action did not align with them. It helps us that everyone from top to bottom in the organization stays on the right track. Every day we are working hard on letting ourselves experience our great culture. We are all aware that it is a lifelong development to become stronger in our beliefs and resulting actions. I am absolutely convinced that we will never in our lives reach the uppermost limit of one of our virtues. And this is what makes our culture great. We know we are on a lifelong learning path and recognizing this means our company is full of people that want to support each other. There is no perk that can keep up with being surrounded by real team players!

Let us dive deeper into what our four virtues are and why we chose them as our “Holy Grail”:

company culture passion

It is Passion that sets your attitude for your workplace. It comes with intense enthusiasm and excitement for what you do. You need passionate people in your team so they can spark their motivation and both face and solve arising challenges during work. It is also a person’s passion that helps focusing on personal development and becoming more creative and innovative which turns into more productivity and therefore happy and pleasing experiences.

company culture ownership

Taking Ownership means every employee cares about the outcome as much as the owner of a company would. That means that everyone sees their own decision as fundamental to the company’s failure or success. This only works if the company provides you with an environment where everyone feels a substantial personal stake in the company’s performance. At MobiLab, there is even no way around it. We are not venture-backed, so every drink you take out of the fridge (yes, even the raspberry mate lemonade!) has been bought due to the hard work of everyone in the team.

company culture humbleness

Being humble means approaching everything with curiosity and not a know-it-all attitude. Be proud to acknowledge that you do not know everything. There is simply no place for arrogance at our office. Our virtue Humbleness also helps to remind us that it is important how we do things and how we react to others’ ideas and opinions. What we’ve learned is that humbleness is the enabling factor for all of our virtues.

company culture compassion

Compassion is the basic ingredient for happy people. Being compassionate means being a team player, being empathic, and caring for each other. We are all in this together and there is no room for competition within MobiLab. Compassion is about building a trust relationship. Only if you trust each other, you can perform and deliver as a team what you have promised.

How We Encourage a Culture Built on Virtues:

As opposed to a lot of companies that are decreasing their office spaces, we just moved to a bigger office! Yes, we are investing money in a big comfy space that’s been designed to encourage us to interact with each other. We absolutely believe that being in the office and spending time face-to-face helps us to keep and encourage our culture. For us, the truth lies exactly in this term “face-to-face”. A video call will never give you the opportunity to read someone’s body language or catch gestures and facial expressions as much as a physical meeting will. In-person interactions are important to build the fundament of understanding each other and having a successful collaboration within your team.  It is the non-scheduled, random meetings you have at the coffee machine that you will never have working from home. It is the spontaneous small talk that a lot of times is the start of a creative and collaborative idea. Being in the same room and discussing topics provides you with the opportunity to become a lot faster in decision making and therefore be more flexible. I also believe that having an office space where everyone can easily interact with each other provides the best opportunity to intensify a good relationship with your colleagues that is founded on trust.

Of course, flexibility is sometimes needed so we should allow for the opportunity to work from home. But (and I know a lot of people will disagree now) I am absolutely convinced that working from home leads to us being distracted by other non-work-related tasks. During the height of the pandemic when video calls became the number one meeting format, I often noticed that people were far less engaged than when they were in face-to-face meetings.

We believe in our office Friday and we enjoy a lot, having the opportunity to meet everyone face-to-face at least once per week. So for us, the office is where our company culture thrives, but I think every company has to decide for themselves if their culture can survive the new normal of ‘working from home’.

Come visit our office and see for yourself the great culture we are sparking together! And if you don’t agree, we at least can offer you the best coffee in town.