03 Feb Power of Company Culture
By Bakul Chibber, Vice President, Civilian Programs
I firmly believe that a company’s culture and belief system is the foundation of its success. This is particularly true of services companies like Criterion. Our people are a critical asset and the surest way to our collective continued success. I stress the word “collective” as our individual and group success is interdependent.
What is company culture? It is the way people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going, and what they’re doing to get it there. It begins with the core beliefs of the company’s founders and leadership and develops organically as the company grows through the cumulative traits and behaviors of the people the company hires. In a fast-growing company like Criterion, where we highly value diversity of ideas and beliefs, our common foundation of culture is passed to new employees as it is modelled by both peers and leaders.
I joined Criterion several months ago after nearly 20 years at IBM. One of my most important considerations during conversations with prospective companies was company culture. In my conversations with various leaders, I could see that Criterion had strong values and that people were at the heart of those values. For example, each person I talked to at Criterion said the same thing: they believed in people, hired the best, and then let them loose to do what they do best. This was ample evidence to me that leadership truly believed that the success of the company rested with its people.
For a Federal Government contractor the size of Criterion, the mission is more than the bottom line – our teams have a vested interest in making a difference and in serving our country by helping government agencies develop and maintain secure, efficient IT systems so they can better meet citizens’ needs. People who thrive at Criterion are the folks who believe and act as ‘keepers’ of the company – who truly believe that the buck stops with them – and that they single handedly have an opportunity to please (or displease) a customer. Our employees come from many backgrounds – the military, large companies, start-ups, and individual entrepreneurs – but they share a common philosophy of excellence and mission focus.
Criterion’s leadership has created a high-functioning professional and fun environment for everyone to succeed. As we continue to grow, we are focusing on putting processes and procedures in place so HR, communications, recruiting, accounting/finance, operations, and, above all, delivery excellence and customer satisfaction remain high quality and consistent. The secret sauce to all of this? Empowering our people, keeping a nimble and responsive attitude, and maintaining a fun environment. I always maintain that if you are not having fun you should be doing something different! I think Criterion is a great place to be, and the power of our corporate culture is a fundamental reason why. We are poised for continued growth, the success of our people, and the success of our company – interdependent as we move forward!