Building a Strong Thriving Company Culture

Chad Silverstein
4 min readAug 25


If you lead others, your success depends on many things, but there is one subtle distinction that often defines how you are perceived by those you lead. This distinction is so subtle that it can easily go unnoticed if you haven’t experienced it firsthand. Let me explain.

There are leaders who make their employees feel like they are a priority, and then there are leaders who make their employees feel like they are the priority.

I told you it was subtle. The difference lies in the words “a” and “the”.

This nuance may seem minor, but in reality, it’s a big deal because people can sense when their leader prioritizes them above fattening their own bank account.

This level of leading is not easy. In fact, leading with your heart usually comes with pain and suffering because if it hasn’t happened yet it’s just a matter of time before someone you’ve poured yourself into breaks your heart.

It’s also difficult to prioritize your team when faced with tough business decisions. You can still make difficult choices while keeping everyone at the forefront of your priorities. The key lies in your ability to communicate and be transparent about why and how you’re overcoming a specific challenge. You have to find the right balance of sharing, but not too much.

The Power of Servant Leadership

At the core of every successful team there’s a leader who is distinct and deeply connected to their product, service, or vision. However, exceptional leaders recognize that their passion alone is not enough. They understand the importance of building a strong team around them, while setting the tone with high levels of responsibility on one end and freedom on the other. These rare leaders adopt a “servant” attitude, viewing their team as partners who they serve, and not the other way around.

Want to Give Your Culture a Boost? Trying Having More Fun.

When my team used to ask me why I always ran contents and gave away thousands of dollars to people who were already being paid to do their job, my response was always the same: “Because it works.” The opportunity to earn extra income is a powerful incentive. Identify the levers in your business that can generate what you want more of and get creative and have fun running contests your team can rally around.

Let me share an example of something I did that was memorable. I once purchased $1,000 worth of lottery tickets and, after hours, a few of us hung them on streamers from the ceiling all around our office. We ran a simple contest where each point earned allowed a person to take down a ticket. I got back a lot more than the 1000 I invested, but I didn’t even care. The smiles and fun we had the entire day was worth it even if production didn’t go up.

Another idea I loved was having a contest to come up with the best contest. It engaged everyone and generated a ton of new ideas.

Offering personalized incentives that align with individual preferences can be even more meaningful. A simple gesture, like winning a free lunch with the leadership team or with the CEO can go a long way in showing how much appreciation hard work and high performance.

Emphasizing work-life balance is essential. Offering additional paid time off allows individuals to have some freedom in their life, which when it comes to taking your kid to their first day of school is a big deal and something most leaders never have to worry about. I used to call it “See ya” time and I would give it out to people for all kinds of reasons, but mostly because I cared and wanted them to know I understand they have a life outside of work.

Paying it forward is also a powerful way to foster a best place to work. Acts of kindness, especially when performed anonymously, have the ability to make people feel extremely valued.

Last, personalized gestures like remembering birthdays and anniversaries, hand written notes, and offering kind words of encouragement for no reason leave a strong long-lasting impression that has a much bigger impact than you may think.

What kind of culture are you building? How does your team perceive you? It may not be what you think, but it’s worth asking and trying to find out. Just be careful because you may not hear what you want and how you respond says everything about the way you lead.



Chad Silverstein

Founder & CEO at [re]start, a Career Development Platform, connecting people to meaningful employment opportunities. #Career #Jobs #Leadership #Entrepreneurship