Public meeting / Culture / The element of creativeness in the formation of new culture in a startup


  • Summary — In this draft, which is part of a study about startup culture formation, I am considering how founders (or originator of cultural habits) are comfortable with the idea of breaking certain norms (or standard behavior of new team entrants). #creativeness #maslow #culture.

  • Reference meeting: "a07-050 — culture — Maslow on Management and reflections on creativeness — considering how culture formation depends on creativeness Monday, February 10 2020, 10:00 – 11:00am"

  • Parent project: Course on Culture and Leadership, Creativity and Culture

  • Participants: Marcio S Galli
  • Text language: en-us
  • Tags: Leadership, Culture, Blitzscaling, Maslow, Creativeness

  • Document status: Copyright, draft.

Sibling drafts

Notes on creativeness from Maslow on Management

Maslow makes a point that a creative person — and perhaps any creative system such as a team (and I will here also consider a hybrid team with systems and people) — is more apt to engage in the (good) confrontation with the unexpected future with less dependency on prior rules. Consider the following quotes taken from the section Addition to the Notes on the Creative Person.

Let's first imagine a bar, on the right side, a very creative mind. On the left side, the opposite, rigid mind:

  • Rigid < ----------------- * ----------------- > creative

On the rigid side

"It is as if these people were afraid of the future and also mistrusted their own ability to improvise in the face of something that would come up unexpectedly. This is then a combination of a lack of trust in ones's self, a kind of fear that one does not have the ability or the capacity to face anything which is unexpected, unpredictable. " (Maslow, 1998, p. 229)

On the right side

"He is able to face a changing future; that is, he does not need a fixed and unchanging future. He seems not to be threatened by unexpectedness (as the obsessional and rigid person is)." (Maslow, 1998, p. 229)

Considering creative founders in a startup

In the context of a startup, let's consider a group of creative leaders, founders; working in an innovative idea — one that is under development and it is based in the assumption that the world needs to be changed. So, it is implicit, as they go towards "breaking the rules", that these founders needs to be apt to, and comfortable with, managing future challenges with less dependency on the world's prior knowledge and their own prior knowledge.

Perhaps they are comfortable because they are protected by a vision, by a mission, and by values. And here I will bring the idea from Jim Collins (from Good to Great) of two synergic sides — that the reason that you can fly on an area, to be creative, to explore, to go far (and even to propose a whole new world) depends in the knowing that you are safe, in your home, with your values, inspired by a vision or mission.

Not abundance of creativity

But we know, from looking at startups displaying strong cultures, that they don't really look that creative when considering the team's ability to continuously coming up with new methods, such as changing their behaviors of working. In fact, some of them can be thought as quite strict in terms of their ability to comply with certain behavioral rules.

There is certainly an aspect of efficiency, and relationship with group goals, when we talk about team culture. Well, they have a mission anyway. They have goals, they operate with restrictions. Think of their resources available, their vision, goals, mission, and values.

Therefore, being a good strong culture or a toxic strong culture, there is certainly stability that gets developed to the point that the team operates with efficiency; an idea that seems a bit far that of creativeness. But not much when considering the prior stages, prior to this solid cultural setting. Any solid special way for doing things, impacting the team's efficiency towards a goal, depends on prior ability to break the rules (or norms or standard way of working or behavior of entrants), and how comfortable is the team to break the rules. And here I saying rules in the context of book rules, standard methods, the team or person that does in the old way and is not comfortable to think different.

It should also be recognized that startup living its stable culture condition may also reach out to roadblocks — things may not just work amid uncertainty. And again, that element that we see, prior to culture formation which depends on (this creative) flexibility and less of playing by the rules, again is at stake.


  • Maslow, Abraham H., (1998). Maslow on Management. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, New York, NY USA.

Marcio é um empreendedor com interesse em inovação, empreendedorismo, cultura e gestão. Formado em ciências da computação, Marcio fez seu estágio de graduação no Vale do Silício em uma das empresas que marcaram a história da Internet (Netscape Communications). Posteriormente mudou-se para o Vale do Silício trabalhando para Netscape / America Online, Yahoo! e posteriormente ao voltar ao Brasil, para a Mozilla Corporation (criadores do navegador Firefox). Antes de se tornar empreendedor e consultor, Marcio pôde colaborar com vários departamentos como marketing, inovação, engenharia e em times de documentação e evangelismo. Se tornou autor de patentes internacionais e gosta de estudar e escrever para os futuros empreendedores e gestores. Marcio é apaixonado por comunicação, negócios, tecnologia e cultura. Alguns dos seus livros preferidos são High Output Management, Conscious Business, The Hard Things about Hard Things, Maslow on Management, The Startup of You, The Alliance, Zero to One, dentre outros.

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