Culture Manager (with Tom Freeman)

A lot of people think of culture in terms of the startup world, and think of the ping pong tables and the snacks and the silicone valley type of stuff…but to me culture is around the undercurrents and the behaviors.

Culture is a difficult thing to define.  It’s an even more difficult thing to influence and legislate.  What makes one culture thrive and another flounder?  What makes one artistic and another scientific?  In the workplace, what do we even really mean when we say workplace culture?  And once we get that defined, how do we try to influence that?  Does hiring pretty much take care of everything, or does it go much further than that?  Thankfully I don’t have to answer any of these questions.  Today’s guest, Tom Freeman, is the Culture Manger for the wonderful meditation app company, Headspace.  He’ll tell us about everything being a culture manager entails, and how he strives to keep a great culture through rapid growth.

That’s the way that I kind of see it. It’s got two parts, it’s got the head and the heart.
Company values might just be put on a wall somewhere and nobody really looks at them, no one understands them, no one really lives by them…but my job is to help bring our company values to life.

Interview Contents

3:40 - Culture in the workplace.
4:40 - The dilemma of trying to influence culture.
8:20 - The importance of hiring.
10:10 - The head and the heart.
11:10 - What causes workplace culture to suffer?
15:40 - Can a company maintain great culture while growing?
16:40 - What makes for good culture?  And how do you know your definition is correct?
20:10 - How do you stay unbiased.
22:40 - Is your job made easier because you work at Headspace.
26:10 - The value of meditation.
28:20 - The most impactful thing Tom has done at Headspace.
31:20 - Things that didn’t work.
31:40 - Morning raves.
33:10 - Tom’s path to becoming a culture manager.
37:30 - The importance of Tom’s role.
39:45 - Advice for people wanting to change workplace culture.





Michelle & Jim Wortner

Janelle Swanson

Jimmy Seymour


Blake Fletcher

Livin it up!