Company Culture: No, Because…Yes, If…

This post was written by Social Tables CEO, Dan Berger.

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 9.34.08 AM

This is the third part of a four week long blog series that features the four pillars of company culture. Written by Ann Yang, a  Summer Associate, this series aims to look at the company’s growth and cohesion one year after the pillars were first introduced. Read Dan’s original company culture post here. Read the first and second part of this series here and here. This week is about “No because… yes if”

Thoughts from the CEO

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 2.52.33 PM

“No because… yes if” is the most unique of the four pillars of company culture because it represents a mentality and shift in thinking. As Dan puts it, “saying no is a protective mechanism. It’s an automatic reaction that people have.” He encourages his team to actively change that sort of thinking.

Here are a couple of ways that Social Tables embodies this pillar day to day:

1. Language. It sounds really simple, but the language people use has a direct impact on their perspective. Dan observes that people “tend to autocorrect their language in the framework of no.” The result is that “when you change your language you can change your perspective.”

2. Objectives & Key Results. Referred to as OKR’s, this is new concept introduced by Dan to encourage every team member to become a top performer. In this way, the efforts of every person on the Social Tables team has an impact on the success of the company.

Counterintuitively, team members have failed if they have met their goals. As Dan describes, “OKR’s are meant to be stretch goals, my team isn’t thinking big enough if they are meeting them 100%.” Team members are given the freedom to say “Yes” because the possibility of failure is not a reason to say “No.”

Scott Evans: The Fun Kid

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 2.55.40 PM

After graduating, Scott Evans worked at a consulting firm and generally liked it, but “felt like there was a missing piece.” He “wanted to feel like he was part of change.” With no experience prior to Social Tables in the industry, he joined the Sales team.

When he came to Social Tables his story mirrored exactly what the no because… yes if mentality means. This occurred because “Dan could have easily said no because I do not have any experience in Sales. Instead he said yes, I can be successful if we give him the resources to do so.”

Jesse Oursler: MVP

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 2.54.14 PM

Jesse originally thought that he would be pursuing a career in Sports Management, but he found himself happily in Sales and has over 8 years of experience. His time at Social Tables has resulted in “dramatic professional and personal growth.” Working with the team has “taken him back to his roots in Sales.” He says that  “It’s great to be back in a young, vibrant work environment. There’s not a day that I don’t love coming into work.”

Ram Parimi: Boss (of Sales)

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 2.57.16 PM

As the Executive of Sales, one of Ram’s main philosophies is to individualize the way he manages. For Ram, the important thing is to “coach to people’s strengths.” He “tries to individualize his approach and obtain a lot of feedback.”

“No because, yes if” applies to Sales because “A good salesperson knows a lot about listening more than anything else.” The growth that Social Tables is experiencing should only be mirrored by the quality of the culture. “The company culture,” Ram notes, “should only get better as you scale. The culture should not be defined top-down, but instead, bottom up.”

Want to know more? Email Ann Yang  at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: