How often do you get a chance to define a company culture from the ground up?

People have asked me what the best thing was about moving from a network agency to a start-up like Nomads. For me, it was the chance to help shape the culture of an agency almost from the ground up.

Initially, after joining a team of three at Nomads Dubai in late 2015, this happened mostly informally through personal interactions. But once our office had grown beyond 30 people, it became clear we needed something more tangible to anchor our ways of working, something more than the agency manifesto that I had written and painted on our walls during my first months. So I started penning down the values and principles for collaboration that had guided me.

But then something struck me: ideally these principles (and perhaps other ones too) should also be reflected in the daily behavior of everyone at Nomads. What if I could extract cultural guidelines from how our people experienced working at Nomads? So I asked them, my colleagues from over 20 different nationalities.

Out of their answers I distilled eight values that defined who we are as a team: Collaborative, Driven, Caring, Curious, Brave, Inventive, Open-minded, Kind, Fun. Eight values that added up to more than just a job, they added up to a Nomads lifestyle. These eight values became the core of the Nomads Culture Book, a compass for working together, a tool for us and new joiners to understand what made us strong.

The Nomads Culture Book was written by every single Nomad in Dubai and their contributions added up to everything I hoped our agency culture would become when I joined in September 2015. Today, I’m not a part of Nomads anymore, but every page in that book is still very much a part of me. I’d like to thank everyone at Nomads Dubai for contributing to our Culture Book and especially Ben Ali Mohamed Souheil for designing its beautiful pages.

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