What I've Learned about Culture & How I've Grown in My First 100 Days at Junto

Posted by Maddy Kaplan on May 25, 2016

Company culture is becoming more relevant everyday in job searches. Candidates are more likely to accept a position based on the culture of the company, so in a competitive job market, it’s important to differentiate your company and live up to its standards. I didn't know this was important to look for, and had I known, I would have approached my job search differently.Fortunately, upon joining The Junto Institute, I have learned the importance of company culture. These are the five things I have noticed that set Junto apart from other cultures I have been a part of.

Workplace vs. Community

In my experience, it has been more effective to build a culture that is a community of people rather than simply a workplace. I have been involved in cultures that center around the work and nothing else. A common theme amongst past experiences of mine has been that the employee is there to simply do the job and no more. The experience I have with Junto is much different from others I have participated in. At Junto, we care about personal growth and development as a community, not just as it relates to our business.

A community of people encourages collaborative thinking. Everyone’s opinion matters and has a visible impact on the company. Instead of sitting alone in your cubicle, we work in a shared workspace in the same room where we can share ideas. Everyone has something unique to contribute. This method of growing a business is unlike any others I have experienced.

Our community expands beyond our core team to the entire JuntoTribe (the larger Junto community which includes our Alumni, Apprentices, Mentors, Instructors, and Partners). We are always looking to improve and lean on members of the Tribe to provide constructive feedback that would better the experience for everyone. I have never been a part of an organization that cares so deeply about all of its members and their experiences.



Through Junto I have learned the importance of building relationships. In my previous experiences, relationships were secondary to the work. At Junto the relationships are just as important, if not more, than the work. Adjusting to this strategy was extremely refreshing. It added an extra layer of humanity to an already personable company.

At Junto, hugs are more common than handshakes. Personal touch is something that brings people together and creates a sense of trust and openness. As part of our curriculum, we dive into deep issues and have tough conversations. The trust and openness makes those conversations a bit easier and further contributes to building strong relationships.

It’s not just about the company. It’s about the individual, too.

This is the first time I have been a part of a company that pushes to create strong well-rounded people. I truly feel that Junto wants me to succeed as a person as well as being the best employee I can be to help the company grow.

We integrate wellness and learning into our culture everyday. We do this by assigning each other book chapters, articles, relevant videos, etc. to discuss the following week and have an intellectual discussion on the material. For our wellness piece, we each set and explain our monthly goal that satisfies physical, mental, or emotional health. At the end of the month, we all present how we did with our goal and set the next one.

Junto is not just a business school to help companies grow, we are a community that pushes each other to be the best we all can be on a personal and professional level, and that includes our own team.


No “Shoulding” on Each Other

I have always been involved in companies that give me advice and tell me what to do. I hadn’t given it a thought until I learned about Junto’s protocols and saw it being practiced. From what I have seen, shared experiences provide more guidance than advice does.

In my experience, it is much more effective to share a similar experience then it is to give advice or tell someone what to do. This demonstrates confidence in their ability to make the right choices. When I feel others are confident in me, it improves the confidence I have in myself. At Junto we believe in sharing experiences rather than giving advice. This same philosophy applies there. When you share an experience similar to what someone is facing, it empowers them to make their own decisions rather than being told what they should or should not do.

In what I have seen and experienced, there is an accountability aspect that comes along with accepting advice. From my experiences, anytime I ask for advice, I feel obligated to take it. When you share experiences, it is not telling someone what they should be doing, it is sharing a story of something that has happened to someone before with no strings attached.

The Importance of Culture Fit

I have recently learned the importance of culture fit. I always knew that it was important, but I didn’t realize how important it was until I started working at Junto. I feel that getting the right culture fit in a person is more important than the skill sets he or she can bring to the company.

In my experience, tasks can be taught, while culture fit cannot. Especially in such a small team, culture is something that needs to come first. I feel that getting the right people on the bus can help drive a company forward to reach new heights. When trying to grow a company, it’s extremely important to have the right people to help the founders do it. I truly feel that certain tasks can be taught and learned, but things like culture fit need to already be there. I believe that having someone who doesn’t fit in with your culture can be a killer for the company.


I have learned more about myself in my first three months at Junto than ever before. This is largely a result of the culture that Junto's co-founders, Raman Chadha and Catherine Jelinek, have built. I feel that my opinions and my input matter to those around me and, because of that, I’m able to push myself forward with confidence. This culture is unlike any that I have experienced. We are not a culture that forces, instead we collaborate and encourage. I’m truly grateful I get to learn and better myself everyday at Junto.

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