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Chief Rebel

What "Culture" Means to Us

What does workplace culture mean to us? For us, it’s not about ping-pong tables and Friday beers (as great as those things are!). It’s about how we communicate and collaborate with each other. It’s about the feeling of efficiently solving problems together, shooting ideas at each other, fast feedback loops – that feeling you get when things just flow. This feeling was what made our CEO, Axel Lindberg, develop an interest for team growth, collaboration, leadership and development early in his career.

At the end of 2018, he and four other industry veterans joined forces and established Chief Rebel with the intention of building a high performing team that would make great games by acting in line with a model from “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and “The Culture Code” books.

The model highlights the importance of building trust with each other; being open and vulnerable is what allows team members to feel safe to bring up your opinions, speak up when you disagree and admit your own failures without assuming the other party has ill intent. 

Only by having a team that works towards the same direction and commits to the plan is it possible to hold each other accountable when someone fails. Even if having a tough conversation is scary, we believe every team needs to remain accountable.

All of this is not for individual gain; we put our ego aside and focus on our collective result, which in our case is making beautiful, engaging games. 

Scaling a good workplace culture is challenging. When your team grows, certain adjustments are needed. In less than five years, we have grown to about 50 people. That has led us to face issues such as ownership and accountability within our teams. It’s normal to face challenges as a growing studio, what matters is whether the team is able look at those challenges and solve issues as they come up, without looking at the other side.

The culture we want to build is the foundation and glue of our teams, and we constantly put in effort and time to build our teams sustainably.

Game Developer reading a book titled The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

For us, it's not about ping-pong tables and Friday beers. It's about how we communicate and collaborate with each other.

Here are some ways we walk the talk:

  • We screen for culture fit or culture add during our recruitment process.

  • Every new rebel gets two books that explain the model of our culture, to read during working hours during their onboarding.

  • Every week, we have a culture meeting. Each team of 4-5 people gathers and uses the tools available to open up about vulnerabilities, to build trust with each other.

  • Development training: we have sent the whole company to a 10 days training about leadership and communication skills, to give everyone the tools necessary to have efficient meetings, good feedback loops and effective collaboration. 

This is what sets Chief Rebel apart, and this is why we are rebels. We are carving our own path to success, and we do things our own way: through trust, openness, conflicts, commitment and accountability.

Hand pulling the Culture Code book of a shelf