Are you starting with culture?

Great cultures

Do you think culture comes first, or after the success?  Dan Gould has had many successes and now that he’s starting a new company, he’s starting with the culture. Just got this photo from him…

You can start with the Culture Blueprint here, or on Amazon.

Your people are not loyal.

Great cultures

Navy Seals are the best bed makers you’ll meet. They learn how to make beds to perfection as part of their training.  If it’s not perfect, then they have to do it over.   

But sometimes they will have do it over again, even if it is perfect. This drove some recruits mad – to the point that they quit. While those who stayed on, did as they were told. Even though it made no sense.  What better way to test true loyalty than to see if someone will follow command, even if it’s completely irrational.

And that’s the distinction.

If your people are truly loyal, they’ll do what you say, even if it doesn’t make sense.  But unless you’re in the Seals, it’s likely that your people won’t do this. They have agency. They have choice of where to work. If what you’re asking them to do makes no sense, then it will frustrate them and they’ll leave.

So perhaps the best thing you can do is drop that word, loyalty. And instead go for engagement. Share the why, allow people to push back. Or go even further – have them write up their job descriptions and their progression plans.

Number 1 rule is to co-create.

If you’re alone, and stressed out, you’re doing it wrong.

We Buy and Sell Time.

48 Hour Day

What business are you really in?

For Zappos, it’s:  “A a customer service company, that happens to sell shoes.”

Other businesses would come to visit our headquarters, hear that phrase and then have an epiphany…

“Oh! I’m in the business of making restaurant owners’ lives easier. I just happen to repair refrigerators.”

For Zappos Insights, we created a experiential belief changing company that happened to sell corporate training.

The more I do culture work, the more I realize that I (and many others) are in the business of buying and selling time.

Think about it…

Cars save you time in traveling. Netflix saved you time in going to the DVD store. Restaurants save you the time of making food, and Chipotle even saves you the prep time so you can eat immediately.

As technology advances, it saves us more and more time.  And advances in medicine and health give us more time on this planet.

This how businesses SELL time.

The same goes for culture work. Yes, it’s about vision, values, communication, leadership… but at the end of the day, all those things simply clear space to do what people are born to do.  Does anyone really want to have meetings, draft reports or work through obstacles?  No, we want to perform our unique talents.

Great culture clears the space and time to do so.

Here’s how, in three steps:

1. Clearing out the time wasters

This can be distractions, inefficient processes, and even certain people who need to leave.

2. Focusing on the core

With all that new time back, it can be easy to fill it back up with new distractions or shiny objects. Getting clear on vision and values is key to stay focused on the core people and core offers.

3. Gaining Leverage

Hiring more people means you are buying time.  More people means you can leverage whatever you’re doing, and servee more clients/customers. You can also off-load more and more that you don’t want to do.  The most efficient leaders are simply having fun everyday because they are master delegators.

This is (above) is businesses BUY time.

So ask yourself:

  1. How does my business save time or create time for people?
  2. What can I stop doing to create more time for myself?

PS – I love saving time with Get Magic (virtual assistants)

3 Conditions for Disruption

Great cultures

3 Conditions for Disruption

These are the conditions for disruption, and I’ll use Uber as the example.

A market is ripe for disruption when:

1. Existing solutions are far below satisfaction

And yet users tolerate existing offers because there is no alternative. Taxis are stereotypically old, smelly cars, with gruff drivers, and high friction payment systems that leave people itching to get out of them. Enter Uber… In dating, people literally say, “I hate this app” but continue to use it for lack of alternatives.

2. System Capacity is massively under-utilized

The basic exchange system of buyers/sellers, creators/consumers is completely inefficient. Before Uber, there were many cars going unused, and many riders who could use a ride, but didn’t want to deal with the hassle of calling a cab, and waiting for an unclear period of time for it to arrive. And there remains a massive number of people who want to take people out, and who want to be taken out.

3. Lack of Transparency, Progress and Control

Trust is created when we feel like we have the real information (e.g. driver reviews), a sense of progress (we see where the car is on the map), and a sense of control (we can cancel the ride if we want). In dating apps there is no accountability, little progress when it feels like there’s only swiping and texting. And very few controls to create and choose experiences.

Next I’ll describe how markets are disrupted.