How to be “referable.”

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It’s the golden chalice of marketing – when you don’t have to even market your products and services. Your customers do it for you.

The early history of Zappos is based on this. At a time way before social media, the company decided to spend money not on marketing, but on a remarkable experience so that people spread the word.

So what makes a person or an organization referable? You may be surprised how simple it is.

The technique comes from Dan Sullivan‘s book, The Gap. He says referable means the best people say the best things about you. And here’s how you do it:

  • Show up on time
  • Do what you say
  • Finish what you start
  • Say please and thank you

Yup. That’s it.

You can have the fanciest branding and marketing, or the most well developed core values, but without this, it’s all wasted.

Is Culture Overrated?

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Fast company is saying culture is overrated. As with many articles, it begs the question I ask my audiences…

What is culture?

I’m sure many people are confused by this, considering Webster’s dictionary recently said it’s the most looked up word in the English language.

The article directly relates culture work to employee happiness. If that’s your definition of optimal workplace culture, then yes, culture is not only overrated, it’s dangerous. It’s like being parents who think they have total responsibility for their kids being happy, when it reality it’s their responsibility to develop people who can make it in the world.

Strong cultures are not about happiness, they are about engagement. And strong cultures are simply in alignment. That means what they believe, say and do are all consistent and evident. They hire for it, fire for it, and reward by it.

The Culture Coffee Hack

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culture-coffee

In the last blog post I talked about how drugs could impact corporate culture. Well, it turns out the best culture drug is very available and very legal. Most people actually use it, but I wouldn’t say they use it correctly. It’s called coffee.

Quick story: There was a company from Mexico that visited the Zappos Insights program. They saw the popcorn machine in the front and said that’s the culture hack they’re taking back home. I thought, “What?! You can’t think a popcorn machine will help culture.” Well, I was wrong. It became a central hub of conversation. A group of people took care of it, another group operated it, another group brought seasonings and flavors. Talk about co-creation around ritual!

I knew coffee could be a great ritual when I read about how Apple does it. But I was really happy to see a service bring it all together: Bloom.  They were launching a startup, and then…

To spice things up and quench a mad thirst for delicious coffee, we created a coffee corner in our office. Soon, we were brewing fresh coffee everyday with our coworkers. We knew more about who we were working with plus what they were working on.

The coffee culture we built not only made us more effective at our jobs, but made everyone’s days more enjoyable.

Now they have a service around providing quality coffees.  And it’s not just the quality, it’s the ritual, it’s the process. And of course, coming together.

And then there’s the Bulletproof coffee phenomenon I’ve talked about before. I’ve introduced it to people and went from six cups of coffee a day, down to one of Bulletproof.

While great coffee won’t solve all culture problems, I’ve definitely seen how weak cultures almost always serve weak coffee. (I’ve even seen them charge for it!)

If you do get into coffee, I recommend checking out how to hack the coffee experience.  

Let me know how it goes!  Robert@CultureBlueprint.com

 

 

The Top 7 Blog Posts at RobertRichman.com

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(This is a pinned post. Scroll down to see additional new posts)

Everything You Know About Change Management is Wrong

How Much Should You Pay for a Speech?

What You Really Want is Clarity (and how to get it)

The Number 1 Culture Hack

The Interview Hack

What I Learned About Culture From Stand-Up Comedy

The Truth About Fear and Comfort Zones

The Fastest Way to Change Beliefs

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Culture is driven by our values. And our values are shaped by our beliefs about how the world works.

Have you ever tried to talk someone out of their beliefs and into yours? How’d that work for you?

Right.

If you want to have any chance of changing your team’s beliefs, you can’t tell them what to think. Our beliefs are shaped by our experiences. So if you want to change beliefs, give people a new experience.

What experience would demonstrate the value you want? Whether it’s service, excellence, innovation or any other value – design an experience.  There are stories about this in The Culture Blueprint.

Meditate on that question. Use the ultimate culture shaping experience with Open Space Technology, or I can help you do it.

The Interview Hack

Great cultures ,Popular Articles

interviewing hackWe’ve all had it happen…

Someone does amazingly well in an interview and then they turn out to be a not-so-great hire and they don’t help the culture.

So how can we prevent that?

When you’re clear on your core values, you can then design interview questions based on those values. Ideally they’re questions that don’t necessarily correspond to one’s résumé. Instead they feel out how well the person actually lives the values and has a desire to live by them.

You can see how Zappos does it here.

Or check this out for how MindValley does it.

Of course, I’m a big fan of upgrading the team you already have. If you’d like to upgrade your team, or take a high-performing team to the next level, let’s talk.