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

Great cultures ,Hacks

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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The Number 1 Culture Hack

The Interview Hack

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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.

The #1 Culture Hack

Great cultures ,Hacks ,Popular Articles

NOTE: This blog is the #1 overall hack, for the #1 HIRING HACK, please click here.

“Don’t talk about how to hack culture! That will scare corporate clients!”

That’s what people told me.

They were so wrong! The bigger the company, the more they want the hacks. Why? Because hacking is all about empowering anyone to create a shift. Big companies know how hard it is to create massive change. Culture hacks allow change to happen FAST.

First, let’s briefly define what hacking is:

Hacking is finding a vulnerable point in a system, and exploiting that vulnerability to your advantage. The end result is very little investment with maximum gain.

If that made no sense, don’t worry. The hacks work without you needing to know how they work.

I knew about this #1 hack for a long time, but didn’t realize how important it was until I was working with a major company that wanted to implement its core values and they were running into a problem:

People put working hard and driving results over each of those core values. And because of that, they’re not core values. If they were core, they would never be sacrificed.

Changing to a Core values company is a big step. It can take over a year. So how can they change fast?

Well, to diagnose a culture all we have to do is look at their meetings. Meetings are a subset of culture. And the first data within meetings we look at is people’s relationship to time.

  • Are people on time?
  • Do meetings end on time?
  • Do leaders show up late?

Cultures that are on time inherently respect each other. Cultures that start late and go late tolerate behavior that advances the individual over the culture as a whole.

The #1 Culture Hack: Always be on time.

  1. Start meetings on time (even if not everyone is there)
  2. End meetings on time (or 10 minutes early so they have time to walk to their next meeting)
  3. Have the same standard for all people (no matter their rank)

When I was at Zappos, CEO Tony Hsieh was always on time or early. Never ever did I see him late.

This is a very small hack, but it has a massive impact. If you feel resistance from yourself or anyone else, simply run a 2 week experiment where people have to be on time. Then let the results speak for themselves.