Friday, 3 October 2014

#The45Plus Culture: What Would Google Do?

The level of attention that organisations pay to the culture they develop varies a great deal. Culture is something that top performing teams consider very seriously and go to great lengths to cultivate the right environment: From the hiring process, day to day interactions, how office space is designed and how the word culture is defined. This post looks at a few examples of this.

Yes Scotland Vs #The45Plus Culture: Noble Cause
Dave Logan has studied some of the worlds top performing teams and has identified that companies that have the ability to change the world they do so by;

1) Identifying a set of core values and then
2) Align those values with a "Noble Cause"

The Yes Scotland Campaign was a Stage 5 Team and Campaign
We can see this at work in the SNP's "Yes" campaign, shared values was replaced by the "Shared Identity" of being Scottish. People from all backgrounds came together for the "noble cause" of making Scotland an Independent country.

Culture is Priority #1
We can see how important this is when we compare the unity of the #VoteYes campaign with how #The45Plus hashtag has fared in comparison. #The45plus has gone from trending on the first 2 days without any hierarchy or "Order," to it being the cause of a good deal of argument and division, thanks to our warring politicians. 

The reason that #The45Plus hashtag was buzzing was because from an organisational culture perspective, the culture was 100% ideal. That's not the case with #The45plus at the moment. Here are some experts on the topic of culture: 

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast, technology for lunch, and products for dinner, and soon thereafter everything else too.” Why? Because company culture... guides employee decisions about both technical business decisions and how they interact with others. Good culture creates an internal coherence in actions taken by a very diverse group of employees. Peter Drucker

"Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture was just one among several important elements in any organization's makeup and success — along with vision, strategy, marketing, financials, and the like... I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn't just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value." Lou Grestner, Former IBM CEO 

"When I talk to entrepreneurs now, before I get too carried away with the idea, I want to probe them about their vision, mission and values. Ideas are cheap – and tasty too. Culture eats them even before its pre-breakfast morning run" Bill Aulet MIT

Why People Leave: Confused & Uninspired
Hands up if you checked in on the #VoteYes hashtag at least 3-4 times a day? Why was this? Was it because of the politics? Because of the humour? The gossip to see what mistakes #BetterTogether had made and what people were saying about it all?

Do you check the #The45plus or any of the many other fragmented variations of this hashtag/movement? Are as many of your friends on #the45plus hashtag as regularly? If not, is it because it maybe not quite as diverse and fun as #VoteYes at the moment? Not quite the same unity and sense of purpose?

Have people checked the discussions out on #theplus45 hashtag but then left again for the same reasons that Erica Anderson has identified that people leave their jobs?

Top talent leave an organization when they’re badly managed and the organization is confusing and uninspiring.  This in how Erica Anderson 

Why People will Stay: Deliver Happiness
Everything in the above statement can be avoided entirely and/or be resolved by an organisation with a positive culture… they can also be greatly compounded by a negative one.

Zappos is an organisation the takes their culture very seriously… so seriously that Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, has written a book about it; Delivering Happiness and every year Zappos creates a Culture Book, with employees ideas about culture.Zappos Core Values guides everything from hiring decisions to performance reviews. - the Zappos Family.New employees go through a 4 week customer loyalty boot camp. When it’s over, they’re offered $2,000 to quit. Approximately 2 to 3% of new hires accept this offer, 

“It weeds out those who are not committed to the company” Tony Hsieh said and is the result of lessons he learned at LinkExchange (an advertising network he co-founded and sold to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998). “The company was fun when it was just 10 people, by the time it reached 100, it was a place I personally didn’t want to go to work at anymore, and that was a weird feeling because this was a company I had co-founded. At Zappos, I didn’t want to make the same mistake again.” Tony Hsieh

Establishing the Right Culture
Google is regularly voted as the #1 Top company to work at for job satisfaction on lists compiled by organisational culture researchers and business publications. Here's what employees have to say on the topc;

"According to employees the company has created a culture that is high on trust, low on politics, great at sharing resources and sharing resources, wealth and the work is full of meaning and significance."  

My main area of interest and the reason for being a part of #VoteYes and #The45plus community is because I would like to see education reform. 

I find it interesting that the word “culture” is mentioned 20 times in this 12 page document. When we compare this with OFSTED’s 78 page Common Inspection Framework where “Culture” is mentioned 3 times.

Or when we compare Google emplyees experiences of high trust and low politics with the Governments culture in education as the Education Minister tells his staff to 

"Stop whinging about being under resourced" or that "It's very difficult to fire teachers [Head Teachers] should spend less time  justifying under-performance when they should be spending time challenging under-performance and looking for reasons to perform better"

All of which kind of makes you wonder, if #The45plus was to develop a culture would it seek to replicate the "High Trust, Low Politics" of one of the best places to work for? Or the kind of "Stop Whinging" culture that Westminster sets, an organisation that is not trusted and seems to like bombs more than bairns? I don't know about you but it kind of makes you wonder,

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