Most executives would love for their company to have a culture that is admired, sought out by top talent and that provides their customers with an amazing service experience.
But it often feels like there is a cloak of mystery that surrounds companies that achieve great culture status. Often these companies come with cool and quirky tech products and are located in corporately exotic locations such as Silicon Valley, which makes it feel unobtainable for those who have less glamorous products and locations.
Even when you embark on changing your culture you can quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of change being suggested…change your recruitment process, train your leadership team, implement new HR policies and redefine your values. This list can become endless, and then you are told that it’s going to be a tough transition and that it may take years to achieve!
It is no wonder many companies either make little progress when it comes to truly improving their culture or become so overwhelmed they don’t even start. After all there is often hardly enough time and resources to dedicate to the core functions and projects of a company, so how can you truly commit that amount of focus to something that is difficult to measure a return and hard to quantify its success.
It is for these reasons that companies need an alternative way to create a great culture. Today everything needs to be more flexible and the strategy can’t be cumbersome or it will become out of date before its implemented. More and more companies are adopting the agile methodologies to their projects and lean start-ups are now seen as the way to go with product innovations and new model building. This requires constant test and measure and readjustment, which allows expensive mistakes to be avoided and provides an alternative to embarking on long-term projects that don’t end up yielding results. This is the basis for a new approach to culture change – culture hacking.
It’s not only an alternative; it’s actually the most effective and efficient approach. It requires minimal leadership involvement and much of it doesn’t cost anything at all. Traditional culture change methods that you may have come across can produce results when they are undertaken in their entirety but all to often CEOs don’t have the time to dedicate themselves and their teams to implementing a strategy where they will have to learn a complete methodology and then apply it. Also it can be challenging gaining positive momentum on such long-term strategic change; when it comes to changing anything to do with people it can take a long time. Culture change requires moving people’s minds and their behaviours, which takes consistency and consistency takes time.
Culture hacking has been adopted by many of the top culture companies around the world. In essence culture hacking comes from the same approach as computer hacking. Computer hackers search through a system’s code looking for any weaknesses; it then exploits that weakness and creatively changes the code to perform differently.
In the same way, culture hacking also searches for weaknesses within a company’s culture and then engages some creativity to identify a better solution before continuing on to the next weakness. You see there are literally hundreds of changes you could make to your company that impact culture.
Culture hacking enables you to identify the changes that will create the biggest impact with the least resources. This enables a CEO to make immediate changes that get quick results, which in turn makes it easier to gain momentum and the support of the company’s Board.
Over the coming months I will be posting some great examples of how culture hacking comes to life in the workplace and sharing successes that I have had so far with this fast-track methodology for cultural change.