The world has turned itself upside down the past two years - there’s no doubt about that. With it, our relationship with work has shifted, team dynamics have changed and how and where we work is up for constant debate. With that in mind, Vimla will be taking the stage to speak about conscious culture and intentional team design - how can we help our people be their best selves so that they design and deliver products and services that are fit for everyone. Sounds easy right? It’s an ambition that most companies strive for, but very few achieve so join Vimla’s talk to see what role you can play in changing the world.
Chief Culture Officer, HoneyBadger
- HoneyBadger: culture design, focus on diversity and inclusion
- Culture Shift
- introvert: the reason I put this on my first slide is I am a big believer in empathetic design, I want to set the stage and put my vulnerability out
- I’m a new mom
- I’m very nervous
What on earth has happened over the past 2 years?
pandemic -> we went through a lot of trauma
protests -> black lives matters protests
climate crisis -> the lockdown show how much pollution there was, all of a sudden we did not hear planes and we heard birth singing
plus a war, energy crisis, fuel poverty, rising cost of living, …
What we learned?
we are able to adapt when we need to
the UK has a problem with race
the status quo is not accepted anymore
Technology fails the global majority every day.
because the people that make the technology are not diverse enough or the minorities in the room do not have the power to change that
diversity is important for business!
-> we are doing this because it is the right thing to do
-> but it is also a good thing to do for the business
=> you will attract more people that will use your product
because of that, we have a huge opportunity to change
The extent of one’s courage or cowardice cannot be measured in ordinary times. All is revealed when something happens.
– Ben Horowitz, …
It is culture.
-> culture is everything that makes you, you.
-> it is those values that determine your behaviour.
How culture works in the marketplace?
It’s how they [employees] behave when no one is looking
– Ben Horowitz, …
that’s why things got better once everyone was working from home
Business Culture: is set by the founder, the CEO, how they behave (if they do insane hours, it sets the expectation)
-> influences the Team Culture
-> and influences Your Culture (how do I fit into the Team Culture)
Inflexible leadership + Flexible employees -> cultural collapse
= decisions happen with little discussion, e.g. they can leave if they want, we are a big organisation, enough other people want to work here (consulting companies, play hard and work hard mantra, no room for cultural innovation)
-> there is not really a culture, it is about keep working
the business is strong, they make money, they are doing well at the expense of employees
Inflexible leadership + Inflexible employees -> fixed
= more of the same, e.g. this works for us, why change?
-> dinosaur mentality
Flexible leadership + Inflexible employees -> transformation
= change is hard, e.g. this is new let’s try it!
stuck in trying something new all the time
all of the changes come from the top, employees just want to do their job
too much change
most of us are in this situation
top down approach without listening to the teams
Flexible leadership + Flexible employees -> adapt
= change is little and often, e.g. the team are saying they need this, let’s try
lot’s of small experiments
this is the sweet spot, this is where we want to get to
- cultural collapse = culture doesn't exist - fixed = never change - transform = change is unnecessarily hard - adapt = change is relatively easy
How do we get to adapt?
we need to flip the script
we need to put ourselves at the heart of the culture
use ourselves, Your Culture, to inform the Team Culture to then build the Business Culture
=> culture does not need to change, it needs to adapt to individual culture
Core & Flex
you have to know your core -> take the things that make you, you => that’s why I put my vulnerabilities at the start of this presentation
know your flex: the things I can be flexible about => the things that make other people comfortable, give and take in order to help others feel comfortable
it is only when I stopped drinking that I realised how many business decisions are taken at the pub after work
hold on, we should stop this as XYZ is not present
when there is a conflict between someone’s Core and my Flex, this is actually a positive conflict -> it allows to have a conversation and to adapt
How to bring the individual up?
we need to understand how to be an ally
User Manual -> manual of me -> who am I
- what you have in common but more importantly what we don’t have in common -> influences team behaviours
how to get there -> we need to start creating safe places
this is not about being able to say anything
but making sure people feel safe when they have questions
celebrate micro cultures
-> different teams have different people -> different cultures vs homogeneous business culture
over communicate to other teams
- this is our culture, this is how we work and how we get things done -> team leadership becomes very important
=> this is how we get to Business Culture
Business Values are important
e.g. we are not bad, we do good work
but they need to be flexible enough to allow Teams and Individuals to fill in the values
e.g. this is what good work means to us, I can do good work when I start at 10 am
Culture Fit vs Culture Add
- culture fit: adopting people that might be diverse but with the same background, think the same
- culture add: specifically, look at diversity, think differently, not the same universities, different backgrounds -> challenge the culture
=> start reviewing our hiring process
thinking about who is on our hiring panel, are we asking the same questions to all candidates, do we do blind hiring, …
otherwise, our unconscious bias will influence the hiring
ex. women are less likely to apply for jobs when the salary is not mentioned
who is leaving, when are they leaving, …
-> you can’t solve a problem you don’t know exists
What does culture really mean?
creating an environment that helps us change the world!