HOW TO START DEVELOPING YOUR BUSINESS
Try selling it to the employees!
For some, the sky is the limit! For some, there are no limits. With culture hacking, ask yourself: How can I stay in the race? How can I beat the competition? How can I develop alongside a rapidly evolving world?
The old marketing tricks are a thing of the past. Hard selling and advertising are dead. What do you turn to now? Learn the art of culture hacking.
To hack means to seek and exploit weaknesses in a system. Unlike computer hackers, whose activities associate with negative connotations such as the disabling of a system, the culture hackers aim to figure out what can be improved in a work environment. They explore and develop it.
Hacking is democratic by nature and culture hacking is a new visionary branch in a sense that it encourages disruption of firmly held beliefs.
It also reconnects people with why they started working with your organization in the first place. See what happens when you succeed in changing how you see yourself − not so much how others value you. Move away from the outer world and target groups. Start from yourself – from your behavior, attitudes and thinking.
START FROM YOUR CULTURE
Start from the core of the business. Start changing the way the employees think and feel. Use the chaos, problems and challenges that are present to your advantage. It gives you the opportunity to acknowledge them and turn them into something that will never be looked at as a problem again.
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It is easier said than done when it comes to the man’s biggest fear − change. Paradoxically, culture is opposed to change, as it strives to tighten together purposes, values, and behaviors ro form an identity. Changing culture involves “changing me”.
However, we are talking about an art of change. In order to be successful, you have to design it and explore its creative aspects. You have to know your business as an entity so you can creatively approach the problems and solutions. Brainstorming can fountain ideas that express and reflect the needs of the company, so you can systematically design and implement team practices and commitments that yield desired results. In other word, it is about hacking your culture.
Meet your culture and the change can start. Engage in activities in a spirit of playfulness and exploration – try walking in other peoples’ shoes and getting out of a box. A change in the environment changes the mindset.
It does not happen overnight, seeing it’s a process, not an event. So don’t try to fight existing reality. Think about culture hacking as a new model that needs to be built to replace the one that is out of date.
LET’S CULTURE HACK!
The new business model relies on internal advertising and encompasses the three targets: Purpose, Company Culture, and Media.
Purpose – Why are you doing what you do? Do not think about the product but about the purpose or idea.
Company Culture – is built on actions that remind people every day of their purpose at their workplace. If we think of a purpose as a set of beliefs, then the culture should be the expression of those beliefs. The message of your purpose and culture should be passed to the outside work through the logo of your company, ads, and social media.
Media – Anything from advertising, PR, earned media to paid media… “Purpose” and the company’s “Culture” pass on the messages of all communication, social interaction and points of contact with the outside world. From your logo to your ads, Social Media, company jargon widely used, etc. It all reinforces each other.
Awaken the giant. Embrace it. As much as we would like the world to follow an ordered narrative, the reality is that there is messiness to everyday life. Our challenge is not to ignore the fragments but rather to piece them together so that we can understand the cultural truths that made us who we are today. Although sometimes you may think that we live in a messy world of ramblings and mishaps, it is still deeply meaningful.
Our cultural worlds display the entanglement of people, things, rituals, codes, conventions, stories, and rules, which shape our lives. You have to do more than solve a few simple formulas to get the answer.
Our nature is multi-layered which requires solutions that are not so simple. We have to look at each layer individually. Only then, can we get a real sense of what is going on.
CULTURE-HACKING AS A WAY OF LIFE
A true culture hacker, or culture designer, uses observation and empathy to sense cracks within the cultural system. Culture hacking has been around as early as the 20th century with Dadaism. Some of the most well-known culture hackers are Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela.
Culture hacking by its default cannot be pleasant. It can create tension because of conflicting ideas. However, all of that could serve as leverage for the hack. Think of culture hack as an artful intervention. If it is successful, it can have a tremendous impact. It can influence the culture of a whole organization. Moreover, just because a culture hacker saw that tiny crack and used it. He hacked it. In other words, he used a crack to create activities that lead to events that had the potential to change idea or assumption.
Being a culture hacker is a 24/7 experience; it involves many things. For example, you have to be curious. If you wonder about things in the world, it will lead you to ask questions even in the most obvious experience and everyday things.
Understanding culture means that we have to become fine-tuned to what’s (really) going on around us, all of the time. To this extent, culture hacking becomes a living, not a 9-to-5 activity.
It is more about focusing on small things more frequently rather than only trying to tackle and change the big things.
It is crucial to rediscover our fascination with what we know, with what is familiar, instead of taking everyday actions for granted. We should try looking for magic in the mere details because that can help us to see more and think about the bigger picture. Ask simple questions – why did it happen? Moreover, why is that the way it is?
Culture hacking is a small act, and you can try using it to affect cultural change. We give you three examples that work:
Try changing the words you use to talk about the culture of your business – Instead of talking about “creating culture” talk about how you will involve everyone to “co-create” culture.
Survey more often – Think about surveying your staff quarterly instead on a yearly basis. Alternatively, try doing pulse surveys at different times to spot issues more quickly.
Create more visual environments – try printing out some charts and diagram to tap on the wall on your next meeting, instead of just talking things through.
Smiles in your office are always welcome, so we also suggest some happiness hacks to try. Once you get started, you can come up with some of your own and adjust it to your working environment. It is fun and an inspiring thing to do. Using some of these outside-of-the-box methods, you can give your team a smile and give your company a productivity boost. Productivity also means profit. Just to let you know that happy workers are 12 percent more productive according to research at the University of Warwick. We give you five examples of things that can improve the mood of your workers and make them more productive.
Happy people work harder
The University of Warwick conducted an experiment that looked closely that productivity and what makes people more productive. They found that happiness increases productivity by 12%.
There were over 700 total participants. Some of the participants were selected to receive emotional manipulation. They were given the choice of watching a clip of stand-up comedian, Bill Bailey or a free piece of chocolate and fruit. The placebogroup watched a different clip that didn’t have the comedy like the later and didn’t receive anything such as chocolate or fruit.
Each participant had to then complete a timed task. The participants who were given the chocolate and watched the comedic video clip, happily obliged tocompleting the timed test and did so successfully.
You do not have tobuy a chocolate fountain, but it would be helpful to have sweet treats around the office. But as the afternoons grow longer, your employees will appreciate something small to boost their happiness and well-being.
Most employees want to be proud of their company, and they would like to work for one that gives back to the world. Make sure your company is more socially responsible and in touch with the local community – your employees will appreciate it.
Have you experienced the sweet feeling you get after you have done something great for another person? It is the kind of happiness you want to empower your team with.
Get involved with the local community and find ways to help. You can start a volunteer drive, or even offer volunteer days off. You do not have to be a charity to make a difference, and your do-gooder employees will likely feel good as well.
- At Dropbox, they invented a week where everybody drops what he or she is doing and they dedicated the week to work on showing off cool hacks. That allows employees to be creative without any restrictions, and they might even think of something cool that they can launch, like a product or a feature. A weeklong unrestricted hack-a-thon is cool, right?
- Food on Fridays: LinkedIn pays a bunch of food trucks to come out to their headquarters every Friday and feed the employees. The lines for food trucks get very long, but that is when the fun begins. Competitions and games are happening in the queue line while everybody waits. Whoever wins one of these, gets to cut in front of the line.
- You can find a detailed example of hacking practice and more at http://bizculturehackers.com/
It is not easy to get your employees to share your enthusiasm if you are the CEO of the company, especially when a lot of them are making less money. However, the CEO of Zappos explained how an emphasis on corporate culture can lead to unprecedented success. He made a few changes in company:
Have you seen homicide occurring in your organization? How do you get a group of folks to learn quickly about each other’s common interests?
CONSIDER THE ICEBREAKER TECHNIQUE
Sharing information about yourself is a great way to break the ice in your company. If everybody says a bit about himself, it will make everybody else fell better and like sharing. That is also a way to get to know how people think and what are their opinions. For example, you can ask them what they think of some statement and see to what degree people in the group agree or disagree on something.
It is also an excellent way to connect people together since they will visually see who has their common interests and opinions.
Here’s one example of how it works:
Choose a center of the space. That represents constellation or the Sun. That location means that someone agrees with a situation 100 percent. You can create dashed lines around the Sun with blue paint tape. Lines should be one-meter increments away from the Sun.
Everyone should stand around the Sun and say a statement. For example, I like chocolate. When the statement is spoken out loud, people should move closer or further away from the Sun depending on how much they agree or disagree.
Once everyone has placed themselves, ask some or all of the participants why he or she have placed themselves where he or she are.
Organizations that manifest openness and transparency can build a culture of collaboration and trust. That leads to engagement of employees, their ability to learn and overall capacity to adapt change. Cultures that continuously learn are superior to others because they have the capacity to change readily and adapt to it.
Although companies can hire consultants and purchase expensive training programs, the fact is that improvement must come from the inside. It is important that a firm has a self-renewing capacity to create spontaneously functions, structures and processes that are responsive to a fluctuating business landscape.
Zappos is a good example of a company that partakes in culture hacking. Instead of believing culture should be turned down, they believe it should be co created by everyone. That is why the organization as a whole creates an environment where all the employees can be on the same page. Also, there are constant feedback loops that mean ongoing change and culture building.
CREATING LASTING BUSINESS AGILITY IN YOUR ORGANIZATION – AGILE ADOPTION
Agile adoption means a change to the organizational culture by adopting a set of values and principles that require a change in someone’s behavior and the culture of the business.
Agile practices have at least a 90-day period for “authorized experimentation.” Leaders should invite everyone in the organization to participate.
It starts with an “all hands” (open space) meeting asking for engagement. What will happen is a huge mix of people and ideas. At the first open space meeting, everyone will find out that another one will take place in exactly 90 days. So everyone learns that his or her organization is serious about change, inspecting results and making adjustments.
Teams “suspend disbelief” after that first open space meeting, pretending practices can work. They can experiment using any practice that aligns with the agile manifesto.
If their practice does not align with the agile manifesto, then it is not a valid practice they play during the 90-day period. However, other than this constraint and the three months time, there is no firm prescription of practices. Teams find themselves practice that work.
The emphasis is on learning. Teams find out what agile practices are and how to use them in the best way that fits the organization’s goals, current position, and context.
After the 90 days are up, that period of open space experimentation ends. This is a look-back and a look-ahead. The previous chapter is closed and a new chapter of testing has opened. By that second meeting, teams have unanimous agreement on what is working well, and how they want to work. Moreover, they start noticing what has to change.
A massively high volume of self-organization occurs up and down the organization. The entire company begins a shift – away from mediocrity and towards excellence via continuous improvement.
PEOPLE DON’T BUY YOUR PRODUCT, BUT INSTEAD THE STORIES ATTACHED TO IT
Make culture your competitive advantage. It is as simple as that.