More than ever, a company’s culture is an essential element of its performance. Well anchored, it’s a facilitator of daily life that makes it possible to direct people towards the good actions for the company. To better understand what the levers of a culture can be, I share below a quick overview of the culture analysis framework we’ve made last year with the management team. The objective was to develop people engagement, create an attractive environment and focus on team efficiency, through maturity and autonomy.
Our first impression was that over the years, there has been a loss of culture within the teams. The original vision, the original spirit, was a bit lost due to the quick growth of the company, natural turnover, and the many changes that have occured in the organization over the years. We also truly believe that the culture is the foundation of autonomy and we needed to build an ecosystem to help the teams gain in maturity.
To deliver this analysis, we defined a list of levers that could help support our culture, and designed a model to explore each of them further. Pretty simple, this model allowed us to have a full insight and make the right decisions.
It is composed of a first essential part to align everyone on the same language describing the lever:
- The name of the Lever
- One related motto to well define the main idea behind it
- Its definition, based on concrete and short sentences
- And finally, the benefits we expect by acting on this lever
Then, it presents a second part to put the lever in our context:
- What do we perform well related to this lever?
- What should we improve or start doing?
- Our estimated level of progress on this lever?
Based on that, the model offers a last part allowing to define the improvement area:
- The action plan we have to take to improve our level on this lever
- The short-term ones and the medium ones
- The level of difficulty to improve this lever
Defining these levels of progress and difficulty has allowed us to prioritize these several levers to maximize the impact. To illustrate, without going into too much detail, here are some of the levers we analyzed and the benefits we could expect.
Group values and vision
Together around a common vision
- Get more adoption
- Engage people to result
- Drive actions based on the values/vision
- Remove doubts, get a refuge
- Recruitment based on these values
Autonomy & Accountability
Act for the company’s good
- More engagement by responsibilisation
- Less inertia into the processes
- Better decisions
People are our engine
- Grow with a cohesive and lined up management staff
- Dedicate time to fluidize flows and adjust organization
- Have great relays
Transparency across the group
- Right decisions based on information
- Develop belonging & remove frustrations
Test and measurement culture
Test, measure and learn
- Analyze deliveries impacts
- Promote ambitious initiatives & risk taking
- Decisions taking based on fact
- Enable continuous improvement
- Motivated teams
- Increase consideration between teams
- Pride about work done and company
Feedback is a gift
- Contribute to a 360 communication
- Continuous (self) improvement
- Clarify points of view and statements
In addition, one of the main pain points we identified, was the backlog prioritization within and between the product teams. Even if all the product teams objectives are aligned with the OKR principle, on a day to day basis, there are too many priorities to manage and it’s not an easy part to align the teams together. Some colleagues of mine started thinking on aligning the teams based on functional scenarios. The main ideas are:
- Define the main scenarios, cross products, allowing to reach the objectives at a company level (decrease the production time of XX by YY, …)
- Sort these scenarios by priority with executive management
- Put in a matrix all the product teams (in line) and the prioritized scenarios (in column)
- Define for each scenario, the weight for each product based on the impact on the team to deliver what is needed (on a scale from 0 to 3).
This work, that can seems pretty simple, allows to see two important informations: the contention of each product following the scenarios prioritization, and the total weight of each scenario. This helps having a higher view and taking decision (priorization, resources allocation, …) at a company level.
Finally, to be able to drive our action plan based on facts, we put in place a feedback system. It allows us to measure the evolution based on the actions we’ve started. It’s an essential tool to quickly gather the feeling about the changes, follow the evolution over time, and adjust the action plan when needed.