Monthly Culture Inspiration: June 2017

Every month, I post three types of culture inspiration: a visual, a book, and an article to bookmark.

Visual: RSA Animates the Future of Work

RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has a wonderful series of animated videos about several topics including the science of persuasion and where good ideas come from. In this video on the future of work, Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, imagines what might be possible if more organizations encouraged an open, collaborative, and flexible working culture. 

I particularly love this drawing of what it feels like to look at your inbox on a Sunday afternoon:

And this one of Darth Vader saying “Join me in the office, Dave,” while Dave vows to never go back to the office full time, and instead to keep doing remote work:

Book: Under New Management by David Burkus

Rare is the management book in which every single chapter has actionable ideas. David Burkus, an associate professor of leadership and innovation, has written Under New Management, a playbook for the new rules of management. His ideas may seem counterintuitive (e.g. “Outlaw email”), but he backs them up with solid research and examples from real organizations who are using these methods (a French tech company mandated no email, and found that employees loved it). Each chapter details one specific action managers can take. For example: “Put customers second;” “Lose the standard vacation policy;” “Close open offices;” and “Celebrate departures.” These ideas may seem wacky now, but I have a feeling in 10 years, they’ll be fairly normal.

Article to Bookmark: The 9 questions that uncover the most surprising insights from employees

Know Your Company is a software tool that helps organizations and employers get to know their employees better. In this post, CEO Claire Lew shares three years-worth of findings, based on data from 15,000 employees in 15+ countries. Here are the three that most surprised me:

  • "67% of employees said, “Yes, I’m afraid of something at work.” This result caught me off guard (almost 70% of employees are afraid of something at work!) but it goes to show the importance of showing vulnerability as a leader and digging deep to uncover the areas of the company (or people in the company) that employees may feel intimidated by.”
  • "81% of employees said, “Yes, there’s a part of the company I wish I were able to interact with more.” An overwhelming majority of the employees we surveyed feel silo-ed. By asking this question, you’ll learn exactly which parts of the company they’d like more interaction with, be it a specific department or office."
  • "76% of employees said, “Yes, there’s an area outside my current role where I feel I could be contributing.” This result is surprising, considering that most managers feel their employees are slammed and are already at capacity. Thus, this question all the more important to ask: You’ll learn very tactically where your employees want to contribute more to help push your business even further."

Even if you don’t survey your entire organization about these questions, it might be worth asking your colleagues or teammates a version of them.