Monthly Culture Inspiration: March 2018

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

Visual: CultureIQ's 60+ Tips for Strengthening Company Culture

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 8.10.16 AM.png
Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 8.10.34 AM.png

CultureIQ pulled together this PDF guide based on tips they've heard from their network of culture experts, including from my friends at August, LifeLabs Learning (see below also!), and LiveGrey. The tips are grouped by theme (mission and values, collaboration, work environment, etc.). This is a great comprehensive guide for ideas any organization can experiment with.

Book: The Year Without Pants: and the Future of Work by Scott Berkun

My friend Megan Wheeler recommended this book about remote work to me. She said it was equal parts educational and entertaining. Megan is a leadership trainer and coach with LifeLabs Learning, and she specializes in remote work-- so I knew if she recommended it, it would be worth a read. Scott Berkun is an author and designer who went to work remotely for a year as a manager at Automattic (creators of The Year Without Pants is his behind-the-scenes memoir. In addition to insights about remote work, Berkun shares great insights about culture in general:

  • "There are many theories about why teams of four to six work best, but the simplest is ego. With about five people, there's always enough oxygen in the room. It means on average that every person gets to speak once every five times, which is enough for everyone to feel they are at the center of things."
  • "The responsibility of people in power is to continually eliminate useless traditions and introduce valuable ones. An organization where nothing ever changes is not a workplace but a living museum."
  • "During my year at Automattic, no one ever yelled at me. I was never in a meeting that made me angry or want to storm out. The worst kinds of workplace moments simply weren't there. You can get only so angry at someone typing at you. People were polite, almost painfully so. But the best things about workplaces, like sharing an epiphany after working for hours at a whiteboard, were gone too."
  • "The most dangerous tradition we hold about work is that it must be serious and meaningless. We believe that we're paid money to compensate us for work not worthwhile on its own. People who are paid the most are often the most confused, for they know in their hearts how little meaning there is in what they do, for others and for themselves."

It's a quick and enjoyable read, but also reveals how Automattic is challenging our assumptions about how work has to be.

Article to Bookmark: How Warby Parker Makes Every Point In Its Employee Lifecycle Extraordinary

I love First Round Review. I've included articles by them here, here, and here. I highly recommend signing up for their newsletter. This article is about Warby Parker's founders, and why they believe "that creating an extraordinary employee life cycle is just as important as developing a killer product." For new employee onboarding, they "designed a custom helium balloon that features an illustration of a steak with a pair of glasses on. It says: “Nice to meat you!” These balloons are affixed to every newcomer’s desk for their first couple weeks. Other employees are conditioned to treat the balloons as beacons so they’ll introduce themselves and strike up conversations with newbies." The founders still have a weekly all-hands meeting, even though they have hundreds of employees now. "Monthly — and definitely quarterly — meetings are too spread out, in Gilboa’s opinion. When you’re building an ambitious company, things change much faster than that. It’s easy for divisions to lose visibility into each other’s work." There are many more great suggestions in the article.