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How Do You Build a Culture of Healthy Debate?

How to shift a culture

If you want to shift a culture the most effective way to do it is to change who you hire. 

It’s far easier to hire for traits you need than to try to transform a person who doesn’t have them into someone that does. The more people in an organization that successfully demonstrate a trait, the easier it is for others to emulate and adopt it.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How Do You Build a Culture of Healthy Debate?

How Do You Build a Culture of Healthy Debate?

https://scottberkun.com/2013/how-to-build-a-culture-of-healthy-debate/

scottberkun.com

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Key Ideas

Better at challenging assumptions

Some people ask more questions, have more doubts, and are willing to act on them. They are harder to manage since they naturally challenge authority, but if you want assumptions challenged that includes the assumption of hierarchy. 

If healthy debate is encouraged the results will be the best synthesis of different assumptions.

It takes great confidence

If you as the manager continually demonstrate that you are comfortable being challenged, or yielding your idea to a superior one suggested by a colleague or subordinate, everyone who works for you will emulate that behavior

If you dismiss challenges or yell at people who challenge you, the culture of fear your behavior creates will dominate no matter who you hire or how great you proclaim it is to challenge assumptions.

Separate people from their ideas

Healthy debate is easy if no one is taking the results personally. 

Most heated debates involve people who have trouble separating their opinions from their identity. If I draw what turns out to be a bad idea on a whiteboard, in a healthy culture it’s reinforced that the idea is lame, but I’m not. I can still be smart and valuable. 

Challenging assumptions

  • Postmortem / Debrief: after every project, a long conversation should take place where people review what happened, what assumptions were made, what went well and what could have gone better. 
  • Experimental attitude:  “Let’s try working this way for a week and see what happens.” The continual exposure to the cycle of “assumption, test, learn, repeat” diminishes fear around asking questions and raises everyone’s comfort with making, challenging and testing assumptions.
  • Discuss books about thinking: Are Your Lights On? is a favorite for inspiring people to think more critically, and humorously, about everything.

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Purpose

The foundation of a good culture is clearly stating the purpose - why something is (or isn't) taking place.

While it is important to share the importance of a project, we should not forget to identify the part is can play in our team's personal development. So, for each project, establish the main goal of the team and identify what everyone hopes to get out of the project.

Roles & Responsibility

Clearly defining roles & responsibilities can help foster good communication. Then people can know exactly what they are accountable for and what not. They will also be able to identify whom to ask their questions when they appear.

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Assembling the Team

... that's capable of executing in a remote setup:

  • Hire doers: they will get stuff done even if they are working from a secluded island.
  • Hire people you can trust....
Software/Tools

In a remote team, you'll need the right tools to make sure everyone stays on the same page and can continue to execute without a physical person standing next to them.

You likely will need a tool in certain categories like group chat and video conferencing to make remote successful.

Processes

Good processes let you get work done in the absence of all else. They provide structure and direction for getting things done.

A few examples from Zapier:

  • Weekly Hangouts;
  • Weekly One-on-Ones;
  • Bring the team together 2 times/year somewhere cool;
  • Automate anything that can be automated.
Personal Connection

A sense of connection and belonging are sentiments that are helpful for building “affective trust” – a form of trust based on emotional bond and interpersonal relatedness.

It vari...

Statistics On Remote Workers
  • Loneliness was reported as the biggest downside for 21% of remote employees, and one of the reasons that makes them more likely to quit.
  • Most remote managers say they’d be more inclined to stay if they had more friends at work.
  • Individuals who have 15 minutes to socialize with colleagues have a 20% increase in performance over their peers who don't.
  • Positive social relationships are correlated with better life expectancy.
Dynamic Icebreakers

If your icebreaker questions are intriguing, cheeky, humorous – the answers you receive will be, too.

Many remote teams will kick off their weekly meeting with an icebreaker question or insert it during their morning stand-up meeting. Even more popular is asking a series of icebreaker questions during the onboarding process when hiring someone.

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