Why does corporate culture make the difference?

Jun 3

Why does corporate culture make the difference?

Angélique Zettor’s speech @TEDx Panthéon Sorbonne.

The TED conferences ( Technology Entertainment Design) bring together public figures and innovators from all backgrounds. These conferences are propagator of ideas, project inspirer, stimulator awareness.
The format is atypical: speakers succeed in turns, for a maximum duration of 18 minutes. 18 minutes to convince, share and generate reactions in the audience.
On Saturday, May 16th 2015, the Master Innovation and Technology Management launches the 2nd edition of TEDx Sorbonne in collaboration with the University Paris 1 Panthéon- Sorbonne. Angélique Zettor, was one of the speaker, here is her speech:

70% of employees are not invested in their work!

Misunderstanding , ignorance, conflicts… 75% of people who quit do not leave their job… but their boss!

Four years ago, I met my associate in a Starbucks and we decided to create a business together. We were part of the 75% of uninvested employees because disillusioned and frustrated. So we wanted to create a company where people would be fulfilled, united, faithful , happy, listened… We wanted to create the company of happiness!

Think, if tomorrow you could join or create the business of your dreams, however it look like? What would be its identity? its values? What would be its culture?

Corporate culture, the magic world which seems to explain the success of all the current success stories! LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Zappos…

We could walk around in the Silicon Valley and ask:

– Hey Larry Page, how do you explain Google’s success?
– Its all about culture!

– Hey Marc Zuckerberg, why is Facebook such a success story?
– Thanks to our culture!

– Hey Airbnb’s team! We are creating our business, any tips?
– Don’t fuck the culture, men!

Ok. But what is the corporate culture?
The image I like to explain is:
A human and his character, plus another human and his character, plus another human and his character… And that amount of humans tends to build up in the community and create a common culture.
A corporate culture goes with customs, rites, signs of recognition . ..

This notion of culture is found in the tribes but also among sports fans, members of student associations willing to chant songs, wearing t-shirts with sometimes questionable taste … And this, all around the planet!

Culture is what makes you feel good, recognized, passionate everyday. That’s what makes you want to give the best of yourself! We should feel as passionate by our companies as our football club or music group. We should be as happy at work, as in our family!

Ok great but so how can you change or create a strong corporate culture?
Marc? Larry? What are your secrets?

There is no magic potion!
A corporate culture can not be decreed. I can decide to become less messy tomorrow, it would please my spouse, my colleagues… But we all know, it does not work like that. I will not change overnight, because I have decided it. It will take me several small daily actions.
For a business, it is similar. It is the accumulation of small things, everyday habits, which illustrate and generate a corporate culture : the manner of speaking, listening, or how you  argue, think, see…

Changing a culture is not a program of one million dollars, but rather small steps that everyone can do at any time and this may be the beginning of a big change!

Ok great, so where to start? What small steps should we put in place?

For me, there are several basic rules:

The first concerns every person in the company

We all have a reflex in business, hide ourselves, leave aside our personal lives, our passions… But culture is a bit of each one of us! My advice: Be yourself and show who you are in the office, let express your values ​​and passions.

Another point: Prefer dare say things, even generate a conflict rather than remain frustrated.
Be honest, tolerant, caring and responsible.

Second rule : deepen exchanges with colleagues

Get to know your colleagues, even if they seem to you to be a bit weird… The more people are different in business, the stronger the corporate culture is.

Potentially, you will meet these types colleagues:

  • Philippe , 45 year old, a financial manager?
    Philippe is part of Generation X, called sacrificed generation that experienced parental divorce, the fall of the USSR, AIDS … Philippe, if he is like the people of his generation, is in search of stability and needs to be considered to be motivated. Philippe is loyal, had to elbow his current position and has always been very loyal to companies he has joined.
  • Anais, 30 years old, Designer
    Like me, she was born in the 80-90 years and have watch Dragon Ball Z on TV, she is part of Generation Y, Generation “Why “. Know it, for people like Philippe she can be an alien! She seeks above all personal fulfillment, does not like the strict framework of business. She dreams of travelling around the world and she is looking for a good balance between professional and personal life.
  • Anthony, 21 years old, student, will arrive on the labor market in 3 years.
    Anthony is is pragmatic, independent. He is part of the generation Z. He likes to have everything at once and everything immediately. He is digital native and is always in the rush, connected to his smartphone, his tablet, his watch, his glasses …

The third rule concerns the company, which has to adapt its structure and working environment:

Typically, as consumers, through the development of internet and social networks, I have more and more power. I can chat with my favorite TV program via Twitter, I can express my dissatisfaction to the community manager of a shop because the toaster I just bought does not wor … It is with pleasure that I discovered that I am heard, and that the interaction is instantaneous.

Whether I am Philip, Anais or Anthony, I want to live the same experiences in my company!
We are in the world of instant, of transparency.

The enterprise must create moments of exchange and if sometimes an employee tells his weekend with his grandma or talks about the last level reached in Clash of clans, why not!
Managers do not have a monopoly on good ideas!

Spotify is an excellent model to follow.

Having a strong corporate culture when you’re 20, it’s possible, 50 also, but how to maintain it when you grew extremely fast and that you pass from 0 to over 2000 people?
Spotify chose the collaborative management and is a very good example to follow regarding agility:

  • The level of accountability of employees at Spotify is very high and allows everyone to feel invested and important.
  • At Spotify, making mistakes is not bad perceived, on the contrary it helps to learn faster.
    It’s like with children, the more they take risks to try things, the harder they fall, but the sooner they learn!
    Do not be afraid to try things individually and / or collectively! It is a good thing, and if you fail , understand why, remember the lesson and made ​​better next time!
  • The employees have the time available to have fun! Work on projects that have no relation with what you do daily. Change air, have fun at work also ! Everyone will benefit from it!

We all create, define and defend our corporate culture. It is within each of us, it defines us, brings us together and make us enthusiastic. Developing a culture is to share together, to listen each help each other, to motivate ourselves.

70 % of us are not fulfilled in their company. For us to get better overnight.

Culture is the way. Personnal development our destination.