Fostering a Company Culture for Growth & Innovation

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Fostering a Company Culture for Growth & Innovation
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Organizations should realize that the company culture is much more important than the actual product they are building. During this session you'll hear the cultural wins and fails that an Australian software development company has experienced during their 12-year-long journey growing from 2 people in one office to 800 distributed all over the world while keeping innovation & fun part of the culture.
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OK yes who likes the culture he's working in in his company will like with things that um because it's OK who who think the culture sacks nobody that's 1 OK well anyway and so fostering a company culture so 1st 1st 1 0 but the start a little bit was what is culture so what is culture so what I did is what everybody does when he doesn't know what to say he looks up at the kipedia yet so I looked it up at the computer and so Wikipedia's Kelso's about values great cultures about norms cultures about the language we speak at work cultures about of vision that we have conscious about the beliefs we have and cultures but about our habits so I ask the question again what is culture well it's hard to explain Exley toward what culture is it's this fluffy thing and and it's it's it's like this remedy is so you can't really see what it is so uh but but you know when you work in a company that has a great culture and so let's start started start another way and start with an example of a good culture so are the well we all know that we want work for a great start ups they have a great culture will yes so 2 people sitting there having a great idea and they start their company and then the company grows the barrier passionate there they work really hard they have this great idea work day in day out work the weekends so really really passionate and they built this school college around them and they attract a lot of people a lot of passionate people that want to work for the start up and these people are also very passionate and you have this cool events with these people together great office spaces and then the product grows and maybe yeah you you you will very very successful was the product was with this with this company you built and then start ups doing doing actually this year yeah they can out they can't sell they they sell the company to the next big thing I go go on the next big thing to a big big company and so telling this is this is not far at fostering a culture so this is you have created this great culture and then you you you sell your company so and you have had this great culture so but this talk is actually about fostering a culture of keeping your culture tried to grow your company and still keep the start of feeling within within your within your organization OK would or would now we know we great example of of culture so let's let's look at discrete destructive examples of of of cultures have something in mind here yeah I think we all know of them we talked to some friends some colleagues whatever and and then they tell us so will work in this company in the stocks and yeah and somehow we few for sorry for the guys when they when they tell us we feel a bit sorry I'm so bad yeah by where companies actually doing this wide by do they work still in this carrot keys and why why does work have to suck the wide of culture have to suck and at what why is it I think it's his fault you yeah the same I know is that this it's Frederick Winslow Taylor famous for taylorism last century he started to and he said OK I a we have machines and I want some some efficient worker I want to treat them like machines actually Henry Ford said I don't want my workers to think they should just go come to work at 7 and leave it at 5 or whatever and I don't think it works they should just do their job and then they invented something OK some people had also to think so they invented the managers the manager the managers of that sustained they thinkers and tell the workers what to do great that's and time civically changed some companies are still operating like that and where they tell us what we should do but times have changed and not only that work has also changed we're we're more knowledge workers right now we will think and people have changed they wanna working in a different culture the 1 0 1 1 a really really work in an innovative great culture and companies well I think they change slowly not as as we want as fast as you want uh but they change change very very slowly to this more open culture and so we all know in the past we working like like Fred Flintstone here and cis 7 o'clock or 5 o'clock and the Hon rings and he says yeah would ever do goes to Loma but that's all we will how we worked in the past and that but now we actually work a little bit more like the incredible if we wanna work for a purpose we wanna start something something cool so saying that is in the past people work for the pension want to to feed their family and now we want a really really works for purposes In the past through working from 9 to 5 now we were whenever In the past 2 working in office were going to office now we work wherever we want we have the technology to do that and in the past we worked for the whole career at 1 place and we we we planned our whole career when we were 18 now it's here whatever and so my name is Ben how Warwicker foryour glassy and it's a company from Sydney Australia and we do suffer actually we started doing stuff office suffer the robbers now is doing so for for for business and to make them more successful to make them more efficient and make them more collaborative and and these these are us this is our and we will dress up like this all the time so and it's our office in San Francisco and they had a Halloween party and coincidentally our cofounder I don't know if you can see that Scott fact what he dressed up as Fred Flintstone this is coincidence so has nothing to do with culture is actually a great guy and and fostering a very regret culture so I wanna start telling you a bit about our innovation culture so we have a culture and lesson of innovation and this is very important for for suffer evolvement companies and but as I said we're a bunch of stuff for developers how do you innovate those people well this stereotype we don't look like that we also could guys as of revolvers and but how do you motivate people to innovate well you should give them time to try their own ideas they have great ideas to did just give them time and we do that every quarter or we call that LRC and ship the so the purpose is to ship something innovative ideas within 24 hours so they get 24 hours of time have their cool idea and had hacked for 24 hours and then at the end the show their innovative idea to the whole company they say we show it to the whole company and and there's so the whole company would great idea we had and and the whole company that so and this is news vary greatly do that every quarter trying to to to do things and but this is just prototyping you want to have these innovation ideas also nor products sometimes we cannot put them on a road map so we came up with the next innovative idea and we doing innovation weeks so every team does that adolescent independently they do every 6 weeks every 7 weeks whenever they get time but 6 weeks circuit cycle they have 1 week to a really really make their cool ideas work in the product so we put this innovative ideas just in the product and they are ready for the next release so and then we had this great idea we had all this great minds you know all the people that came up with these awesome ideas we set all great we put those people that have this great ideas into 1 team and we call that the innovation teams and they can map was great ideas it's our innovation team our team that they're really comes up with innovation the problem was just that the rest of the company they don't fear response of the didn't few responsible anymore for for doing innovative thinks and this is not what we want so we stop this innovative team innovation team said OK go go back to the to your team everybody has at last in this responsible or can do innovative things and this is very very important and because actually innovation happens everywhere and for me is actually I I have my best ideas under the shower during work out and and innovation happens they it's it's happening uh within the company but just just a guess just give your your colleagues your employees as a possibility to grill your innovative ideas the OK let's talk about Khalsa for happiness we all wanna be happy so we and so actually Daniel Pink he wrote this book drive has anybody read the drive but yeah cool great and to free people great at the grade book and actually Daniel is talking about uh lesson shipper days
will we called it at that time of lesson FedEx Days but we will not allow to contradict this animal and so but it's talking about intrinsic motivation and this is really really this thing here it motivates you to do something you can see your own idea come to life this is really really motivating and that makes you really really happy as I said and it's sometimes hard for us to see the bigger picture I mean we're we're cell-free doing suffer for the companies so and we but we also want to make the world a better place really and motivation is to work for reason we wanna work for reasons sometimes and actually we suffer developers adolescence so without as it's called the we code for reasons and we have the opportunity from a lesson to take 1 week of goen Fundación leave how we call it and we can work for charities and this really really motivating but we're coders and why why why not just uh take skills and let people have helped people for example and the food bank in Amsterdam they came to us is that we need a new web page but we don't have money for that and you're cool where programmers so can you create a web page for us and yet a bunch of guys they took 1 week off of the foundational and they created a web page so now you can go to the web page donate food as see where you can get your food c the opening times and we have created this web page but said that is we're just just a bunch of adolescence so we're just maybe 300 developers but there's so many great developers out then there may be also wanna code for a reason so uh what about the rest of the developed us so we Exley created um at a web page or a platform where charities can put in there that uh that charity projects and developers can go in and and xt work for them so we bring the cells people together and make it effective or because working for reason makes us Li actually happier people talking about happiness yeah well we we actually doing the I think all companies are doing this is funny events so we have this Friday events the replay old are card games we have building I went smoothly go river rafting and we have this family and friends say last year and I will be with the scene was kind of all and we invited or family and friends so that well a lot of companies are doing that I am but does that really make us happy so how how happy are you maybe you can tell it for yourself however you have you are at work but what budget you team how happy is actually team you know that well and yet so companies are doing doing stuff like this they after people every half a year maybe every year IBI you want to know why do you want improve blah blah blah but this sucks totally and this is totally slow also a cannot react very very fast with this 1 so we took Li in in a ship a day we said OK we have to fix this and we came up with this pets and mood at exactly open source you can download it and so this is the mood and it says how you feeling today we have I that stands at every exit at a lesson and you can say OK I'm feeling good today and for the not so good and you can see really the the the mood of the whole company there and and then we're measuring it so so this is the result and we are adapting it that's not always the same question so this was all of our company party uh the mood of so how do you feel today and people didn't really feel very very well and but you also want to run from that wanna exchange maybe something so if qualified is doing quite the same thing and they found out that 91 % of of the employees were quite happy so they were quite happy and and but this was not enough that 91 per cent was not enough that 1 1 1 4 1 and 100 % happiness so what they did XE they talk to these unhappy people and change that and and then they came up was 94 per cent happiness which is which is better but not not excellent but I think you cannot make actually every employee have been that's impossible thing OK and then you wanna grow your your culture how do you draw your culture and if you if you grow your your team and your your company so let's talk about numbers only 12 12 was actually the natural team sites so when we were hunting back in the stone age we around 10 to 12 people hunting and this is a natural team size Exley and another number 150 150 that's dumbass number wrong about so what what does dumbass number tells us well it tells us how empowerment uh how how many stable social relationship we can maintain and if companies Exley grow above this number sometimes 120 180 depends and this becomes imams workplaces really all maybe not because a lesson women workplaces but what you actually get if you use it go grow you company above this and you have this kind problem where you work in silos the finance people and then the cool developers and they don't understand each other and they're 1 understand each other so you you you have these sort of problems I and actually of what you want is in your culture you want to to work as 1 company if you wanna bring people actually together and but had a great idea and they did this face so they have this at the corre draw um where they show actually employees and they show where they're working so if you go the down the corridor at the see David maybe David is working in finance and uh next day you sitting in the in the canteen next to David and talk to Dave said any some finance of ICI how do I do that so you really grow the company together it's not that anonymous anymore how but we laughing we're doing also something something else how we you actually want to give people a phase and if if they started at last him so this is Benjamin Benjamin started and know February last you I'm amateur so and he actually started and how do I know Benjamin he's he's he's a developer from from from synthesis and so how do I know how do I know Benjamin well everlasting everybody have to bereft of right introductory blog post so they did in the 1st a a task they have to do in the 1st week they introduced himself to the companies so high I'm and Benjamin today and and this is my these are my hobbies and playing the are and so so you get some person staff connected to Benjamin and then you can actually jump in and and make a discussion so say for example if he says that they're playing football and say OK let's play football together in and now on friday let's do that is great because lead the way sharing so much lesson and which sharing all winds our fails our news and and our questions that we have so for example all wins we blogging about that here uh all design team won the design of word grade and then all failed so well we're doing this user groups adolescent user groups and they did 1 in Sydney and this really sucked so we we started the conversation somebody block this and then we start a conversation trying to fix those fails trying to fix those all together and all of the new program comes up like like this make a dif that I just showed you how we're we're we're announcing that also on our blog posts and there we have something where we can ask discussed conference questions and where we can actually ask questions to the whole company security you he she asked here and how do you manage a personal tasks uh e-mails and and so on so how do you do that and then people can answer on that we can start a discussion on that and we can learn from each other so because there are some transparency enemies and looked like this here e-mail so many things a burden e-mails telephone nobody's listening when you talk to another guy on the telephone nobody can hear that so this is really of transparency animals and the enemies and and we actually want connect the team so we using Chats very heavily adolescence so every team has their own chat room chatting about their stuff and if if someone is is not available in the work maybe he's uh out for 4 weeks or something at all for day he can go back into the chat room because it's persistent and he can can look it up you can see what was a discussion what was a team deciding on so e everything is documented nor chat room and and it really connects the whole companies I can I can go in and and connect myself to someone else in the company that I maybe don't know someone from finance just uh get certain so you can just write chat message and transparency Exley brings people together and that's what we want we want to bring people together we don't 1 work in silos wanna bring people together and it helps
bringing removes people together was offers people so I'm a remote guy I work from from home and I'm all the time and this really connects me back to the office if I if I can block if I can chat and this transparency brings also tying those together so if we have a blog post and we start a discussion for example with the Salesin user group that sucked and people in australia can comment on that and then after was people in Europe can comment on that can can give their opinion and then people in the states can comment on that so we really connecting connecting time zones at was was was our collaboration platforms with our check and and and being transparent around town zones and and that is connecting people so I when I write a blog post as a coder the CFO can comment on that to an animal or I can comment on the CFO blog posts no problem so it's bringing also hairpiece down breaking arrow down but because actually transparency that that spreads the culture around the company especially if you work in and in a distributed environment yeah so but telling all that sounds great doesn't while there's also attracts side of transparency and the 1st thing is it's information overload this I mean and I told you blogging about everything but maybe there 50 new blog posts every day and the last year this is really a lot and you have to read through all of them so it's you have to really adopters that that it's more like reading the newspaper so if you don't know not interesting the sports part you leave that out and so but but it's can be really really hard to get all this information overload and and then sometimes we have never ending the such discussions I told you we're we're we're passionate we wanna a real really had b be excellent in everything we do and sometimes we to passion and we cannot stop our our discussion so sometimes we have to say OK we take this ofline start a video call or whatever and so and this is and if you have all this great transparency tools it feels like you don't have to meet people in person but this is of course totally stupid of course you have to be a good person to make a person a rate that relationship but it feels like he so close if you just a chat message the ways the people are so close and so this is this is also something that that you have to learn and so how do we grow our culture and the how do we grow achieves test set with 12 12 people around us and natural team size and our teams around 6 to 8 people that's our approximately our team size and if we talk about programming teams and then of course we have a big big product and we have to scale that's so the scale horizontally was that so we have more of these these teams 6 to 8 people working on 1 product and and and and these and these are autonomous so maybe would teen aid they used tool X and the other team they don't use it to little all so there were a very autonomous and maybe some people meet daily some teams me daily and other teams need when it's necessary depends on the team so every team can decide for themselves and and that this is actually autonomy autonomy for the team and then of course we also have to work together we just not autonomous team somewhere in the cloud so and we also have to have to support each other so if I need support maybe I'm in the back end team and after needs is need some support from the mobile team and because I have done some new search algorithm I want to reflect that also from in the mobile app I asked them I just jump on on knowledge at room and then ask them how they can get some support maybe this week maybe next week and uh maybe they say yes but maybe they say also know we have other priorities were not we we don't we don't have time for that so then it's actually it's it's OK for us to change stuff in them in the mobile app so it even though they own the mobile and there's no ownership everybody can change everything we trust each other that we're doing excellent work and so so that's that's what we do and this really scales we can add more teams than the when the product grows we can add more teams to them on and culture grows actually with the with the size of your company and so you if you if you hire new people I mean we started 10 years ago was a people now we're 800 people and it we it's not the same culture anymore I can tell you that the culture changes a little bit we trying to keep the core of our culture but was more people the culture changed a little bit but how you make sure that that that new people fit into your culture and the 1st advice when you hire people is the picky inspector penny that's very very carefully do they fit really is it is it a really effective so we're doing 10 interviews with them or something like that and so if if we if we think uh programming good experience good pension good and then we're doing something we call the beta test so we know drinking beer was all of this people all of this and you people that we're not doing that but we we think ourselves so so we imagine ourselves drinking beer was this guy or this girl on a Friday evening if you wanna go out have a chat with them does that feel comfortable and they can be great programmers was great experience but really really assholes so if they fail the Butte test we say no we don't hire those guys of the girls and on the other hand if if the beauty of a of the past the beta tests uh and lack experience here we can we can give them experience of programming languages or something like that so and we hire those those guys so that's very important for us to hire for cultural fit and but be aware of the programmer affect the apps that not all of you of the cool guys and at all all your view of the same the council is from diversity and so we isolate you also should hire for diverse culture even though you view the people possibilities but they're totally differently and you should hire them and and and and Technology I must say um and I've worked in some so for companies we're lacking women released so we really want to have more women in technology please please please and but said that it's it's it's hard to get into the strong conscious a we have a very very strong cultures very were passionate people and once actually I I started a lesson I was afraid writing a blog post because that's all the smart people a lesson and I'm just the poor guy from Germany cure coming into this Australian company I was really really afraid so it's really hard to get to get into the strong culture so what we doing is Exley we give every new employee of body so everybody gets a body on so this is the guy was a little bit longer than the company who knows a little bit more about the company and and they actually they go to lunch together uh maybe they they they go on a friday pop evening together I'm an N and if some if if I as a new employee have a question I ask my body and I'm uncomfortable was my body so mn and this in this way I'm and dragged into the into the culture and another thing is day during in the San Francisco office that doing the B a by so every new employee on a Friday afternoon they have the spike and that drive around on the spike was the in the back and going and driving around giving giving people be here and have a chat with them so this is also a great thing to to bring people into into culture and but said that this is the a lesson culture and as i said we'll worry worry happy uh we we want to have a happiness in our culture we want trust me trust each other we have respect for each other we continuously improve our what we do we can come to see ask ourselves can we do better here so we want to continously improve ourselves I wanna innovator who have innovation and and and and autonomy so people autonomous uh but said says that this is the lesson culture so the wall was important for your culture I cannot tell you you have to figure out what's important for your culture so I said that is if you if you know know that pain great things Steve Jobs said this is the next big thing a social level for music great and bad worst thing today it's gone they stopped because actually products come and go the new products come all products go we care in companies so much about our products state in day out but maybe maybe tomorrow the comes in new new suffer out from Chinese programmers that kills our our product from a but you know what we have a great culture because price come go but culture states it's the people this is very important thank you very much thanks for your attention thank you switch citizen was among