How do you translate the culture you want to build into something everyone on your team can connect with? Stephen guides you on how to construct a set of "beliefs" that will give you a common set of values everyone can work towards. They can be applied to the entire team, one group, or simply one person.
- [Instructor] Now, in the last section, we talked about the importance of defining cultural norms. Sounds very interesting, sounds very intriguing but what does that actually mean and more importantly, how do you do it, how do you define and then how do you communicate the way that you want your team to think, the way that you want your team to act? And so what I would say is that you actually need to go through and create a set of beliefs that define the way that we think, that define the way that we act, that these beliefs really shape just the basis of the way that we approach what it is that we do and the way that I'll usually create these and that if you're new to a team, take the first 60 to 75 days.
If you already have a team, if you're already an individual contributor, just take the next 60 to 75 days and just watch your team. Watch their process. Watch the challenges. What are the things that they're struggling with? What are the places that as you look at this, you feel like there's room for improvement? You feel like they could be thinking about things differently, that they may need a little bit more confidence around something. And what I do is that through that entire process, each day I come back and I write down my observations. I write down my thoughts because that's the thing is I'm looking for these problems and now the problems that I'm looking for, these are things, they can't be too small.
They can't be too easily solved. It can't be one of these things like we should be using black ink instead of blue or we should be using a slightly different post note. That's not a belief. That's not foundational. It's too small and it's too transient. What these need to be, these need to be deep-seeded problems with the way that the team thinks, with the way that the team acts and that these are going to be slightly different for every team but that's the thing is that these beliefs are things that ultimately if they're done right, they should stand the test of time. Think about it like the way if you're building a brand.
A brand's value should be able to stand the test of time. Your team's beliefs, they should really be the same thing. Now, after a few days of me writing down these notes, what I want to start to do is I want to start to group them together into themes, into just areas of opportunity and these are going to be different for each one of you but these are the five most common ones that I usually use and they are learn, collaborate, ideate, craft and lead. Learn really is a section where I want to speak to the fact that as a team we have to always keep learning.
We have to keep learning from the people we design for. We have to keep learning technology. We have to keep learning society and design and a whole bunch of other things. This has to be an ongoing process for us. Collaboration in the fact that creativity is a team sport. Inside and outside of our team, I want to establish that as a norm. Ideate in the fact that as we talked about before, for my team to become a critical asset, it has to be about creativity and it has to be about ideas so I really want to make sure that we focus on that. Craft. Craft is really just the artisan approach to the way that we do things, the way that we design, the way that we write, the way that we go about doing our work.
What are the things that we're doing that we really look at putting a fine point to really make sure the fidelity of that work really is there? And leading. Leading is because of the fact that leadership has to come from everywhere, not just the top so that these tend to be five big buckets that I'll tend to use for what I think are going to be the most important things but like I said before, you may have different challenges so don't just blindly take these five and say this is what I'm going to do. Go through the process, write down the problems and see if this is where you end up. Don't start here and then try to back into it for your group but then after a week or so, what I'm going to do is I'm going to take these observations, I'm going to take these into themes and I'm going to have these big buckets.
Well, now, under those buckets, I now want to start crafting specific issues and then I'm going to take those issues and I'm going to craft them into statements that define how do we need to change the way the team actually thinks because here again, the change in the way that they think, not just the way they behave is what's going to be incredibly critical here. Now, the statements that I want to write, again, these take a while to craft and to get right but these need to be aspirational. They need to be clear. They need to be direct. They need to define the way we need to think and the way we need to act.
So the best way to be able to show this to you is let's walk through an example from each one of these buckets and these are just a generic example but they should give you a good sense and a flavor of what it is you should be trying to do. Now, under something like learn, under learn, I want this idea of never stopping asking why because constantly asking why, that lets us understand the purpose, the cause and the belief behind every decision. So when it comes to learning, I want to set that as a norm. I want to establish that, that for us we have to make sure that once again a problem well-stated is a problem half solved so to make sure that we're asking why behind these sort of things.
In collaboration, design is a team sport. You've heard me say that repeatedly over this course because it is absolutely true, that for us to be our most successful, we have to be collaborative with no rock stars, no divas and no departments, that everybody's responsible for working together to create the best idea and for me, this is an important one because most teams, what I see is I see people who are invested and not getting blamed when something goes wrong. When creativity, stuff is going to go wrong. So what I want to do is I want to encourage the opposite. I want people to understand that whenever there's a challenge, we're going to rally together and we're going to come together as a team to get it solved then around ideation, that if we're going to be a critical asset, that for us it's about the quality of that idea, the originality of that idea so there are no cover bands because a cover band never changed the world.
We want to build a culture that empowers the team to create original ideas, not copy what others have done. One of the things I hate the most is when people come in and they say, oh, well, this is going to be our version of insert another brand name's experience. That's not original. That's not creativity. It's fine to use that as inspiration. Use it as a starting point but don't just copy. Craft. Really thinking about the way that we do things and here again, we dedicate an entire section to the fact that creativity is a blue-collar profession because great ideas are a lot of hard work and everybody creates those ideas differently.
So what I want to do is set as a norm that we understand value and grow everyone's unique ways of solving problems. And finally, under leadership, to really set the norm that we are respectful and we are confident but we are not delicate, that we takes risks, we trust our instincts and we speak our minds instead of tiptoeing around everybody because again, I want to be respectful to my client but I want to have confidence in what I'm doing but let's just save all the spin, the politics, the strategy and everything else and let's just get to the heart of the problem so that we can actually get to solving that problem.
Now, as I said before, none of this is rocket science. I'm sure that you read this and said, well of course, Steve. I know all this stuff. I know that these are the things I should be doing but the rocket science part of this that I found and that I don't see teams doing is they don't take the time to craft these beliefs. They don't write them down. They don't distribute them through the group. They don't put them up on the wall and then hold people accountable to that because that's the difference but it's setting the expectation. It's establishing that as a norm because you need to take the time and make these beliefs and craft them to be unique to the personality and the challenges of your team.
Don't just take mine and copy it. Embrace the leadership, embrace your role in this and write ones of your own but make sure you take enough time to make sure those beliefs are right and that they last the test of time and they should really hold up for years because by taking the time to do this, this is going to give that team that sense of purpose. It's going to give them that swagger and it clearly declares to the organization what it is that you stand for and that the organization and your team both will see incredible value in that and everybody's going to benefit from it.
- Assessing leadership readiness
- Leadership obstacles
- The creative process
- Leading creativity using the 10/80/10 rule
- Becoming a better leader
- Trust, commitment, and knowledge
- Defining your team's process
- Speaking business
- Creating a focused and empowered team
- Coaching leadership and creativity
- Embracing failure