Tag Archives: corporate culture development

The Power of Culture Camps

Culture camps are a fairly new phenomenon in the world of corporate culture. They offer leaders the unique chance to learn about how different groups have developed—and maintained—extremely successful company cultures.

The Zappos Model

One of the leaders in this new cultural arena is Zappos. One of the web’s leading online clothing and shoe retailers, Zappos has built a reputation for a fun, collaborative, and unique working environment. Led, in part, by senior human resources manager Christa Foley, Zappos has built an organization which develops and hires around a central corporate culture. This focus on a central corporate culture includes hiring only those who match the brand’s unique cultural values. This practice, in turn, has led to better business performance, due to improved employee engagement and happiness.

So, What Are Culture Camps?

Zappos’ model for company culture has been so successful that the company has branched out, offering corporate training through a new division called Zappos Insights. Through this new endeavor, leaders who are serious about developing and fostering a dynamic corporate culture can travel to the Zappos campus in Las Vegas and learn first-hand what has made the company such a success.

Culture camp is essentially an immersive experience where those looking to emulate a successful brand’s culture can jump right in and learn first-hand what makes them so great. At the Zappos experience, this includes meeting with the company’s CEO, learning the company’s values and human resources practices, how management engages with employees, and other aspects of company procedures and policies.

What Are the Benefits of a Culture Camp?

While the Zappos Insights model appears to be a lot of fun, there is a lot that leaders can learn from the concept of culture camps. As Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat notes, “culture is a learned behavior, not a by-product of operations.” Leaders are critical for shaping the culture of their brand. This is something Zappos clearly understands. Company culture, after all, is your company’s brand.

As we’ve covered here in the past, enacting change, or instilling company values, can only occur with a proactive drive from the top.  The leadership at Zappos defined its culture early on. To do this, CEO Tony Hsieh sat down and wrote a list of 37 core values which were essential to him. Then, he emailed it to all his employees, seeking suggestions or additions. Why? So, he could create an open and collaborative environment.

Culture camps allow leaders not only a chance to examine what makes a successful brand’s culture work but also allows them an opportunity to step back and really think about what matters most to themselves. Using this soul searching and external advice, they can return to their own companies and drive the change they truly want.

Even without participation in another company’s culture camp, leaders can use camps in their own organizations to help accelerate culture change and improve the onboarding of new hires. By creating a program of their own, using the Zappos model, leaders can experience what it takes to intentionally shape and change culture.

The camps can also be used to provide new and existing employees an immersive experience where they experience the values and beliefs in action and learn the behaviors conducive to the ongoing success of their company and brand. Culture camps can even have the added benefit of helping new employees avoid potential “cultural landmines” which can negatively impact their effectiveness and even derail their career.

Inspiring cultural change may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. If you need help defining or improving your business’s culture, check out some of Culture-Strategy Fit’s excellent cultural products and services, or give us a call today at 1 (800) 976-1660 for a free consultation.

Creating A Culture Champions Network

culture champions network

Defining a company’s culture can be tricky. Actually changing that culture can be even tougher. One effective way to drive internal change, however, is through what is known as “culture champions.” Here is our helpful guide on creating a culture champions network.

culture champions networkWhat Exactly are “Champions Networks?”

Just like every single company is different, so is every single company’s culture. What is a company culture, anyway? Well, it’s something that we know quite a bit about here at Culture-Strategy Fit – after all, it’s what we do. A company’s culture is the dynamic ethos that can either drive workers together or drive them apart. As Medium notes, a company’s culture, “is inclusive of the things that make an organization great, but also the things that serve as a drawback.”

So, how does a “champions network” fit into company culture? Put simply, champions are those individuals who not only set the example of excellence for other employees but also generate the enthusiasm and buzz which inspires them. In the book, “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference,” author Malcolm Gladwell states, “If you want to bring fundamental change in people’s beliefs and behavior, you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.”

What does this mean? It means change can’t happen as the result of just one person – you need a team to grow momentum.

Creating a Culture Champions Network

So, how does a company go about building a network of culture champions? It isn’t an overnight process – after all, if it were easy to do, everyone would have implemented it by now. However, there are specific steps which can be taken to build a network of champions in your company:

  • Have a clear purpose as to why exactly you need champions, what you need them to do, and say how you plan to get them to where they need to be.
  • Make the role of a champion prestigious, by adding to others’ impressions of the role: perhaps adding an official title, opening up the position to nominations, or other such ideas.
  • Be patient with the program to ensure your champions have the time needed to grow and engage with the role fully.
  • Give your champions the trust they need to empower them to lead by example.
  • Get your senior leadership to endorse the program, giving it a greater sense of legitimacy.
  • Coach your champions and provide them with the proper training they need to be effective.
  • Check in regularly with your champions to build relationships with them.
  • Encourage your leaders to support each other.

Once you have built your network of culture champions and begin to see the benefits they bring, it is essential that you have a plan of action to ensure that your network survives and thrives.

If You Need Help Developing or Sustaining a Winning Culture, We’re Here to Help

Inspiring cultural change can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Culture has a great capacity to help businesses achieve truly great things. If you need help defining or improving your business’s culture, check out some of Culture-Strategy Fit’s excellent cultural products and services, or give us a call today at 1 (800) 976-1660 for a free consultation.

The Chocolate Factory Culture Change Simulation

Company Culture

Companies today more than ever are faced with rapidly changing environments – new competitors, evolving customer expectations, changing demographics, emerging technology – all of which are working together to create more and more pressure on results.  Many companies are discovering that their successful playbooks of the past are no longer working resulting in changes to strategy and/or operating models. The challenge is the culture which helped you get your company to where it is today may no longer be the one required for the future. It, like everything else in business, needs to evolve and advance in order to keep pace with external and internal change.

Unfortunately, the majority of leaders don’t know how to change culture. Many shy away because of concerns culture change is too vague, time-consuming and complex and/or a lack of ‘how-to’ knowledge. If they do try and make a cultural change, they typically revisit the company’s values and clarify behavior expectations which is great but not enough to ensure sustained success.

Success requires leaders approach culture change as both an art and a discipline. The art is in the ability to create something meaningful that captures the imagination and passion of others. The discipline is in making this a reality by using culture change levers in an intentional way. The good news….leaders, any leader, can learn how to do this. And The Chocolate Factory Culture Change Simulation is what you need to do just that. It’s a meaningful hands-on culture activity, The Chocolate Factory Culture Change Simulation helps leaders at all levels develop their leadership capabilities in a fun and effective way.

The Chocolate Factory Simulation

Imagine an experience where the behaviors of leaders and their impact on significant organizational outcomes are revealed in real-time. Imagine that at the end of 3 – 5 hours, leaders, individually and collectively, are equipped with the practical knowledge they need to confidently implement successful culture change within their departments, business units or organizations. The Chocolate Factory Culture Change Simulation provides a way for organizations to fast-track the process of changing their culture by providing leaders at all levels with a practical approach for achieving effective culture change main objectives include:

   ~ Helping leaders understand their role in shaping and changing their company’s culture.

   ~ Helping leaders use levers to intentionally shape and change their company’s culture.

   ~ Helping leaders understand the link between values, culture, and performance.

Further, the simulation will help you answer the following important cultural questions:

   ~ How do leaders achieve culture change?

   ~ How do leaders behaviors influence culture?

   ~ How do we create a collaborative culture?

   ~ How do we create a culture that promotes innovation?

   ~ What behaviors most contributed to finding a powerful solution? Impeded it?

What Is Company Culture?

Company culture is not just for large, established corporations. It is, on the contrary, an elementary part of every business, which (whether you realize it or not) lies deep within the bones of every company.

Company culture has been defined differently by different people. What they all have in common, though, is the fact that company culture necessarily deals with why and how people do what they do within a business. It involves:

   ~ Company Vision/Mission

   ~ Behavioral Norms

   ~ Symbols

   ~ Values

   ~ Language

   ~ Assumptions

   ~ Systems

   ~ Habits

   ~ Beliefs/Ideology

Any company serious about its culture needs to understand how these various components are working together to support strategy execution and goal achievement  This should be done sooner rather than later.

The good news is leaders have the means to create high-performing cultures at their fingertips. What they lack is the know-how. The Chocolate Factory Culture Change Simulation fills this gap by providing a simple and practical framework they can use to proactively influence and shape culture.

Who Is The Chocolate Factory Simulation For?

Companies today more than ever are faced with rapidly changing environments – new competitors, evolving customer expectations, changing demographics, emerging technology – all of which are working together to create more and more pressure on results, and many companies are discovering that their successful playbooks of the past are no longer working. The culture which helped you get your company to where it is today may longer be enough, it, like everything else in business, needs to evolve and advance in order to keep pace with external change.

Another instance in which the Chocolate Factory Simulation may be useful is when companies want to make a major strategic because it helps leaders know what to do to shift their organization’s culture so that it is aligned with company’s new strategy.

The problem is that leaders don’t know how to change culture. Many shy away because of concerns about a company’s culture being too vague, time-consuming and complex or, if they do try and make a cultural change, they typically revisit the company’s values and clarify behavior expectations but they don’t actually change the system to support the desired behaviors. Such an approach is sure to fail.

How It Works

In the simulation, you are a leader in a complex chocolate manufacturer with multiple locations and business units, from kids candy to premium chocolates. The problem you’re facing is dramatically shrinking profits.

Also, an exciting innovation is emerging in the chocolate industry which has the potential to dramatically increase sales. But the question is: Can you and the other leaders in your organization work together to make tough decisions and capitalize on this financially lucrative opportunity. Representing four Business Departments, plus Research and Development and the Executive Team, the groups must rapidly craft recommendations to your Board about how to improve profits to save your company for short and long-term.

This fast-moving simulation provides the opportunity for groups to experience their own culture dynamics and gain insights into the behaviors and assumptions that are operating to support or diminish breakthrough performance gains. They also examine how the design of different elements of the organization ‘system’ influence culture. The result is a practical approach they can use to intentionally create the culture their department, business unit or organization needs to achieve its goals.

When To Use

The simulation is designed for leaders at all levels who are tasked with creating a high-performance culture. This includes executive teams, mid-level managers, project teams, culture champion networks, department, and business unit leaders, HR/OD teams and others. Use it as part of:

   ~ Leadership development programs and retreats

   ~ Department defectiveness initiatives

   ~ Culture change initiatives

   ~ Business transformation initiatives

   ~ M&A integration

   ~ Department amalgamations

Cultivate meaningful, professionally-rewarding interactions within your company via our Chocolate Factory Culture Change Simulation or please feel free give us a call today at (800) 976-1660 for more information or email us at inquiry@culturestrategyfit.com.