Culture eats Smart Work for breakfast, Remote Work for lunch and Hybrid Work for dinner

No remote working without cultural change

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Modifying the Peter Drucker quote, I respond openly to several questions that we are repeatedly asked by clients and the media when it comes to culture, transformation, smart work or hybrid work and remote work.

01.

Can change, in other words a transformation, be managed without affecting the corporate culture?

Well, no, why is it supposed to? Remote work is a good example to go deeper into this.

An example: Before the pandemic, very few companies had embraced remote work. The majority had to give in, for reasons we all know, and have had people work from home.

Strictly speaking, the difference between remote work and working from home has to do with culture. It is about a conscious decision, and not about being forced by external causes, to develop the culture to make remote work effective and sustainable for people and the organization.

Therefore, we do not have to ask ourselves how to manage changes/transformations so that they do not affect the corporate culture. If a company wants to adopt remote work it´s due to a conscious decision that it wants to transform its corporate culture for it.

Finally, corporate culture is the set of principles and values that are shared and that also generate expectations in the way people interact, work and collaborate with each other.

02.

Working in a BANI environment - what capabilities does the professional have to develop to adapt to a necessary cultural change?

Basically, people have to develop competencies in four main areas:

2.1. Analytical and problem-solving skills

In this first block on problem solving and analytical skills, creativity and the pronounced human perception that distinguishes us from machines will be increasingly required. It is the ability to analyze data and make decisions in complex environments and in the light of their different contexts and realities. This is an aspect that technology cannot yet comprehend, but that we can bring to mastery by working with it, contributing sensitivity, empathy, and an eye for context, situation, and experience.

2.2. Self-organization

It´s self-organization, the ability to learn, to self-study and to promote collective learning within teams that is essential. The freedom to work and innovate autonomously without being directed by a manager, with the aptitude and attitude of a team that works towards objectives and improves iteratively to achieve them.

Self-organization also involves the freedom to experiment as a way of working.
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Farnés Linares, 

Business Improvement Manager

Havas Media

“My idea of Agile to date has been that it helps us in project development and task management. ActioGlobal introduces Agile into organizations with a much more strategic vision. Starting with the definition of OKR by the Leadership Team, to the development of multidisciplinary teams, squads, which also define their own OKR to contribute to the same global objective. This, coupled with the synchronization of the teams and Drumbeat, strikes me as truly spectacular. A total change of approach.”

2.3. Ability to co-create with other people

Third, it’s the ability to collaborate with other people and all that is connected with being able to empathize with the other person as well as to co-build, i. e.,  not only from one’s own vision but also by integrating the experience that the other brings in, to much better create joint solutions.

2.4. People collaborating with Artificial Intelligence

And as to the last point, we are going to have to collaborate more and more with Artificial Intelligence.

The democratization of technology is going to allow us to be more creative and to collaborate with technology for practically everything we develop and decide every day.

It' s not physical, it' s not digital. The future is Phygital.

03.

What is the main obstacle to agility and high performance in this new era of remote work or hybrid work?

What we witness over and over again is that agility and high performance in companies are most undermined by having people, many people to be precise, working on stuff that doesn’t make any sense; useless PowerPoint reports, projects that are going to end up in a folder in the cloud, reporting meetings to protect the status quo, and so on.

We are convinced that one of the most important roles the company must have is to ensure that people are working on things that really create value, have meaning and are transparent to everyone.

With remote work and hybrid work, all this becomes more important than ever: focus, impact over activity and radical transparency.

Radical transparency is a good antidote to the waste of time and resources in companies.

Another key element is stopping unnecessary meetings and events. They are redundant and waste time, both regarding the meetings and the attendees. Companies always hold events that cover the same topics, with more people attending than necessary, and this is the flaw that kills employee productivity and morale.

04.

What should a professional do if he/she can no longer identify with the values of the new culture and the way of working of the company?

The organization and the associate are a perfect match, but this can change over time. So, if an associate feels that he/she is no longer committed to the values of the company, it is best to look for another way to feel fulfilled – not necessarily by joining another company.

To that end, continuous learning helps people to embrace new professional challenges when they feel they have to. No one deserves to be trapped in a company to which they are no longer the perfect match.

New Work is the revolution of work as we know it today.

05.

Peter Drucker said „Culture eats strategy for breakfast“. But what are the responsibilities of both company and the associates to make sure that the failure of corporate culture does not impact business results?

Peter Drucker

Author, consultant, educator.
He is considered the leading reference of modern management.

Author of more than 35 books, his ideas have been decisive in the development of companies in recent decades. He wrote numerous publications recognized worldwide on topics related to organizational management, information systems and the knowledge society. Drucker's works bear the hallmarks of his great intelligence and tireless activity. Today he is referred to as the father of management.

We don’t believe there is any way to prevent the failure of corporate culture – be it remote work, hybrid work or presential work – from impacting the results of any organization, since there is a direct link between culture and business results.

The only question is whether that impact will happen in the short term. Often it won’t, but we are convinced that, in the medium to long run, culture has a direct influence on business results, for better or worse. 

What is the responsibility of the company and the associates? Well, it´s overall, because, in the end, when we talk about culture we are talking about what happens in the company every day, about those shared values and principles that we can see in the relationship between people. And the company has a very important role to play in ensuring that these relationships are healthy, that people can work together to achieve a common purpose, that communication is transparent, and many other aspects. Therefore, both parties have to take  overall responsibility.

But I repeat, there is no way to prevent the failure of a culture from impacting results, it´s only a matter of time.

06.

To what extent do companies risk their survival if they use remote work as a way to cut costs rather than as an opportunity for cultural transformation?

They gamble with it, for sure. The only thing at stake is survival time.

After all, the algorithm of business growth is very simple. If there are associates who feel comfortable with themselves, who identify with the purpose of the organization and who feel fulfilled by working on something that really matters, we will ultimately witness a positive impact on the company’s result. If the companies will not transform their culture, they will dramatically experience the negative impact, sooner or later.

The issue is that many companies in sectors still stable live on inertia and do not immediately feel the negative impact resulting from a culture that adopts remote work solely for the purpose of cutting costs. There are many companies currently developing cultures that will impact on their survival in the next three, five or ten years.

Some of them will have a positive impact and some of them will have a very negative impact. The purpose for which you embrace remote work or hybrid work will have a lot to do with that.

07.

What impact does a customer-centric culture management have on attracting, promoting, and retaining talent?

Full impact.

First of all, we have to clarify wording: Culture cannot be managed because it is not static. Right to the contrary, culture develops and improves because it evolves the relationships and common principles of a living organism, as it is the organization of humans.

However, the development of a culture implies the evolution of all the organizational systems connected to the employee lifecycle and the customer journey.

Focusing on the employee lifecycle, we refer to a life cycle that begins with the process by which we attract talent from outside our organization to join, continues with how we select those people we want to hire, how they are incorporated, followed by how we develop them, and how we facilitate them in the different stages of their professional career so that they can contribute with their talent to making the organization’s purpose and priorities a reality.

Hence, the development of culture is, first and foremost, the development of the employee life cycle. Any evolution of culture that does not include the review of these systems for attracting, promoting, and retaining talent is no evolution, but just a culture makeover that focuses on the visible effects and artifacts rather than on the real drivers of a culture

WE OF ACTIOGLOBAL KEEP EMPHASIZING

Customers in the center.
People in front.

If we truly want to build a culture committed to customer satisfaction, it is impossible to develop this employee lifecycle without putting the customer at the center. To achieve this, we must move from the silos of transformation funnels to the momentum of the Phygital Flywheel cycle.

Read how we make it happen in companies.

The funnel is obsolete.

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