For most executives, organizational culture has been a bit of a mystery. We read about companies with great cultures: Zappos, Rackspace, REI, Southwest Airlines, etc., but how did they create workplace environments that enabled their employees to be more efficient, passionate and effective? Was it deliberate? If so, can it be repeated and designed?
For ten years, Gapingvoid Culture Design Group has been working with some of the most culture-centric businesses in the world -- seeing what works -- and developing new approaches to design and scale what we call end-to-end Culture Design.
In the midst of their tinkering and testing, Gapingvoid has come up with something incredibly useful, scientific, artful, and effective.
The tool they've developed is so effective that many of the leading entrepreneurs and organizations are using it.
So what is it?
It's called The "Culture Wall."
The Culture Wall
How Are These Things?
According to Gapingvoid's founder and CEO, Jason Korman:
Organizational culture is the product of the mindset that your people bring to work every day. It is informed by a complex mix of beliefs, values, capabilities, vision, mission, purpose, etc. When taken together, your culture becomes the operating system of your organization. It defines how people do everything, and how they operate and relate to rules and their coworkers.
Paraphrasing our friend and client, Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos and one of the great culture innovators of our time: "Culture is the only thing that your competitors cannot steal or copy".
Only you have the ability to create a unique experience within your business, for employees and customers. Only you can craft the impact that you want to have on your community and the world.
You cannot simply do this by making a better mousetrap, or being cheaper or having a niftier app. These are simply outcomes from highly motivated people working together. It starts with people.
The 3 Purposes Of The "Culture Wall"
According to Korman, the Culture Wall has 3 specific purposes. Which he explains as follows:
- Communicate: The key to culture is communication. It is simply impossible to build a great culture without the vocabulary and tools to introduce the beliefs that drive culture at scale. Traction is driven by the ability to articulate and visualize the cultural norms that will help your leaders lead and turn culture into a movement.
- Spread Culture: Your Culture Wall is designed to be an essential tool for building and spreading culture. In application, it becomes the center of your conversations about meaning, purpose and mindset. It's the most effective way to spread ideas that otherwise are really hard to communicate.
- Socialize Beliefs: The Culture Wall transforms your office into a metaphorical and physical shrine to your culture through the socialization of your company's beliefs. The wall aligns your people's mindset to the mission of the company by reminding them of the purpose behind their work, and why they do what they do.
I'm Seeing These Things Everywhere
I'm both an organizational psychologist and an entrepreneur. By training, I study organizational culture, behavior change, and leadership.
I'm always looking for how the cutting-edge entrepreneurs and organizations are optimizing their people. Over and over recently, I'm seeing some of the best thinkers using Gapingvoid's work.
As a member of the elite Strategic Coach 10X program, run by Dan Sullivan, I've seen Gapingvoid culture walls all over the Strategic Coach offices. Similarly, as a member of Genius Network, the high-tier entrepreneurial mastermind run by Joe Polish, I've seen Gapingvoid culture walls all over the Genius Network offices.
I've seen there other places as well. People love these things.
Here's what excites me. While at both Strategic Coach and Genius Network, I hear not only employees continually references the values and beliefs, I also hear the clients discussing the values and beliefs. This shows me that the culture is being translated through the culture wall into the people.
I've experienced it firsthand. It works. This is an incredibly innovative, scientific, and artful approach to culture design. And from what I've gathered, the most influential and cutting-edge entrepreneurs are using these.