|By Michael Bushong||
|April 29, 2014 06:00 AM EDT||
Technology is forever changing. Products are basically a snapshot in time. They too come and go. But corporate culture is enduring. In some ways, it defines what a company is. In other ways, it reflects it. Companies that diligently nurture a positive culture thrive. But what do you do if the corporate culture needs a little work?
The first step in making progress is admitting you have a problem. There never seems to be alignment in the company, but that is easily explained away by the lack of process. Maybe decisions take too long to make, but that’s because there are a lot of competing viewpoints. It could be that there is some overarching conflict in the organization, but of course there is that one bad apple.
It’s frighteningly easy to explain away almost anything that ails the company. There is always some excuse. But it’s the fact that there is always some excuse that is the problem in the first place. If you find that you are always explaining away symptoms, that’s the first sign that you might have a culture problem.
So the first rule of breaking the cycle is to stop being a culture apologist. Rather than rationalize everything away, you need to take a measured assessment. Basically, if someone who didn’t know anything about your company was asked to write down some conclusions based only on what they saw, what would those conclusions be?
For example, it might be that your company prides itself on open and honest communication. But would an outside observer who talks to individual contributors find that everyone has access to information? Or is information shared at some levels but not reliably propagated through the rest of the company? Maybe your company is based on honest feedback in support of a meritocracy. But are issues resolved primarily in the open or through rigorous backchannel communications?
It’s tough to stare into that mirror. Because we all know that culture in some ways reflects who we are, when a culture seems less than ideal, we end up looking right back at ourselves. Drawing the conclusion that we are in part to blame for the very thing we wish was different can be a soul-searching moment.
And you are likely to not be compelled to change the first time you see the reflection.
Coming out of college, I spent more time working and less time working out. Over time, I became a little squidgy around the edges. I stared at myself in the mirror everyday, but it didn’t really hit me until we took family photos at Christmas. Staring at the photo, I was a bit incredulous. Is that REALLY me? Despite seeing myself everyday, I needed the jarring image to commit to doing something different.
So it is with culture.
If you sense that the culture might not be ideal, you might need to take a look at it from the outside. Try talking to people in the organization who are newer or maybe not in established circles. Ask them to describe how the company works. Don’t ask them about the culture per say, but rather how information is shared, what the corporate vision is, how the company is doing… And then listen. Not the kind of listening where you are formulating responses in your head and waiting for them to take a breath so you can chime in. Really listen. Commit to being quiet other than asking clarifying questions. Your only interjections ought to be “Thank you” and “Tell me more”.
Getting a sober view of the current State of the Union gets you halfway there. But what do you actually do about it?
Making cultural change is hard work. There is no silver bullet. You can’t send a company memo or make a presentation at a corporate all-hands meeting. There is no retreat or ropes course that will change things. Adding signs to the lobby espousing your aspirational goals is useless. And if you think you will train your way out of a bad culture, you are delusional.
Culture runs deeper than that. It takes personal commitment and personal change. It takes recognition and deliberate action. If you want to break bad habits, you have to start with yourself.
For example, if the company culture is a bit risk averse (a culture of ‘No’), you need to be particularly mindful of that in your own behavior. When you are in discussions about new ideas, do you find yourself tilting towards the negative? In the moment, it is extremely easy to justify this behavior. It’s a bad idea. We shouldn’t be doing that. But there are other ways to handle the situation.
In that moment, at the point of attack, you might consider deliberately suspending disbelief. Even if your instinct is to say no, explicitly work through the problem from the other side: What would have to be true for this to be a yes? A simple reframing of the situation changes your approach to the conversation. Instead of shooting holes in the argument, you fight to make the idea more sound.
This seems dead simple, but consider for a moment what it feels like for the recipient. It changes the entire nature of the exchange. An immediate no puts her on the defensive, whereas fighting for yes makes the two of you partners. This subtle difference echoed through the entire organization can be culture-changing.
The point here is less about the specific example and more about the need for deliberate, in-the-moment consideration of your actions. If the culture is important to you, it takes dedicated, focused efforts. When left unchecked, your actions have contributed to whatever the current culture is. If you really want a different outcome, you have to be explicit about offering a different input.
[Today’s fun fact: An Ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. I feel like an ostrich some days.]
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Aug. 29, 2016 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 280
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Aug. 29, 2016 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,485
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Aug. 29, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,438
Qosmos has announced new milestones in the detection of encrypted traffic and in protocol signature coverage. Qosmos latest software can accurately classify traffic encrypted with SSL/TLS (e.g., Google, Facebook, WhatsApp), P2P traffic (e.g., BitTorrent, MuTorrent, Vuze), and Skype, while preserving the privacy of communication content. These new classification techniques mean that traffic optimization, policy enforcement, and user experience are largely unaffected by encryption. In respect wit...
Aug. 29, 2016 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,869
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
Aug. 29, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 911
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Aug. 29, 2016 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,661
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Aug. 29, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,980
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
Aug. 29, 2016 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 836
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Aug. 29, 2016 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 325
StarNet Communications Corp has announced the addition of three Secure Remote Desktop modules to its flagship X-Win32 PC X server. The new modules enable X-Win32 to safely tunnel the remote desktops from Linux and Unix servers to the user’s PC over encrypted SSH. Traditionally, users of PC X servers deploy the XDMCP protocol to display remote desktop environments such as the Gnome and KDE desktops on Linux servers and the CDE environment on Solaris Unix machines. XDMCP is used primarily on comp...
Aug. 29, 2016 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 794
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
Aug. 29, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,567
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Aug. 29, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,745
As the world moves toward more DevOps and Microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The Microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. Serverless computing is revolutionizing computing. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Raghav...
Aug. 29, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,001
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Aug. 29, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,028
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Aug. 29, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 839