What if meetings ended right after a decision was made? What if all presentations were replaced with brief memos? What if, instead of discussing how an app can transform corporate spending, you demonstrated an actual demo?
Culture may be a significant impediment to change and innovation. Culture hacks, some of which may be adopted in as little as 48 hours, can transform culture from a hindrance to an accelerator.
Hacking your culture is about identifying weak places within your organization and transforming them into strengths that enable you to focus more on delivering truly innovative products and services.
1. Weaponize Failure
Innovation is about experimenting and ongoing learning. Failure is a critical ingredient as errors will surely occur. One form of culture change can be encouraged by leadership. Leadership can foster a culture that embraces failure by, for example, sharing their own personal shortcomings. If leadership displays tolerance for risk taking, celebrate failure and the lessons it teaches - more team members will be encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and innovate.
2. Timely Decisions
Establish a rule that all choices must be made within 48 hours. This shifts responsibility. This can also be handled in different ways. For example, announce to your team leaders that making a decision on a matter earns them two points and costs them one point if it is a terrible judgment. Even if you make a poor decision, you are still better off than if you make no decision at all.
3. Rewarding Decisions
The above example is not about keeping score; rather, it is about instilling a new perspective for your managers. Rewarding your managers for stepping up and making decisions will empower them and have them enjoy their roles as leaders more. As a result, as CEO, you will find that you are spending less time working on resolving internal matters.
4. Hack Daily Routines
Stand-up meetings, while recommended and well thought out, may frequently devolve into lengthy complaining sessions. Rearrange furniture, or meet over lunch - Changing the scene every now and then to freshen up the mindset and mood of team members regularly attending. Fresh mindsets often lead to fresh ideas and solutions.
5. Ask Challenging Questions
Don't conclude any meetings until you have asked your team 3 difficult questions regarding the problem(s) or the main focus of your meeting. These questions should be directly relevant and aim to address any blockers that are hindering progress regarding the topic being addressed in your meeting. Your team might not have the answers right away - but it will force them to prepare themselves going forward by expecting such questions in future meetings.
6. Embrace Challenging Questions
Likewise, don't conclude any meetings until your team have asked you 3 difficult questions. The kinds of questions they may ask each other when the meeting is over. To alter your perspective, you must be willing to confront the difficult questions head on. In all likelihood, you will not know all of the answers to the difficult questions. The good news is that you don't need to know all of the answers. This fosters a growth mentality and a learning atmosphere.
7. Cancelling Status Meetings
C-level executives might spend the majority of their time dealing with meetings and email. Back-to-back meetings can be difficult and offer little opportunity for reacting to or reflecting on talks. Cancel status meetings in favour of concise written updates. This gives project owners decision-making ability, allowing them to drive things ahead and take action.
8. Hack Your Meeting Agendas
Meetings become ineffective if they go too long or if individuals arrive late. Alter the agenda of your meetings by putting voting and deciding upon focus items at the start and deferring further discussions until afterwards. This will foster a habit amongst all attendees to brief themselves about the focus items being discussed beforehand. Of course, sharing your clear and concise meeting agenda when booking the meeting, makes it a much easier and welcome task for all attendees.