Developing the Work Culture Your Team Needs

The Culture Game
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What culture does your workplace have? Essentially, it is important what kind of culture a company has.

With today’s businesses, competition all around – a culture that adapts well to the changes is a must. This is one of the reasons how companies keep up.

They have a culture that can respond well to change. How do we make this our company culture as well?

Today we look at a set of principles used in software development and how we can relate in to company culture – the Agile software development principles.

Strangely, we can use this set of concepts for analysis even though we are not in the software setting.

In essence, Agile principles enable teams to work well together. They have the ability to create software fast and respond to market needs accordingly.

However, do take note that applying Agile principles in a bigger setting is quite an undertaking. The thing with Agile, it’s meant to be practiced within a safe place because the participants put themselves in with a risk.

They should be able to express themselves without being threatened – that’s why it should be a safe place. A safe haven is harder to achieve the bigger the group is.

Here is the structure that a group can adapt to be Agile:

  • Commitment – Everyone should be willing to devote themselves to the objectives. It is only by commitment that people would want to pursue matters.
  • Focus – Our attention should be on the objectives. If we are distracted, we will be nowhere near the goals.
  • Communication – There should be a free exchange of communication. There should be an openness to be able to share what needs to be shared.
  • Courage – When you’re on your way to success, things aren’t always comfortable. Sometimes, it scares you. There should be courage to face what’s happening,
  • Respect – Most of all, this. This should be present to encourage communication between the members. There’s a feeling that it’s okay to speak because there is the presence of respect.

Now that we have characteristics to adapt what next should be practicing to be Agile?

Making Work More Meaningful

How do you make your work more meaningful? You can do this by defining the purpose. However, you should make the purpose clear and should be understood by everyone in the team. Around the purpose, you can build your goals, core values, and what strategies to employ.

When there’s a shared purpose, every individual feels a sense of participation – that you are in this together. They belong, they will feel that they are in a safe haven.

The driving purpose gives everyone a sense of where they are as well. What is happening can be aligned and compared to the purpose – it makes task easier to identify. This in turn makes work more meaningful because the tasks are purpose driven.

To create purpose:

  • Meetings – Call for a meeting but do make sure there’s an agenda and someone is assigned to head it. Keep it short as well!
  • Ask questions – This is necessary to get thoughts and feedback from everyone.
  • Listen to what they have to say – Let people talk and really hear what they want to voice out.
  • Managing the Conversations – When opinions are spoken out, some people may tend to feel strongly about it. Keep conversations going and safe.
  • Be creative – Think about ice breakers, role playing, games, and more to keep people active and participative. This way, more ideas are brought out and their creativity unleashed as well.

Who Heads the Meeting?

How do you make sure your meeting is time well spent? A useful meeting is something with an agenda and it has structure.

Another important thing to take note of, there should be a facilitator as well. They will manage the meeting from start to end. They will handle the flow and the discussion if it’s veering a bit away.

How do we create these kinds of meetings?

Assign a facilitator for the meeting. Make sure that the person assigned is willing to do this.

Strive for improvement. Assess what’s to improve every meeting to do know how to improve future discussions.

What Are Your Habits?

All would be in vain if you do not have the right habits to support the bigger purpose. What use is a goal when the habits to take you there is absent?

It is important that your values align to the greater goal. How you do your work affects the entirety. This is not limited to individuals as well, we will talk about group habits too. How the team works and how it contributes to the objectives. Are the core values and principles in place?

It should be a must to assess what habits does your team have. This way you’ll be able to identify and be better aligned with the goals.

How do we do this?

  • Know your habits. What are your work habits? What are the habits of the team and how does it affect the current situation?
  • Do this together. Identify as a team what the gaps are. Understand why these habits are preventing you from achieving more. Understand why you have been adapting these habits.
  • Generate ideas to improve. How should you as a team get better?
  • Commitment. Everyone should be in this together. The success depends on the participation of everyone in the team.
  • Implement. Choose one habit to change for a start and observe. Strive to improve as you later move on to the other norms you need to change as well.

Make Your Meetings Different

Meetings not done right is a waste of time. When the agenda is unclear, attendance isn’t complete, and no structure – expect the meeting to bomb.

Make meetings more engaging. Make the people more interested to participate as mentioned earlier. Put structure and organization into the discussion.

Make it a meeting worth attending, where people feel that they got more out of it when they leave the room.

  • Set an agenda – there should be a goal and guidelines of engagement. It’s necessary to set some certain “rules” to give the meeting a direction. Here’s what you can do:
  • Space between the meetings – There’s no point in scheduling meetings after meetings. And just the same – having a long one to compensate. Make meetings short to avoid making people restless. Give people also necessary space in between meetings to digest the matter and work on other tasks.
  • Track the meetings. Cross out any point that has been discussed to progress to the next topic. This will make the meetings more manageable.

Set the Limits

This of course is necessary. What are you in danger of when the boundaries have not been set?  If the limits are unclear it’s more likely that aspects discussed will become debatable.

There will be some who will take advantage of this and will go around what’s favorable to them. This will put others like those mentioned in advantage, others into disadvantage.

Put everyone in the same footing, set the boundaries. If it is clear and identifies, people would be abiding the same limits.

Learning

Make it a team learning. Make books available to everyone. Involve everyone in growing knowledge. Make your group an organization who values learning – learning together that is. No one is left behind. It’s a culture where everyone learns and the resources are available.

And those are the pointers you should consider to build a culture that’s worth noting within the organization. Create a safe place for everyone in the team and they are comfortable to engage. Make sure what you are all doing has a purpose to make everything more meaningful.

To move forward, hold meetings with someone heading them and with a clear structure. Build habits that contribute to the objectives. Set boundaries so everyone can be in the same page. Lastly, involve everyone in learning.

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