If you missed the first installment in our culture series, we suggest you get started there and then come back to this one.
So, your company has a solid foundation of clearly defined values. How do you turn that into a strong culture?
Remember, we define culture as the way we do things around here. One way culture is expressed is through the behaviors of the individuals within an organization. It’s a cyclical relationship: cultural beliefs and values inform the way people behave, and those behaviors continue to shape and sustain the culture.
That’s why a key part of creating a strong culture involves establishing strategies and structures that help motivate your people to behave in ways that align with your values.
At Think Up, we have numerous strategies and structures designed to create space to communicate, reinforce, and celebrate our core values. Here are a few examples of how we incorporate our values into the fabric of our company:
The [email protected]
Each week, the whole company gathers for the [email protected], which stands for What’s Up at Think Up. These meetings help us start each week with rituals that anchor us to our values. Sharing organizational and business development updates encourages open, transparent communication. These meetings also include Now You Know presentations, where Thinkers throughout the organization can teach us about something they’re passionate about—whether it’s an innovation that can apply to our work or just something fun that we can all enjoy. These presentations always highlight the diversity of thought, skill, and culture that Think Up values and that our Thinkers embody so well. In our first article, we described our practice of giving Value Caps—this happens during the [email protected] as well, providing an opportunity not only for weekly reinforcement of our values, but for celebration of one another as well.
Innovation Meetings: Noonovate and The Scramble
We’ve created dedicated time and space for innovation at Think Up through several different platforms, namely two meetings: Noonovate and The Scramble. Each meeting is unique, with variety in delivery methods and topics. Whether we’re discussing industry-relevant articles, practicing rapid prototyping and other design thinking techniques, or preparing and delivering small group presentations to solve problems, these meetings are designed as a platform to pursue our values of continuous improvement and creative, innovative, high-quality, tailored solutions powered by dynamic thinking.
Anniversary and Birthday Celebrations
We take celebrations seriously around here. On each Thinker’s anniversary with the company, we send out an org-wide post acknowledging the milestone. The big ones (5, 10, 15 years) also get a shout-out on our social media accounts. Birthdays keep the celebrations going as well. When we’re in the office, everyone surprises the unsuspecting birthday boy or girl at their desk. Decked out in birthday gear (think tiaras, feather boas, and noisemakers), we sing Think Up’s personalized birthday song before presenting them with a card that we’ve all signed. We value recognizing one another; of course we work hard, so we believe in having a lot of fun too!
With a foundation of clearly defined values, and specific methods that motivate people to behave in alignment with those values, we’ve covered the first two key ways to establish a strong culture. Our third article will cover the final component that’s necessary to support a strong culture: people who believe in, own, and live the culture.