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Graham4-player-wide.jpgRemember P.E. class in middle or high school, when we had sports-of-the-season teams?


If you were talented (or lucky) enough to get on the A-players team, life was sweet. You were instantly popular and everyone had fun, until…some kids graduated, others moved away, and a few announced new priorities. Then your old team essentially became a new team and you had to mesh with a new set of personalities, aspirations and abilities. Was it easy to regain morale and momentum, and win again?


In the corporate world, it’s a different game, but the same story, especially in the high-tech sector, where one company even had 15 M&A’s (mergers and acquisitions) all in one recent year. Talk about changing teams!


What are the risks of forcing thousands of employees to instantly ‘play nice’ together? Worst case scenario: a ‘Frankenstein culture’ of clashing priorities and strategies, silos dividing people, and a backlash against leaders who likely were struggling to hold it all together.


The most successful company is not about whose employees are drinking the Kool-Aid – it’s whether your employees believe in the mission you set them out to do, as a cohesive unit. On the flip side, a company whose employees neither love nor understand its newly metamorphasized culture could be forced to disband, putting investors and market share in dire risk. The moral of the story: strategize so your teams fit the corporate culture or get eaten by competition that puts its people first.  


Frankenstein was an “evil mesh of things; a monster,” in Mary Shelley’s 1813 novel, but your company culture doesn’t have to be. Click to hear experts Jacob Morgan, CEO of Chess Media Group, Inc.; Sarah Cooke, SVP of Great Place to Work; and Deb Stambaugh, Senior Director in Marketing at SAP, share insights on how to drive effective culture transformation.


Top memorable insights from this episode:

  1. Work as we know it is dead: Used to be synonymous with “drudgery”.  Working [just your] 9 to 5 is no longer the case anymore. The big shift is in how employees work, how managers lead, and how employers build the company. -Jacob Morgan @JacobM 
  2. Frankenstein Culture: too much attention to the musical chairs and not enough to the cultural values. You aren’t just buying the intellectual property in an acquisition, you’re buying the PEOPLE. You bought a company – bits and pieces of different legacy cultures can be an obstacle to collaboration and assimilation. -Deb Stambaugh @debstambaugh
  3. Every strength applied too intensely can become a negative. Don’t throw out all the bathwater with the baby. Collaboration is an example. Look at the strengths that have gone too far and dial them back. –Sarah Cooke @Sarah703
  4. You have to listen from the bottom up. People at the top have to foster a trusting environment and allow the individuals to live into it.  How do we hire to drive change from the bottom up? The top should become unafraid to lose control. –Sarah Cooke @Sarah703
  5. According to Dr. Gary P. Hamel, American management expert, now employees are saying, “This is what we believe in, this is what we want to do” and disrupting the future of work. Employees have far more power today. People are able to dictate how they want to work and who they work for. It’s not just the fact there are millennials in the workforce (who want) flexible work, real-time feedback. It’s the fact that by 2020 many millennials and their expectations will flood the workplace. -Jacob Morgan @JacobM 
  6. Culture is not just about behavior – but should be synonymous with driving strategy. When you get culture right, it can drive everything else in your organization. Say ‘no’ to the right things. Your people are your brand, repping your brand to the outside world. Inauthenticity’s cover can be blown easily. You can’t be something [a culture] that you’re not. Listen to your people and bring them into the dialogue and discussion. -Deb Stambaugh @debstambaugh  

Top #CrystalBall Predictions for 2020: 

  1. The big winners of the future are cultures where sales/product development are rewarded. Succession should be based on alignment and behavior. [There will be more emphasis on] not just brand value, but culture value, [which companies] collaborate and [which] don’t. It will be a balanced, two-way conversation from the leadership perspective. Millennials will bring ideals and values. Old work method: Ask for permission at the beginning, forgiveness at the end. New method: With this access to info, it’s flipped [forgiveness first, permission last! -Deb Stambaugh @debstambaugh
  2. The future seems far off. But the same conversation keeps popping up. However, there are things that can’t be ignored in the house of HR. How do I get my development and research done? You have to look for the changes in culture they’re looking for. The groups aren’t connecting on these topics – shocking. Culture officers and HR. Conversation can’t be separate. –Sarah Cooke @Sarah703
  3. Internet of things. Freelancers. Women in senior management roles. -Jacob Morgan @JacobM 

The next episode of HR Trends with Game Changers Radio explores Purpose-Driven Employees: Sustainable Happiness and The Bottom Line with a panel of HR thought leaders and experts. Stay tuned and follow our thought leaders’ words of wisdom on Twitter at #SAPRadio  @bizbreakradio  @mikegmontalban.


Co-edited with Bonnie D. Graham

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