Learn to explore gaps in social systems and drive organizational culture change
You might be familiar with articles, methods or work related to organizational culture that lauds the making of guides, manifestos and cultural decks as a solid path for development, or better yet, a way of defining the company’s culture. When the aforementioned strategies coupled with, a series of workshops, team building sessions, afternoon tea with the president, the internal communication plans, among other things, are proposed, they share some common beliefs such as:
We change or develop culture when people transform their way of seeing the world, that is, change their mindset.
To have the culture we want, people must be informed about it and constantly aligned with the company’s vision and values
Such channels bet on a cultural change through the transformation of individuals, if each person changes their world view – it’s enough to change the culture, Ahh, if it were only that simple. Yes, change does happen through individuals, but a focus on people only is ineffective when it comes to transforming organizational culture.
We believe that people are both strongly influenced by the systems they are part of, as well as influencers of those same systems. Thus, we prefer to act through the structure, to intervene by way of artifacts that stimulate behaviors. We prefer to act on changes that are experienced rather than changes that are communicated or announced – like wishlists that never materialize. If a new narrative is presented (that being the dissemination of the new culture), without changing the means of interactions (the structure) the success of change is highly unlikely.
Check out some of the differences noticed in our approach compared to what we generally find in the market:
How culture is generally approached
Lots of pretty words and flashy decks | They write a diagnostic report, with flashy words that supposedly capture the “essence” of the organization’s culture. In practice, it is not clear how cultural changes are promoted.
Naive | They describe desired behaviors and invest in leadership programs to “teach” those behaviors. They feed into the hope that things will change through lectures, courses and internal marketing.
BDUF | They make big plans up front and design programs that seek to affect everyone in the organization for years to come, without ever testing or validating what is proposed on a smaller scale.
Theme for the top of the pyramid | They look at culture as if it could only be generated with the actions and words of a few in HR and C-level.
Excessive standardization | They seek to standardize or disseminate practices that make sense in only part of the organization.
They do much of the same over and over again | Intervention proposals that involve the same elements as always, such as: Leader Development Program, learning paths and competency matrix.
Our approach to culture
Pragmatic | We start with real problems and tensions that are felt in the day to say and on a recurring basis. We propose and/or help people to design structural interventions that seek to alleviate these tensions.
Realistic | We believe in structural actions that change the way work is done. We don’t feed false hopes or look for the easy route.
Iterative | We design and teach people how to design experiments, explain hypotheses and run prototypes.
Distributed | We know that culture is constantly being shaped by everyone’s actions and at the same time shaping everyone’s actions, so we encourage all to be cultural designers and hackers.
Adaptive | We propose spaces and processes that allow for the adaptation and continuous creation of practices and structures.
Creative | Nothing in organizational design is taken for granted, immutable, or sacred. Everything is open and can be adapted, resignified or even abolished.
Is a way of interfering in the social systems in which we work and live, challenging assumptions and identifying breaches in social systems. With culture hacking there is no need for a charter or major cultural transformation processes, coming from the leadership. Here we focus on skills, techniques and insights developed by change agents, capable of observing cultural traits in an investigative way and creating solutions for tangible and actionable transformations.
Above all, we define hacking as an attitude of nonconformity with the status quo, coupled with a preference for unusual solutions that can be implemented immediately rather than thinking about big transformations that never get off the ground. Hacks can be translated as “improvisations” or even “short cuts”, we define hacks as oblique interventions that can transform a social system, even if a hacker doesn’t have explicit permission. Aha! Yes, change agents can be hackers.
How the course works
Get ready for 6 interactive 3 hour sessions where you will learn concepts and practice hacking techniques to change organizational culture. In addition to the synchronous classes, it is important to dedicate time, approximately 2 hours weekly, between sessions to do activities and watch video classes. The preparation and practise work is an essential part of the course.
In the classes we will learn about:
- What is organizational culture after all?
- How and from what does culture formed?
- Culture as a social operating system, but with much more complexity;
- Culture Design: The change from the outside in;
- Artifacts and the stories they tell;
- Creative tensions that are felt in everyday life and on a recurring basis.
- Designing structural interventions that seek to alleviate these tensions.
- Iterations: design experiments, explicit hypotheses and run prototypes.
- WTF is hacking? Modern behavioral science;
- The difference between cultural design and culture hacking and the conditions commonly called hacking;
- Mapping culture hacking stratagems and fields of practice;
- Being a designer and hacker – “Hacking Real Life”: Empowering change with the application of hacks in organizations.
- Recognize pragmatic, adaptive and creative approaches to working with culture;
- Hacking and ethics.
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