There is no doubt that a big part of designing a vibrant culture involves connecting things. In fact, it wouldn’t be a total stretch to say that connection is literally the “whole” of it (since the only way a whole can be made is through connection). Just off the top of our head, here’s a list of things to connect when seeking to design a vibrant culture:
- The “why” of the business to the “what” and “how” of the business
- The purpose for your life to the Essence of the company
- The big goals of the organization to the everyday details
- The company’s policies to the employees’ aspirations
- The people in your department to the people in another department
- The people in your organization to the wider community
There are many more that are not on this list, but you get the point. If vibrant culture is about anything, it’s about connecting things.
When you add Experience to organizational culture change,
you multiply the importance of connection tenfold.
Because with vibrant culture rooted in consumer Experience Design, things can’t just be “touching each other” with minimal congruence, they must be within each other. This type of connection happens in your culture when people experience the power of their collective potential with both their eyes and their hearts. It happens when they can connect the potential they see to what they feel; this is their collective power in the world. In fact, the last of Starizon’s 6-I’s of Experience ® is nothing if not a powerful example of this integrated connection in action. (For the complete list 6-I’s of Experience ® follow click here.)
The “I” of INSTITUTE focuses on weaving together the Essence of the organization into every policy, action, communication, employee and even into the surrounding community. In this way, the achievement of the collective potential can be reached and the highest aspirations of the organization can be realized. On the most expansive level, creating this connection can be carried out through a dynamic corporate university or through an interactive on-line platform (See the Star Chamber as an example). It can also be achieved through catalysts, such as Zappos’ pay to leave policy that make it obvious when an individual won’t live up to its cultural aspirations. The most innovative organizations will do both.
What you won’t see in our last “I” of Experience Design are the usual approaches taken by many companies to enact BIG change by rubber-banding policy manuals, employee evaluations, and change management systems together. Why? Because we know what little change actually happens when separate things are left to just touching each other and what big change happens when the separate pieces are woven within each other.
Those of you that have visited our studio in Keystone may remember the teachings of Beethoven, learning that a symphony means a great “sounding together.” But if you’ve ever been to a symphony, you’ll know the great cacophony that first occurs when musicians warm up their instruments. They are next to one another but the sound is one of discord. The real magic happens when the conductor takes the stage and the “next to one another” transforms into a connection come to life.
Through your vibrant culture work, you are conducting your own great organizational masterpiece, connecting your company’s individual notes and non-musical measures. You are turning the discordance of just “touching one another” into the power of collective connection that is within one another. You are creating a synchronized culture of vibrance.