John Reid-Dodick helped the WeWork culture thrive as it scaled five-fold into new markets across the globe. Now he works to help enterprises and entrepreneurs build and evolve great cultures. Here is a sneak peek at his innovation lab on “How to Operationalize Culture: Lessons from the WeWork Experience” at the HRPS Annual Conference on Monday, April 8, at 3:00 p.m.
HRPS: Why is a culture of courageous leaders so important to an organization? How does it impact other areas of business?
John: It’s often said “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” An inspiring brand, a strong market position, a great strategy, a compelling product—all these will fall short without the right culture.
Leadership is one of the more powerful ways to shape an organization's culture. The best leaders articulate a compelling vision, define a winning strategy, allocate financial and human resources, and role model key behaviors.
Even more importantly, the best leaders generate a contagious positive energy that influences how work gets done, how people connect, how they create and innovate, and how fulfilled they feel by the company's purpose.
HRPS: What is the biggest takeaway you want attendees to get from your session?
John: Culture is often defined as “how things are around here” or “a company's personality.” These are passive definitions that imply that culture is something that just happens. At The We Company, we say culture is the “energy that surrounds us every day—it shapes who we are and how we work.”
Like energy, we believe culture is active—it's something you can shape if you focus on the right inputs. These inputs aren’t ping pong tables, foosball, or free lunch. The right inputs are deeper and more profound, making up what we call the Culture Operating System or cultureOS.
The goal of this session is for attendees to leave believing they play a key role as “culture operators” and understanding specific ways in which they can perform that role.
HRPS: Why do some organizations have bold culture while others do not?
John: Whatever you do, you will get a culture. The critical question is whether it's the culture you want. And even more importantly whether it's the culture you need in light of your purpose, your strategy, and your business model.
Many companies just let culture happen. Others earnestly try to shape their culture by defining their values and sharing them with their people. But getting the right culture is hard work. It takes time, persistence, and most importantly, a systemic and integrated approach to the things that most profoundly shape culture.
At The We Company, we developed the cultureOS to identify the critical inputs organizations need to focus on to shape the culture they want and need.