Have you ever worked anywhere that the culture has had an impact on how your department delivers?
Have you worked in a business where your product roadmap and delivery influences your company’s drumbeat?
It can make your team feel slow, sluggish or even at its worst can hit how teams deliver and can actually hurt confidence and create performance anxiety.
As I wrote in Problem Raisers, Problem Solvers, Problematics, the worst type of team member is the Negative Problematic who feels so burnt by lack of people listening and lack of delivering the feature they have recommended or what needs to be delivered by the company to make actionable change in their day but more importantly the market.
I have found across two decades the best companies have two running themes:
1/ Confidence in the leadership
Understand where you are headed, what you need to do to make the company successful and how important every team and individual is in making the company successful. Delivery seems effortless and driven throughout the business.
2/ Product Delivery
Interestingly, it is only in recent years that product delivery is being recognised as one of the most important success factors.
In a world that is more competitive than it has ever been and every brand is as dilutable as the last messaging, the last product use, the last release, Product delivery has become imperative.
The most important thing is not delivering the update it is improving the success metrics, however, getting into a confident flow can be worth it’s a weight in gold.
I have seen first hand, mentored and advised companies on how important delivery is and creating a “flow” aka a feeling of confidence and optimising delivery and successful product releases is the leading factor, especially with Marketing, Sales and Commercial parts of your business.
These departments seem to be the internal influential hubs that drive the sense of development.
Internal culture bleed enables excuses, it creates hiding places for staff members and worse still drives a blame culture.
Poor or no product delivery does the same thing and accelerates cultural bleeds.
If you do not have a ‘delivery culture’ and it starts to impact your teams, I call this internal culture bleed. It will negatively impact teams but as important the environment of your company (think the walls within your office or offices) and it then takes hold of individuals, especially high performers and ambitious members of your org.
It can also dampen the ‘ideas people’ within your business, this acts like a virus and that virus needs to be stamped out quickly.
How can a business tackle a problem like this, if they do dive into it?
They cannot. Internal culture bleed can become toxic without delivery, however, the most likely negative loop is from lack of Product change within your organisation and then highlights personal issues, driving in divides between people, teams and then budgets.
If you believe culture or corporate experts; it takes six months to achieve a high functioning team, it is said to reset every time a new member joins the team.
Imagine the impact of no releases and then the lack of energy that drives in and around your org.
One new member joining a team or a new leader can really hinder a team but a great new leader or inspirer can really reset this.
On the flip side, a new leader can become intoxicated by the internal culture bleed and becomes a dead weight, this impacts teams across multiple quarters.
The answer is not always a singular team that concentrates on addressing problems through to delivery, however, a team or department that breaks this cycle can be priceless, developing a dedicated team that focuses on the delivery of quality work and communications and resets the status quo has a long-serving hit of company caffeine.
As a seasoned leader, I have found creating a dedicated unit of cross-functional teams has a real positive impact, alternatively, if you can bring together a cross-functional unit that focuses on a handful of issues and addresses them this can also improve the flow and confidence through an organisation.
Communicating wins and losses is essential, why: this shows not only are you releasing and making positive change for your customers and potential consumers, you are fighting, you are improving the internal experience and can be a beacon of light for the next best idea or can be a place where collaboration happens and delivers externally, refreshing the internal teams and then subcultures.
If you ever speak to people outside your vertical or alternatively speak to people without skin in your game, they talk highly of companies that are either always in the news or always perceived to be releasing or saying something, “I see you everywhere” is a common misconception of making a positive change in the market but perception is king, queen and everything in between for mid and large-sized brands.
Steps to address cultural bleed Identify the issues:
> Discuss the issues – Select a unit to address these (anyone that say yes but or no but they aren’t going to be the right fit) – here is a growth process you can follow:
> Ensure these issues have a roadmap based on impact and priority
> Create quick releases or tests
> Measure, iterate, communicate
> Revisit or select new issue
> Or bring new people to look at the issue differently
> Rinse and repeat
Don’t allow culture bleed to impact your company, find pockets of issues and encourage people to address these issues in any way they can, bring these people together collectively and tell the story, assign the metrics you moved and what others can learn from this. It is amazing how people gravitate to positive change, ensure your unit embraces these people and see this filter through your business.
Remember to discuss this throughout your organisation, especially from the designated person leading (the leader) to that one person who acts as the glue or the drummer, although these people have thankless jobs, they are vital in addressing cultural bleeds. If you’d like to discuss cultural bleeds and product delivery happily email me