Part of our work is culture hacking. Let me re-phrase: Almost all of our work is culture hacking. In general, we get our biggest kicks when a pilot project suddenly succeeds with doing something we’ve been hoping they would succeed with. It facilitates ‘Internalisation’ like nothing else (conf. the concept defined by e.g. Edgar Schein – it’s one of our true reference models)! And internalisation drives culture definition.
Anyway – Christian Brix Jacobsen is the left of the 5 handsome guys working on the strategy synthesis.
This blog is actually just a 1:1 rip-off of the article published in our internal employee magazine. It goes out to 15000+ people in print (5000 by snail mail to their home address).
The demand for faster product development calls for a strengthened cooperation across cultures and time zones. Therefore, advice has been given by the global employee team in Mechanical Hydraulic Development, in developing the strategy.
When the workday has ended in China, it has barely begun in USA, while in Denmark it is early in the afternoon. Time differences create daily challenges when collaboration is needed for creating new products, and besides this, cultural differences and work methods are not always a great match. According to Christian Brix Jacobsen, it is therefore critical that all employees in Mechanical Hydraulic Development help create a strategy which is to act as a guiding star for the work development. And this must especially be viewed in the light of the fact that the global development function went through a radical restructuring last year, in order to be able to develop products faster.
– We have to work in a completely new way and therefore we need to wipe the slate clean and start over. Many of my employees do not know each other’s competences and since they are located six different places in the world at the same time, it is crucial to have a broad agreement, says Director Christian Brix Jacobsen.
Innovative thinking was necessary
Consequently, he has chosen a different approach than earlier, as he was to develop a new strategy. It should no longer be the management that charted the lines of direction. Instead, all employees were given the opportunity to give their view on the matter.
Another and just as important element in the strategic planning was to rethink how the communication was to be carried out. For that reason, Christian Brix Jacobsen created a group on Yammer, so all 63 employees could follow what one another wrote.
– For most of them it was a completely new way of communicating, and it is entirely different from writing a personal e-mail, he says, and explains that is was odd for him as manager, having to answer concrete inquiries in plenum.
Classic example of employee involvement
During the process, he has been supported by Department Head in Global Working Culture Thomas Asger Hansen, who thinks that the method is a classic example on how to carry out strategic work.
– I think most people have tried what it feels like to have a piece of paper stuck in your hand, describing a strategy which you have not been involved in the development of. I do not doubt that all employees have something to offer, but it takes a great deal of overcoming to make use of a social media like Yammer, because you have to answer to everything you write, he says.
Christian Brix Jacobsen tells that more than 40 employees offered concrete ideas and instructions of which areas the strategy should concern and also what the strategy actually should contain.
– I was astonished by the number of contributions, and it shows their great commitment and desire to affect the process, he says.
Subsequently, the management has been assembled for two days during which, on-going Adobe Connect sessions have been held, and where employees have commented the strategy, which were constructed in the process.
– The process is important, and to our organisation, Yammer has come to stay, because we can work together more efficiently as the different experts around the world can utilize each other’s key competences, by simply posting something on Yammer. It creates a new and up till now unseen dynamic, which ultimately means that we can develop products faster and more efficiently, he says.