Great culture, no matter where we are, no
matter how big the organization, is not about intensity, it’s about consistency.
You can’t get into shape by going to the gym for 9 hours – it won’t work. But if
you work out every single day for 20 minutes, you will absolutely get into shape.
Intensity is like going to the dentist – it’s fixed in time, we know exactly what date we’re
going, we know how long we’re going to be there, and we know that when we come out our
teeth will feel smooth and look pearly, but if that’s all we do, all our teeth will
fall out. In other words, intensity is not enough. So we also know we’re supposed to
brush our teeth twice a day for 2 minutes in the morning and 2 minutes in the evening.
What does brushing your teeth for 2 minutes do? Nothing. It does absolutely nothing. Unless
you do it every single day. Can you leave out a day? Sure! How many days can you leave
out? I don’t really know. How many times do you have to brush your teeth before it
works? I don’t know that either. And this is why companies don’t do it. Because we
like intensity. We like things that are fixed in time and easily measured. We want to make
leaders? What do we do? We have a company off-site. We invite a whole bunch of speakers.
Everybody gives the event an 8.5. Leaders! No! No…
We like intensity. How do we fix broken companies? Reorg! New management! We can see the results.
Layoffs! We love it. Look at the savings. Yeah – in the short term. We love intensity
for the simple reason it’s easy to measure, we can calculate the day, we can calculate
the time, highly predictable. But it’s consistency that is the human part.
What does it take to fall in love? Buy her flowers. Remember her birthday. Important
– but if that’s all you do, it won’t work. It’s the little things. Like when
you wake up in the morning you say good morning to her before you check your phone. When you
get up to get yourself a drink, you bring one back without asking if they even wanted
one. Any one of those things, does nothing. It’s the accumulation of all of those things
done over the course of time, repeatedly, that means, one day someone will wake up and
go, oh my god I love you. And it’s the exact same thing in a company. Which is we do these
things repeatedly. So instead of waiting for Charlie to show
up at the meeting and he’s running a few minutes late and we’re all just on our phones…
Just waiting for Charlie… Just a few more minutes… Oh Charlie’s here. Good, let’s
start the meeting. Instead, we should have no phones in conference rooms ever. Because
you know what happens? We sit in the room and we talk. I heard your mum’s in hospital.
Oh she’s much better now, thanks for asking. And that’s called building relationships.
What does it do? Nothing. It does nothing. But if you do it on a regular basis over the
course of time, what ends up happening is you discover that you trust your colleagues,
that you love your boss, that you believe to the core of your being that if something
is wrong, they will be there for you. What starts to happen is you start to be willing
to be vulnerable. Vulnerable doesn’t mean walking around crying – that’s not what
it means. Vulnerable means that I am willing to raise my hand and say I made a mistake,
I’m not qualified for the job that you gave me, I don’t know what I’m doing – without
any fear that by revealing those things will you be humiliated or fired – and here’s
the joke – it’s good for business.