It’s said that culture is the rule by which a company’s employees act when no one is watching over them. If that’s the case then, in the predominantly Work From Home environment, it’s every man/woman for themselves.
The image above (from programmer/cartoonist Manu Cornet)) is a caricature of the various cultures predominant among the largest tech firms. As you can see, the description of Microsoft’s culture at the time was a ‘dog-eat-dog’ and a ‘win-at-all cost’ culture.
I remember watching YouTube snippets of Steve Balmer pacing the stage and ranting about destroying competitors, exhorting the troops onwards. I thought about the implications of an aging workforce, complacency, and the internal battles that were going on as they tried to build new products, bought Nokia…all amid the battles to ensure that Microsoft Office was maintained as the forever cash cow.
Well, Satya Nadella replaced Balmer, and it was like a tsunami hit the organization, shaking the company out of its lethargy with a focus on culture as well as productivity and innovation. Simplistically, here’s what they did:
1.They focused on three clear guidelines:
  • Create clarity
  • Generate energy
  • Deliver success
2.Everyone at Corporate VP level and above participated in a leadership development program. Something that hadn’t been done in 20 years.
3.Their internal employee rating system was eliminated so instead of obsessing about their ratings they became more engaged and productive. It was absolutely clear how rewards would now be allocated.
4.Thie mission statement became ’empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more’ replacing ‘a computer on every desk and in every home’.
The focus was no more on winning at all costs. It was also about helping others.
Well, Microsoft is a unique example that none of us compare with. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t change the culture within our organization, even when we’re working remotely.
One way of taking stock, is using the graph below to evaluate employees who have left in the last year or so, or who you have on your team. By plotting their cultural and performances, you can gain a good sense of your success (or lack of) of hiring for culture as well as output..
Here are the criteria to use in plotting the performance cultural fit graph
Culture Fit Scoring:
  1. Total Mismatch
  2. Not well aligned
  3. Some similarities, but more differences
  4. Many similarities with a few differences
  5. Well aligned across most areas
  6. Pillar of culture
Job Performance Scores
  1. Failure to accomplish what was expected
  2. Failure to perform to expectations
  3. Satisfactory performance a majority of the time
  4. Good performer
  5. Solid, reliable top performer
  6. Employee’s contribution critical to team success
BTW, here’s the article on Satya Nadella and the changes he has initiated at Microsoft.. It’s an eye-opening read.