Meet Josh Levine – organisational culture guru and author of Great Mondays
We’ve all been there. Waking up Monday morning to the dread that signals the return to a work environment that’s more toxic than Britney’s.
See, it doesn’t matter how much you get paid, how fancy your job title is, or how impressive your employer is. Workplaces with bad cultures make for unhappy employees.
Enter Josh Levine; friend to Strivin and author of Great Mondays – a book (and a movement) about why company culture matters.
We caught up with Josh to talk about what he has to say about designing a company culture that employees love.
Covid and company culture
Josh wrote Great Mondays back when Covid was just a twinkle in a fruit bat’s eye. It’s safe to say that the territory of workplaces has shifted just a little since then. And in many cases, that shift has been… well… literal.
“The biggest shift in the post-covid world has been the understanding that people have choices,” Josh says.
“Businesses aren’t all in one big town now. People can live anywhere. Talented people have more choices than ever.”
On the other hand, Covid and the remote work culture has created the potential for greater disconnection from co-workers.
“One of the biggest reveals of the last three years is that relationships are a critical component of work,” says Josh.
“Post-covid, those classic ‘water cooler’ moments aren’t happening in physical offices. And we’re finding that people are closer to their immediate teams, but much more disconnected from everyone else at their company.”
Culture and your company’s financial performance
In the siloed world of corporate departments finance doesn’t sit with HR. But while they might seem like worlds (or at least floors) apart, workplace culture and financial performance are more connected than you think.
In Josh’s opinion, “Culture is one of the most important but most underutilised tools a business has”.
The good news? Businesses are beginning to get the picture.
“Organisations are starting to understand that good culture is not a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’,” he reflects.
“My prediction is that in the next 5 years, the organisations that are unable, unwilling or unaware of the importance of relationship building, will see an increase in dysfunction or decrease in production.”
The 6 components of company culture
In Great Mondays, Josh highlights six components of effective company culture:
- Purpose – your North Star (why you’re in business in the first place beyond $$)
- Values – the 3-5 most important choices you need to make to achieve said purpose
- Behaviours – The practicalities of how to actually make purpose happen
- Recognition – rewarding values-driven behaviours (rather than outputs)
- Rituals – how we build and strengthen relationships between team members
- Cues – physical, behavioural and digital reminders of why we’re in business.
He talks about these in detail on his Youtube channel.
And that sneaky 7th component
During the conversation, Josh also highlighted a 7th ‘secret’ component to company culture: Feedback.
“It’s about collecting, analysing and synthesising what’s working and what’s not…,” he says. “It’s one of the conversations I’m having with my colleagues at the moment.”
Why we need culture champions
While most companies have their vision and values mapped out, there’s often a disconnect between that work and actual culture.
“That’s where we’re going wrong,” says Josh. “We need culture champions.”
Josh argues that culture should be its own department in corporate environments, beyond the remit of HR.“Who is in charge of the care and feeding the culture? HR already has enough they’re dealing with. There needs to be a Chief Culture Officer.”
Culture is never ‘done’
Culture is more important than ever, so it’s essential that it’s not a one-hit-wonder.
Newly defined brand values and manifestos are launched with fanfare, only to slide off the agenda when work gets in the way.
“You can’t just be like, ‘Okay, culture. Check, done’ and that’s it,” says Josh.
“How do you remind people? How do you get them on the page?”
“Culture needs to be a big deal to a company. We need to be talking about values all the time. The CEO needs to stand up and say, ‘Hey, this is really important’.”
“I think a dedicated culture team is a big part of that picture.”
Finding Great Mondays
There’s more to culture than ping pong tables and free snacks. It’s something that is deliberately designed and cultivated.
Great Mondays should be on the reading list for anyone who cares about creating great company culture.