Creating the right culture for Super7 Operations

How to create the right culture for Super7 teams?

Creativity and autonomy florishes within a culture of trust, support, stretch and discipline. Traditional companies often rely on constraints, compliance, control and binding through contracts. This is explained excellenty by Prof. Sumantra Ghosha.

Recently, I was given a tip to watch a short clip form Prof. Sumantra Ghoshal, called “the smell of the place”. To my opinion, this clip is very relevant for autonomous teams, scrum, agile and Super7 Opertions. Below, you’ll find his brilliant speech from the World Economic Forum about corporate environments and the faults of management in creating a positive work place.

The smell in which creativity and autonomy – and therefore Super7 Operations – will florish

  • Stretch (environment in which everybody wants to take that extra step)
  • Discipline (self-discipline, be on time, agree to disagree and committ to decisions)
  • Support (managers change from exercisers of control to coaching, guidance, support)
  • Trust (act on the presumption that people act in the best intrest of their company)

 In contrast, the smell traditional companies often create:

  • Constraints in stead of stretch,
  • Compliance in stead of dicipline,
  • Control in stead of support,
  • Contracts in stead of trust.

Important lesson from this video is that the smell can be changed. You can convert the smell of the place from “downtown Calcutta in the summer” to “a forest in spring”. It has been done before. And, you can use the smell metaphor in explaining and visualizing this change.

One department I recently visited had a brown paper on their Scrum-wall, on which all teammembers rate the smell they are smelling on a scale from 1 (Calcutta) to 10 (Forest). This way, they can monitor the culture, and address issues that cause ‘bad smells’.

Menno R. van Dijk.