What’s Your Culture Code?

inbound cultureMy name is _________, and I am a micromanager.  This is not how the interview process or first day of work usually kicks off for a new hire, but it sure would be nice for the employee to get a heads up if this is the case with their new boss.

Micromanaging is not limited to middle management in corporate America.  It happens all too often with start-ups and entrepreneurs.  Look, I will admit I am a micromanager.

Like many entrepreneurs, I have had a hard time delegating projects, asking for too many updates (daily and sometimes hourly), and providing too many task lists with too many updates and additional to do’s making their way onto the list.  I think you get the idea.

Can Micromanagers Change?

It is very difficult for a micromanager to change, but I am here to tell you it can be done.  For years I have wanted to adopt an inbound culture because it is fun, liberating, and usually very productive, but it isn’t for everyone. I tried to adopt this culture at my last business, but it never really had a chance of succeeding because my partner was very corporate and an even bigger micromanager than me.

So, now is my chance for redemption.  It is time to adopt, but where do I start? For me I need a landmark.  Something that provides me a clear view of the future that grab a hold of and hold onto in the future as a reminder of the change that is about to take place.  For me this landmark happened at HubSpot’s Inbound Conference in August when I sat is a session conducted by Dharmesh Shaw (@Dharmesh) about HubSpot’s Culture Code.

Here is the HubSpot Culture Code deck:

Culture Code: Creating A Lovable Company from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing Software

This is a long deck and worth taking the time to view every slide, but since this is a blog here are the Top 11 points:

1. Culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing.

2. Whether you like it or not, you’re going to have a culture. Why not make it one you love?

3. Solve For The Customer — not just their happiness, but also their success.

4. Power is now gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it.

5. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

6. You shouldn’t penalize the many for the mistakes of the few.

7. Results should matter more than when or where they are produced.

8. Influence should be independent of hierarchy.

9. Great people want direction on where they’re going — not directions on how to get there.

10. “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”

11. We’d rather be failing frequently than never trying.

According to Dharmesh, it took over 250 hours to complete this deck.  I am sure building the deck was not the hard part.  Instead, it was most likely the content.  I think the most important takeaway aside from the deck and the content of his presentation was that he did not implement this until HubSpot was three years old.

How to Affect Cultural Change

Now, you may be asking why this is relevant to micromanagers. Well, it has to do with changing your company culture and this starts at the top. The actions of the owner/CEO and management will ultimately cultivate the overall company culture, and it cannot be manipulated with they do not buy in and follow accordingly as culture does not allow exceptions to thrive.

So if you are or were a micromanager like me, this means you need to change to adopt and inbound culture.  You need to trust your employees and then show them you trust them by your own actions. Remember bullet point #9 above?  In theory, this is simple.

Provide your staff with clearly defined goals, deadlines, and then get out of their way and let them achieve greatness.  If they don’t achieve their goals or miss deadlines then address the issues, correct them with positive guidance and turn them loose again.

If they are not able to deliver then it is most likely your fault for hiring them or changing the rules during the game and time to hire someone new, but if you play the game the same way with your new hire you will get the same results, so stop micromanaging.

An inbound culture is very simple at least the way I see it.

  1. Hire well
  2. Trust your employees
  3. Empower the staff
  4. Stay out of their way (they are probably smarter than you)
  5. Clearly define individual and company goals
  6. Have fun
  7. Stop micromanaging

It takes a special type of company to be able to adopt and inbound culture and it is not for everyone, but one thing is for sure.  If you do you will have a lot more fun at work and will most likely empower a more productive work force.

Personal note

I have been a entrepreneur and micromanager for 21 years and have started to make changes to relinquish this self inflicted pain. Today is the first time that I have publicly admitted this or wrote about it.  I am guilty of the checklists, constant updates, questions, and constantly changing to-do lists that have handcuffed current and past employees.  I can honestly tell you that Dharmesh’s presentation not only had a positive impact on me, but is changing the way I will manage in the future for all of my business ventures.

Thank you Dharmesh!

I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below or you can email me at [email protected]. 

photo credit: .faramarz via photopin cc