Exponential culture. I love this concept. I love the idea and what it can potentially do to transform organisations.
When we talk about exponential, we automatically default to technology and certainly the more exponential types of technology you have in an organisation like AI or quantum computing.
However, there are other elements that are just as important.
If you’re going to build an exponential business, if you’re going to scale this business, there are three components, that I believe, that make up an exponential culture.
The first is the structural code.
It’s all about how you structure your business to scale.
Now, if you look at the traditional hierarchical framework, it’s highly fixed.
There’s no innovation, there’s no flexibility. It’s defined by bureaucracy and politics. You can’t scale in an organisation like that, and I’m a firm believer in the idea that your environment defines the way that you behave, and that you’ve got to manage the environment to define how you actually manage behaviour within the organisation.
And your business structure correlates to this point of view.
At Teraflow, we do this through a network of teams approach, where we will not ever have this fixed hierarchical framework.
- We get rid of the middle management layer,
- We empower the teams to make decisions.
- We decentralise our decision making capability.
That is what structural code is. It gives you the ability to scale.
The second code is the relationship code.
You can only scale if you can actually get along with one another.
Can you imagine trying to scale in a political environment where we are all playing politics and trying to control how things are happening?
A big driver of politics tends to be position.
And that shines through in a structured hierarchy.
But more importantly, it’s the information, the access to information, and how we communicate that information. Because, if I’m close to the centre, where the big and impactful decisions are being made, it defines my level of power within the organisation.
And relationships form through communication, so we’ve got to understand how to communicate with each other.
This is why in any business that is scaling at speed, clear, transparent communication is vital and important, and it really does come down to the relationship code.
And we certainly look at this very deeply when we look at who we are employing, how we employ, how we communicate with our teams, and how we make sure that we’re aligned and we look at the feedback loops.
And ultimately the health of how our squads work.
The last one is the mental code.
These are the silent agreements that we have, the agreements that define how we behave together.
When we start looking at the dissonance of the agreements, these are the smoke signals that actually tell us that something’s wrong within the organisation.
And you’ve got to watch for the smoke signals to actually start understanding where things are starting to break down.
And it really is the subtle part of it. It’s the culture, the principles, the mission, the why.
Why are you all working together? What is bringing us together? And it’s the silent mental agreements that we agreed to without really having to verbalise those agreements.
Those three components actually, for me, define what I like to call an exponential culture, because exponential is just not about technology, it’s about people and delivery.
Why? To leverage the technology that allows your business to scale and ultimately solve the problems that people are looking to have solved within their lives.
How did I come up with these?
It really comes down to looking at how we’re building Teraflow and defining what is really important within the context of building an exponential culture. It was a simple self-reflection process of understanding the going-ons in the business and how we took these and translated these into value.
But they all work together.
And it’s where the synergy and the harmony comes into the business.