What is your smell
Last week i was in Stockholm for a training and visited Crisp and Spotify to investigate the way they work and especially experience the way they smell.
Did you know you can smell a culture?
A few weeks ago i was in a beachhouse and wanted to order a grilled cheese sandwich, the waitress mentioned i could not order this since i am older than 12years so i had to order something else more expensive. Afterwards a friend mentioned that this was the ‘smell of this place’, referring to the interview with Prof Sumantra Ghoshal. Although the first impression is a pretty environment with friendly staff, the core business culture is about maximizing profit which comes to the surface now and then. Although maximizing profit sounds like business logic, these days a lot of game changers in the market have a different smell.
So my interest is not in the the operating models of all these game changers like Spotify, since i don’t believe that by changing outward appearances we can change the way we smell, it is created by our character. Sure it is interesting to understand how they align priorities, what processes are used to improve team performance etc. We can adapt the operating model, but we will still stay the same since our character, our culture has not changed, then we will just look different from the outside.
Based on this my main quest was on ways how to change the character of a company, but doesn’t that sound like you’re in a relationship and you want the other person to change their character? Here is a reality check: it’s not going to happen without a miracle! We can change our behaviour to act social acceptable or give all the political correct answers, but when the going gets tough, character comes to the surface. We have to learn how to accept each other as individuals and focus on the positive.
So changing a business culture is not possible? Certainly it is possible i would say! I do believe in change also in the change of a business culture. Characters of companies are created by a sum of individuals, where leadership and individuals with a game changing mentality can make a impact on large scale by inspiring the majority.
Therefore my new quest is on finding, connecting and empowering the game changers who we already have in the organization. I have already met some of you in the last year and confident that there are more of you! I am looking forward to meet you and create a new fragrance together.