Organisational sub-cultures and how to set up a culture team

We chat to Jane Garza (Managing Director of culture change company, NOBL) on the benefits of culture change.

Jane Garza is the Managing Director of NOBL, a radical team of culture change experts whose mission it is to improve work and culture for more than 1 million people before they’re 10 years old.

She worked in HR for 8 years before joining NOBL. She became interested in HR consulting, was moving to LA, found a position at NOBL and is now the MD of their LA team.

HR is traditionally very reactive, which is good but can be exhausting in the long term. HR needs the opportunity to plan and exercise organisational skills. Culture has a big part to play in this.

“At NOBL we talk about sub-cultures a lot. Culture varies from one department to the next.”

She believes culture can be changed, but it does take time. It’s less like a turnaround and more like an evolvement. Most often Jane doesn’t deal with totally toxic cultures (where people are rolling their eyes at each other in meetings), but more with companies that want to scale their precious happy company culture.

“There is a much larger success rate in companies that invest in their culture.”

All levels in an organisation need to be involved in changing their culture. The bottom level has the best insight into the company’s service/product and customer experience.

“One concrete reason we work with the frontlines, is that they’re closest with the customer.”

Middle management have the best line of sight as they deal with the levels above and below them. When it comes to top-level leadership, they carry a lot of weight as the decision-makers and need to change as much as everyone else in the company, or even more so.

“Leaders need to be compassionate and ambitious in equal measures.”

Jane on culture committees

The intention of having a team drive a great company culture is great, but the danger is bucketing culture in a team of 10 people who are now forced to carry culture for the entire organisation, where this should be everyone’s responsibility.

On the other hand, these teams are able to listen to the rest of the organisation and act upon the feedback they receive. Jane suggests that when you’re putting together your A-team for a culture committee, don’t make it legislative; rather choose the people who are most excited in your organisation.

“Ultimately, your culture is the way you get work done.”

Enjoy! Hit play ▶️ above to watch the interview video.
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Timetamp notes:

0.17 — Jane’s background in HR.

2.00 — HR as reactive vs. proactive.

3.33 — Can culture be changed?

6.28 — How to change culture.

8.17 — Who should lead a culture team in an organisation?

11.08 — Case studies of culture change.

13.00 — Fun facts about Jane. Favourite podcast: Adam Grant’s Worklife. Book: Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie.

15.00 — Productivity tools: Feedly for reading RSS feeds.

15.37 — Get in touch with Jane on her webpage or LinkedIN.

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