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Done any washing-up recently? | The Melting Pot Newsletter | Issue #93


Simple question.  Is your office kitchen a mess?  Do people wash up their plates and mugs?  Or leave them in the sink for others to clear up?  It may seem insignificant, but these small things can tell you a lot about your culture. 

In my experience, when businesses start out with a small team of talented people, everyone has each other’s backs.  Nothing falls through the cracks and people are happily spinning each other’s plates.  It all works perfectly.  Then, at about 35 staff, a change starts to creep in.  People start to get lazy and the office looks neglected.  There’s less shared ownership for general issues like fixing broken equipment or tidying up. This phenomenon is called ‘social loafing’.

You need to get on top of this.  A healthy culture relies on every one of your staff having a strong sense of responsibility. When I took over as MD of IT Lab, I knew we had a big challenge to overturn the existing culture.  One of the first things I did was get volunteers to come in over the weekend to tackle the office. Until it’s properly tidy, you’ve no hope of keeping on top of things. Some offices I’ve visited over the years have been minging.  As soon as you walk through the door, you know.  There’s no chance that quality work is happening because the environment screams mediocre. Any spark is crushed.

So, how do you overcome this?  How do you build a culture of responsibility in your business?

How To Use The Culture Canvas with Gustavo Razzetti

These are uncertain times, and now more than ever, the success of your organisation can literally come down to its culture. But what if you don’t have a company culture (that you know of) or maybe you’re wondering how to implement your ideal company culture? Wonder no more. 

Today’s guest, Gustavo Razzetti is not only a culture practitioner.  He’s spent the last 20 years helping teams work smarter and faster, together, partnering with clients to design fearless workplace cultures.  Unlocking the whole team’s potential and giving that organisation a competitive advantage. 

Gustavo has amalgamated all of his company culture knowledge and created an easy to use culture tool, the Culture Canvas. This is an open framework that makes culture actionable. If you have any questions about it, or if you’re curious how to put it into practice, listen on.  In this discussion, he explains which elements need to be contiguous with those you already have in place, how to surface the Canvas, how to share it and make it easy to live every day. Also how to ensure that your hard work implementing your ideal company culture isn’t lost – it’s an episode you don’t want to miss. 

“Culture is something fluid, now, it’s not one thing. It’s not something that you do once and that’s it.”

Recommended Podcasts

EO 360°

EO 360°, a podcast by Entrepreneurs’ Organization, explores entrepreneurship with a wide perspective, moving beyond business to those insights not often shared by high-profile thought leaders. Host and serial entrepreneur, Dave Will, leads in-depth interviews, whose featured guests include: Gazelles founder and CEO, Verne Harnish; popular podcast host and founder of Genius Network, Joe Polish; award-winning entrepreneur, Zahra Al-Harazi; and more. Tune into this top podcast made by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs.

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Josh Harcus sells robots for a living. Robotic vacuum cleaners, to be specific — a model called the Whiz, which his employer, SoftBank Robotics America, released here last fall. The company, part of a group owned by the Japanese conglomerate, has deployed more than 6,000 of the robots around the world, including at Facebook headquarters. They look like something out of “Wall-E”: a rolling gray cylinder about thigh-high that trundles back and forth over carpets, sucking up dirt.


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F**k Plan B by Dominic Monkhouse

Calling all CEOs, Founders and Managing Partners! Learn valuable scale-up strategies in a brand new book by the UK’s top tech industry business coach, Dominic Monkhouse. Dom has a track record of scaling-up award-winning technology businesses, including two UK based companies from zero revenue to £30 million within five years. Now he is sharing the secrets behind his success in a new book, FREE to all Melting Pot subscribers. The download will be available very soon.  Watch out for your copy! 


Paradigmatic shifts in the business landscape, known as inflection points, can either create new, entrepreneurial opportunities (see Amazon and Netflix) or they can lead to devastating consequences (e.g. Blockbuster and Toys R Us). Only those leaders who can “see around corners” – that is, spot the disruptive inflection points developing before they hit – are poised to succeed in this market. Columbia Business School Professor and corporate consultant Rita McGrath contends that inflection points, though they may seem sudden, are not random. Every seemingly overnight shift is the final stage of a process that has been subtly building for some time. Armed with the right strategies and tools, smart businesses can see these inflection points coming and use them to gain a competitive advantage. Seeing Around Corners is the first hands-on guide to anticipating, understanding, and capitalising on the inflection points shaping the marketplace.


Want your teams to produce better ideas?  Then try embracing silence. Silent brainstorming can be particularly useful in remote meetings and will increase the quality and quantity of output. How does it work? Start with the meeting invite, making sure everyone understands the goals of the brainstorming session. Then, at the beginning of your meeting, share a working document (such as a Google Doc) with key questions that need to be answered. Encourage everyone to contribute to the document for 10 to 20 minutes without talking. During this time, people can come up with ideas and respond to each other in the document. The leader can also participate, providing direction and asking the rest of the team to elaborate on specific ideas as they’re being formed. Once the silent phase of the brainstorm is complete, you can begin a discussion if your group is relatively small. If it’s larger, then have a second step in groups of up to 6.

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