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For us, Predica’s business culture got clear fairly quickly what it is that we are doing, and how we are doing it. You can find a short story of how we found our ‘what’ and ‘how’ in an earlier blog post.
There is a TED talk by Simon Sinek (Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action), which talks about organizations’ ‘Why’, sometimes also called a ‘Massive Transformation Purpose’ or simply put, a reason for being.
But understanding the purpose that drives us forward, our ‘Why’, took us a bit longer, and required us to look deeper inward into why we left the corporate world and why we started Predica.
Do not be discouraged if it takes a longer time to find this purpose, it is natural to find it after some time (in your life as well as a company). Different experiences and exposure to various challenges are required to fully understand what is your ‘fuel’. For us, it was about 8 years of building and running Predica to precisely define and name our Business Culture.
Let me boil down for you what is our What, How, and Why.
This one might be the simplest to formulate, as this ultimately is the business you are in. But stating it explicitly is important, as it can be a good guide into what you are NOT doing, so it’s already putting some focus into your business. It’s obvious that no one can be excellent at everything, and humanity got to where it is today by means of specialization.
Our ‘What’ is:
We are here to transform organizations through relevant technology.
This ‘What’ states for every one of us at Predica what we are doing here. It means that:
The ‘How’ is how you deliver the ‘What’. This is the culture, values, and ways of working. For us it’s definitely our ‘triangle of power’ described in an earlier post, plus the below items:
Each of these items can be further elaborated, as the words are chosen carefully. For example ‘We do it with the right people, not just any people.’ It means that we will put in substantial effort to choose the people with whom we work. Our recruitment process may be long in time and feel grueling in comparison with other companies on the market.
At last, we come to the purpose behind Predica: accelerate the transition to self-managed organizations.
Let’s break down this statement:
Historically all of us, founders, worked in large IT corporations (Microsoft, HP, Dell). We saw immense talents and resources go to waste in these firms, just because of a hierarchical, political, largely manager-dependent organization. We thought there is a way to build a different type of organization. One in which we, as well as our employees, could be our own selves, grow, learn and have a real impact on the world.
This ‘Why’ helps us navigate how we build Predica – the tools, processes, and culture we develop. Just to give you an example: we have experimented with holocracy. In the end, we found it too extreme and brought in too much chaos. Although there are managerial roles, most of the decisions they make with regard to their teams are either completely or nearly completely owned by data and computing algorithms.
The managers in our organizations are leaders who focus on the personal growth of their teams. Furthermore, they have to deliver tangible results themselves (according to our saying ‘Everyone delivers’). We run our organization in quarterly Objective Key Results (see the explanation: here) cycles. This allows everyone to contribute and have accountability for some part of the firm.
We don’t only use our ‘why’ to guide us on how Predica works. Furthermore, Predica will use it extensively when working with our customers. We will probe them deeply to fully understand the objectives they are looking to achieve. Finally, if we cannot place it in line with our ‘why’, i.e. it will not accelerate the transition to an autonomous organization. We will likely challenge the project scope.
Finally, our core business, as well as new ventures (outlined in the previous blog post) all, follow the same why:
This ‘golden circle’ of what, how, and why summarizes our principles in an organized fashion. It is a ‘guiding light’ for us, therefore whenever we make tough decisions, we will come back to these. I hope this will serve as an inspiration for finding your own, personal or company, purpose.
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