A short post for a tall order
Somewhere in the multiverse stands an expansive library on the subject of culture. With infinite shelves packed with infinite books, it falls short in accurately describing and prescribing culture. “Words are just pointers,” said Huineng. And yet, somehow, a few simple words can been enough. Think different. Just do it. Leaders are readers.
The ‘culture’ talk is everywhere in business
According to Deloitte research, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct corporate culture is important to the success of their companies. It’s no wonder ‘company culture’ is heralded on ‘about us’ pages, across the LinkedIn feeds, and on the agendas of company-wide meetings. The reality is that many preach culture, but few [know how to] walk the walk.
What culture is… not
Popularized in the tech and creative industries, culture is an important factor in attracting top talent and getting great work done. Yet, despite the beanbag chairs, beer on tap, and the friendly agency dog on a company’s team section, almost all organizations get it wrong. Culture is not about having a ping pong table.
The elephant is … always in the room
Organizations that choose to ignore culture do not get to experience a work environment sans-culture. Rather, they experience an accidental and almost always ineffective culture. Ignoring the elephant in the room does not make it disappear, only yields a culture that is undesirable.
What culture needs
Culture is much like a garden. If unattended it will always become ugly. And like a garden, it grows beautifully when we continue to prune weeds and misfits, give water, shine light, and at times sing a little song and show a little love. Paying attention and investing time is how your garden and culture will thrive.
A few (not so) simple tips
While an entire library on the subject may not be enough, below are a few practices proven to be effective.
1. Shaped by design
Culture can come from the top or the bottom, intentionally designed or accidentally shaped. When the leaders are not actively monitoring, cultivating, and fostering their company culture, they will have in their hands a culture that is undesirable. Great organizational culture is present when leaders take the time to observe, meditate, envision and discuss the topic.
2. Guided by values
Culture is influenced by shared values. Jim Collins says “core values are not something people ‘buy-in’ to. People must be predisposed to holding them.” It is the responsibility of the leaders to “find people who are already predisposed to sharing your core values”, and quickly let go of those who do not. Teams, customers, and clients know your company by what you do and tolerate, and not always by what you say.
Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying.
3. Exemplified by leaders
We again look to the leaders of organizations. Leaders must walk the talk. Period. Steve Jobs bought one lamp to furnish his extremely minimalist lifestyle. Sir Richard Branson’s record for adventures is unrivalled among executives around the world. It is no surprise that Apple’s and Virgin’s company cultures emulate their leaders. One is poised in beautiful simplicity, the other youthful energy. So infectious, their company cultures have become iconic, global brand cultures.
4. Be selective of people, including customers
We get to work with clients who share complementary values and cultures. But it did not happen accidentally. In the early years, we took on clients not congruent to the cultural practices and attitudes we value. These experiences have always costed more than the monetary value gained. It is as important and wise to design your culture as to choose your audience. We have a saying at Pixel Dreams we share with our clients, ‘be selective of your people, including customers’.
Be selective of your people, including customers.
A closing thought on the topic… for now
Time and time again, we witness that‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ as per Peter Drucker’s famous quote. Research has shown almost all leaders see culture as important. So why are there not many companies with great culture? Because it’s difficult, challenging, and almost always, very uncomfortable.
But it’s worth it.
On to the culture of Pixel Dreams
A 2021 reflection
Recently, we asked our teams about the culture at Pixel Dreams. The next part of our article is boastful. What’s more important than celebrating our culture, is we hope you are encouraged to invest in yours. If a bunch of wacky misfits can come together to form a healthy, happy, and productive culture, so can you. It’s worth it. You’re worth it. Your teams, customers, and clients are worth it.
If you would like to talk brand, culture, or brand culture, reach out to us any time. We would be delighted to share insights and ideas on the topics we are most passionately dedicated to.
5 small words, 8 big clouds
We asked our teams to describe the PD culture in five words. We organized the words into seven common themes. A word cloud was programmatically generated for each theme, and one for all together.
We mean, raise I+C (Intelligence + Consciousness), and solve big world problems.
Because we don’t rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the level of our systems.
TGI-Monday. Wouldn’t want it any other way.
Teamwork is an organization’s #1 advantage.
The reason for the #no-context-posts & #random channels in Slack.
Just a little something to boast about.
No, ‘humble’ didn’t make the list!
Love it or hate.
Take it or leave it. We are who we are.
All together now!
The boasting continues
Some lovely things our team members have said about Pixel Dreams.
Pixel Dreams is completely unique. Not only does it have some of the best creative talent out there but its core mission is to raise the intelligence and consciousness of the world.
Next to my family, PD is the best that ever happened to me. In PD, I found my voice and I realize that I still have a chance to grow & improve myself.
It is an environment that brings out the best in us. Even things we never knew about ourselves.
PD is a creative agency where you’re encouraged to colour outside the lines of what’s expected – you’re not limited to your role or traditional business structures.
Pixel Dreams is an agency focused on aligning processes and creating value in an efficient way, and despite the focus on work, constantly promotes culture and knowledge. An incredible place to balance personal and professional growth.
A place where quality work is completed and people are allowed to be themselves.
PD is a place that takes in people and helps bring them to their full potential.
Working at PD is a great opportunity to meet many great people in a great small team. This is not just a place to work, it’s also a place to share and improve our life.
We do artsy creative things in an insanely efficient, organized manner. Pixel Dreams is a collective of passionate, focused, diverse individuals with high standards. We work hard, learn hard, and play hard.
Pixel Dreams is the epitome of ‘work hard & play hard’. Although we are not massive in size, the PDT is the most efficient and driven team I have ever worked with. It’s a workplace that not only focuses on professional learning, but individual growth as well.
They keep pulling me back in, it’s my third time working here. Every time I work for PD I know I become a better person.
At Pixel Dreams I’m learning not just to be a better designer, but a better version of myself. The team that I’m in holds accountability to everyone’s professional and personal growth.
Pixel Dreams gives me the freedom, opportunity, and support to truly be me, to live out my dreams, and grow to my full potential.
We share a couple laughs along the way while getting shit done. We care about you, so we’ll call you out if we expect more out of you.
Fun projects, nice people, the embodiment of “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
A team of creatives who work hard, party harder, laugh a lot, and serve clients. Where the completion of tasks for others is secondary to the pursuit of knowledge for oneself.
A team of people who are genuinely happy, productive, encouraging, organized, and fun to work with.
We’re a wacky creative agency who does anything from running events to strategizing complex marketing campaigns. We can pretty much do it all, and whatever we can’t do, we find the people who can.
I enjoy working with great people who take the work seriously, but never themselves.
A playground for people to learn, explore and better themselves, personally and professionally.
It has been a great experience working at Pixel Dreams. We have some fantastic, loving and caring individuals to work with on the team and the Leadership team is a one in a million.
A tightly linked group of creative people.
A great place to be (and become) your best self.
It’s an interesting ride. You never know what lies around the next corner. Being supported and/or challenged to be better every day.