Inquisitor - Brett Putter
What constitutes an organization's culture?
Firm culture refers to a corporation's collective of behaviors, conventions, principles, rituals, symbols, communication, processes, procedures, mission, vision, values, and other intangible factors that collectively define "the way things are done around here" in a company.
What factors affect job happiness, and how may they be taken into account throughout the hiring process?
The capacity to realize one's potential and self-actualize at work is the primary element influencing job satisfaction, the answer indicates. To maintain total alignment and prevent conflict, unhappiness, and excessive turnover, businesses should properly communicate their culture throughout the whole hiring process. Many businesses, meanwhile, only give these ideas lip service and fail to put them into action.
What strategy is being employed to improve listening in the cultures that the speaker interacts with?
The strategy entails promoting organized feedback and emphasizing listening for understanding rather than for a response. This is accomplished through soliciting feedback from participants, holding conversations based on that feedback, and reducing response time. Additionally, it is made clear to new hires that speaking their truth will be safe.
Marcus Cauchi: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome back to the Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today I'm delighted to have as my guest, Brett Putter, who is author and CEO of Culture Gene.
60 seconds on your background and how you got to where you are
Marcus Cauchi: Um, Brett, would you mind giving us 60 seconds on your background and how you got to where you are?
Brett Putter: Uh, Marcus Really great to, uh, be on board on the podcast. Thanks very much for having me. I spent 16 years in as a managing partner of an executive search firm. We worked with typically startup and high growth companies, uh, working between Europe and San Francisco and New York. Three years ago, I Penny dropped for me and I realized that company culture was the missing link.
And, um, I founded Culture Gene, which is a company culture development platform then. And, um, it's my passion. I love it. And, um, I'm, I'm really happy to be doing what I'm.
What is culture?
Marcus Cauchi: Fabulous. So just for clarification, what is culture? It's bandied around all the time, but I don't think people really [00:01:00] understand necessarily what it means.
Brett Putter: It's not surprising that people don't understand what it means cuz it is mainly or largely invisible, subconscious and intangible. The best leaders make it visible, conscious, and tangible. But most, in most companies, it's. The way I like to describe company culture is it's the way we do things around here.
So it's a combination of behaviors, habits, norms, principles, um, uh, rituals, symbols, uh, the way, you know, the way we communicate, processes, procedures, uh, our mission, vision, values. It's all of these things combined into a super culture, which is very, very hard to define.
How can you define clearly what your culture is?
Marcus Cauchi: A super of culture. I like that a lot. So how can you define clearly what your culture is?
Brett Putter: I don't think you ever can. Um, and this is the reason why it's impossible to hire for culture fit. But what you can do is you can take the foundations of your culture and define those, so you can look at your [00:02:00] purpose, your mission, your vision. You can look at your values and the behaviors associated with your, with those values and.
Fundamentally gives you a good basis point as a means to start to define it. But really, your culture's changing all the time. You should have an idea of of, of where you're going and what you want to drive, but you shouldn't try to be really that prescriptive on defining your culture because it's changing all the time.
When is the best time to define your culture?
Marcus Cauchi: So, I know this is, uh, I, I already know the answer to this question, but I think it's worth coming from a third party. When is the best time to define your culture?
Brett Putter: As soon as possible, I recommend that the 2, 3, 4 founders that found a business should do it immediately. Start thinking about it. It does change, but at at least if you know what's important to you, you can then start to build a business around that.
Marcus Cauchi: So one of the things that I, I know you are passionate about and so am I, is creating an environment where you have [00:03:00] highly engaged staff members who give massive discretionary effort because their satisfaction at work almost never is money the main driver. You know, when I was a head hunter, I always found money for salespeople came fifth or sixth in their hierarchy.
And these are the people who are meant to be motivated by money.
What are the things that really make the difference in terms of satisfaction at work?
Marcus Cauchi: So what, what are the things that really make the difference in terms of satisfaction at work?
Brett Putter: I think there's sort of one overlying area of satisfaction, which rarely is self-actualization. It's the b, it's the ability for to fulfill my potential.
So if I can fulfill my potential and grow and develop and self-actualize in your organization and be myself, then we're 70% there. I mean, I'm sure Marcus, you've seen companies where you know, there isn't any psychological safety. There isn't the opportunity to grow and develop, and it doesn't matter how much me, well, some people you can pay a lot of money and they'll, [00:04:00] they'll stick around.
But eventually people will leave if they can't self-actualize and fulfill their potential.
Marcus Cauchi: So this then suggests very strongly that if you don't uncover what self-actualization looks like in the recruitment process, then you are probably going to have people who are working at suboptimal levels. and you are going to create the conditions for churn, for conflict, for dissatisfaction, and for all the other headaches that come with hiring people who don't feel like they belong and they're not doing important, meaningful work.
Brett Putter: Yeah. This is, I think you've hit the nail on the head. This is really the key element is. And what would the companies don't do typically well, because essentially the culture is the environment within which you will either self-actualize or not in a, in a company. So if you don't communicate what your culture is effectively, the person is making a [00:05:00] guess about their ability to fulfill their potential, be themselves, um, you know, whether they'll enjoy the environment or not.
And from a, from a, from a recruitment point of view, I recommend companies look at the recruitment process as a, a holistic process. What are the touchpoints for a candidate from on your website, on LinkedIn, on other social media, the job ad, the job description, the interviews, the onboarding process, the probation period, and so on.
And actually build your culture into that so that they, they, they, they understand that this is the right environment for them.
Marcus Cauchi: That's a really interesting idea and certainly something I'm building into. The recruitment processes of the companies that I'm working with, how do you go about making sure that there's that complete alignment?
From the founders through the executive level, through management to make sure that we live and breathe that throughout everything that we do. [00:06:00] Because I, I think a lot of companies pay lip service to it. It's like you see ads, uh, for companies that claim that they are equal opportunities employers and that they encourage diversity, but they're basically recruitment panels made up of white, middle-aged men.
And you know, it feels like that kind of statement in the recruitment ad is basically a way of playing to their woke audience to just tick a box.
How do you make sure that everybody lives and breathes that throughout the culture of the organization?
Marcus Cauchi: How do you make sure that everybody lives and breathes that throughout the culture of the organization?
Brett Putter: That's the billion dollar question, Marcus. It's, it's like, That's exactly what I do with my clients.
I help them go through a process of defining, embedding and managing their culture. And there are some leaders who naturally get this and I would say more empathetic and more interested in this. And there are other leaders that just don't. And, and there are some leaders that just don't care because they're just going to run their [00:07:00] business the way they're gonna run it, irrespective.
And I think really the, the, the way to look at this is, What's important to the founding team? Are we then recruiting the, the, the right people below us? Are those people gonna, do they live our values? Do they, do they believe our, in our values? Are we values aligned? And then have we as a company defined the behaviors that we require from our, our organization and defined our mission and our vision?
And, and, and this is, this is a, my mission in life is to help make company culture, a recognized business function in the same way that sells marketing, engineering, and, and finance are. Because it really is a very involved, very complex subject we are talking about here. It's not as easy as the others, but it should be its own function.
Marcus Cauchi: I interviewed, uh, Michael Puck from Kronos and Aaron Bell from Degreed recently on a round [00:08:00] table. And what was really fascinating in both their narratives was just how critical the relationship with the manager was and how great managers versus bad managers will drive performance and encourage discretionary effort, encourage loyalty, and allow people to express themselves, to be included, to have a voice, and to really feel like what they say matters. And again, I, I see this so often in organizations where there just isn't that trust of people and managers prevent people from failing. Whereas, in fact, what I've found is the best managers let you fail in role, but they don't let the business fail.
And they never punish you for failing. They punish you for hiding failure. [00:09:00] And they encourage failure because it's a fabulous teacher. And in one case I was talking to, uh, an organization, David Hansel runs and they keep a failure log and that forms the agenda. For the monthly management meeting, uh, in order that they can improve month on, month on, month on.
How critical is letting people fail within mature and fully inclusive culture in order to deliver the outcome that the business and their customers and their employees want?
Marcus Cauchi: So again, tell me this, how critical is letting people fail within mature and fully inclusive culture in order to deliver the outcome that the business and their customers and their employees want?
Brett Putter: This is really critical. You're spot on here. And organization's ability to adapt and take advantage or, or, you know, get out of the way of, of serious issues.
Is based on the ability to go out and test things and learn from those. And if you aren't in, you aren't [00:10:00] agile enough to go and try something in a, not break the business kind of way, and you are not creating the environment where you allow your people to go and learn in that way, then the organization isn't adapting quickly enough.
The organization isn't learning quickly enough. And if you don't have an adaptable, adaptable organization, as we've we've seen over the last nine months, I'm seeing companies that are trying to transition to hybrid mainly, and some remotes who are really, really struggling because it was very much control, command and control.
You do what I say don't do, you know, don't, don't step out of the line. And now they've lost con that command and control in this situation. And they're people don't know what to do because you can't micromanage as well. In this remote, forced remote situation. So that failure capability and allowing people to learn and, but creating an environment where learning is encouraged and you, you pick apart the failure.
You look at it and go, what did we learn? What [00:11:00] are we not gonna do it again? And, and, you know, how are we gonna take it forward? Creating that support structure around it is really critical. Just having failure for failure's sake is dangerous.
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, fair, very fair point. Um, I, I, I ran a training business for the past 17 years.
And a lesson that it took me too long to learn, but I did learn it eventually, was that the answers normally in the room if you allow your team to come up with the answer. Uh, or you, if you're training, let the delegates and the people who are, uh, on the course come up with the answer. Not only does the, is the answer often much better than the one that you can provide, but they own it. And the net result of that is that you get far higher levels of engagement. So, uh, again, I think what, what I've seen, and uh, this is the leads to the question around red flags. What I've seen very often is brittle and [00:12:00] closed. Um, managers, uh, will not only operate that command and control approach, but they will see people who are ambitious, who come up with ideas who are innovative as a threat.
What are the red flags one should look for in the middle management layer that tell you that you've probably got the wrong manager in place, or they very much need training and coaching in order to get them out of the way of your people?
Marcus Cauchi: So in terms of leadership, what are the red flags one should look for in the middle management layer that tell you that you've probably got the wrong manager in place, or they very much need training and coaching in order to get them out of the way of your people?
Brett Putter: The first indicator for me, and I I, I, I think you'll probably agree with me here, is are they recruiting people better than them? Are they recruiting strong people who will help the tide rise?
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Brett Putter: That, for me, that for me is, is the key, the key indicator. I think there is also, and I'm sure you've been looking at this, but there is an interesting situation that we are finding ourselves in.
Managers typically were outgoing, quite confident. [00:13:00] People who, who, who enjoyed interacting and, and enjoyed standing up and, and being heard in our sort of pre covid world. But actually there's been some studies done that demonstrate that managers in the remote world are not like that. They're much more organized, they're much more structured, and they are much more like coaches than they are leaders.
They help people develop and they work out what you need to do to develop. So going back to the, one of your earlier questions about this self-actualization, you can see that the people who are working in a remote environment have have realized that you can't help people in the same way. As you could in an office environment.
So for me, it's about are they coaches or are they leaders? Are they developing their people and are they hiring good people that are better than them?
Marcus Cauchi: I'm always of the view that you should hire people who are better than you and who will make you redundant. But again, [00:14:00] what I tend to see is managers hiring their own image only weaker.
And the net result of that is that you end up with, um, the team being skewed in a particular direction, which means that they lack flexibility. And I think it was Warren Buffet said, it's not the strong that devour the weak, it's the agile that devour the slow. And to, to build on your point, I don't think there has ever been a time where managers who are the outgoing, bouncy, hear-what-I-have-to-say type will outperform those who coach. Because I think managers have five functions and every manager's job description should contain these five functions and only these five functions. I mean, the other stuff is just lipstick on a pig. Uh, you need to hire the best people, then you need to get the best out of them.
That means proper pre-onboarding, onboarding, training, coaching, and accountability. Then they need to make sure they have the [00:15:00] systems and tools they need to do their best work every day, which means that they have managers have to be planners, they have to be systems junkies. They need to work on measuring the leading indicators, not the lagging indicators, and not get stuck into reporting for reporting sake.
And they need to get out into the field so that they can coach on the job. Then they need to make sure that they clear the path or help clear the path and protect them from acts of idiocy from above. And really importantly, and uh, my Pali and Dodds taught me this, is that they must manage inclusively.
Everybody needs a voice and they need to feel heard. And if you look at the, uh, results from Project Oxygen from Google, the emphasis there is that managers need to be people who care about their staff. If something goes wrong, the first question they ask is, are you okay? Not Why did you do that? And in this lockdown [00:16:00] environment, it's critically important that they have that pastoral side to what they do.
They also need to make sure that not only is everybody's voice heard, but then they take action off the back of what they're being told. And I think listening is such a rare skill that's almost never taught and it frustrates me that something so fundamental to human communication is glossed over and ignored and assumed that people can do it.
In the cultures that you work with, what are you doing to implement better listening?
Marcus Cauchi: So in the cultures that you work with, what are you doing to implement better listening?
Brett Putter: So we've built a part of our tool encourages feedback, you know, the giving and receiving feedback. And we start with with asking people to request feedback. If they do an, if they run an event or they, they, they do a presentation, they will, they will request feedback of everybody.
And the feedback, the way we do feedback is it's very structured and you, you, you [00:17:00] know, it's, it's, there are questions around what did you learn, what went well, what could have gone better, and how would you have changed it? And is there anything else you'd like to comment on? When I go through the feedback that people receive, it's about what are you interpreting from that, and what do you think the person's trying to tell you and what are you, what's not being said or what, how, how is your interpretation wrong?
And what we, or how could your interpretation be wrong? And what we do is we go and say, okay, now have a conversation with that person and listen to what they say. Just listen to them, ask them these questions and listen to what they say. And this is, this is one of the ways that giving people structure around any tool, around any skill, I think is critical.
You can't say that people will listen, but what we do is we say, listen to understand. Don't listen to respond. When you are having these conversations based on the feedback they've given you, the written feedback they've given you. So [00:18:00] dig a little bit deeper and understand, but listen to understand. So that's one of the areas that we work on.
There are some people who are just naturally better at it than others, but most people are listening to respond, and so when we stop their ability to respond or we slow their ability to respond down, that's where we get the real listening and the real value add and the taking on board what's being said.
Marcus Cauchi: Very interesting. Michael Puck came up with something, which I think is genius, which is with a new hire, you make it clear to them that first of all, they are gonna be safe, and that they can tell their truth and that what they say matters and you invite them when you hire them to give feedback about what's, uh, could be better in the organization in the first two to four weeks.
If you've been at an organization for a while, that culture kind of sets in and I, if it's not being challenged by the new blood, then chances are you're gonna be missing stuff
Marcus Cauchi: And, uh, you have that conversation with them and you encourage them to give their observations because [00:19:00] they come with fresh eyes. If you've been at an organization for a while, that culture kind of sets in and I, if it's not being challenged by the new blood, then chances are you're gonna be missing stuff. So that's a really fabulous question to have right at the outset.
Another one that, uh, he suggested is, what's your most important life experience? And you need to have that conversation very early on, probably in the recruitment process so that you can get a sense of how these people are driven and motivated, because motivation is an internal force. Um, and this leads to the next question.
Which is what is it that you want your career to offer you in life, not just at work, but how is it you want this your career to support your life goals? And I, I think so few managers have even thought of asking those questions, let alone brave enough to ask them. Because in [00:20:00] order to support that, you have to be willing to go well beyond just managing the job and being a supervisor.
What are your thoughts?
Brett Putter: Those are some really good questions actually here, when somebody's being onboarded, what I encourage companies to do is to ask them, while the person has fresh eyes, what could we do to improve the company? But I also, they, they specifically get asked to improve the onboarding process.
So you are always doing something to the onboarding process. I think the area of interviews and interview questions is there is so much more that can be done. Um, I, I've probably interviewed 4,000 people. Uh, you must have interviewed many thousands and actually the way you ask questions and the way you, you, you set questions can open up so much more.
One of the things that, that I often have a discussion about with leaders is when leaders talk about hiring for culture. I say it's impossible. And they say, no, it's not. And I say, well then describe your culture to me exactly, [00:21:00] accurately, please. And they can't. And then they give me a little bit of waffle and I say, okay, great.
You've spoken about some of your values there. Do you think all of your employees would AC would describe it in exactly the same way? And they say no. So say, okay, well now we understand that you can't describe your culture so you can't hire for it. So let's build values-based interview questions. And this is another area where if you get this values based interview questions, right, you can really open up the candidate to work out, work out.
On the one hand, you're evaluating their fit with your values. And if you include smart questions about motivation and smart questions about, you know, their, their, their what they're, they're, they're what they want out of their lives, what they want beyond work, then you get a 360 picture of this individual versus.
My gut instinct about do I wanna work with this person or not, which is what most people are trying to do. And I think remote work and this hybrid environment is gonna force people to get much, much [00:22:00] better at the interview process, oddly. And if they take these techniques back to one day when we can work in a more hybrid environment, they'll do it.
They'll actually do a better job of interviewing, relying less on their gut instinct.
Marcus Cauchi: I know this is putting you a bit on the spot, but my, my audience is made up largely of people in either founders or sales leaders.
What sort of values-based questions would you suggest that they might integrate into their recruitment process when they're recruiting salespeople in sales managers?
Marcus Cauchi: What sort of values-based questions would you suggest that they might integrate into their recruitment process when they're recruiting salespeople in sales managers?
Brett Putter: The best way to do this is once you've defined, if you've defined your values and you're happy with them, then you need to beha define the expected behaviors associated with those values. And this is where most companies fail. They don't def define the expected behaviors. They five print values, stick them up on the wall, prompt them on mouse mats, and give out cups, and nobody changes and nothing.
You've seen this a million times.[00:23:00]
So the important thing, the important thing to do is, is define the, the expected behaviors against your values. Because if you don't do that, you are, you leave those values are open to interpretation. And so, uh, the problem with human beings is, is we don't interpret for the company's best interest. We interpret for our best interest first.
in most. And so, so what I do with my clients is we define the values or we take their values and we say, okay, what's important to you in this company for the word teamwork? And, and, and how does teamwork happen in the company? What does it mean to you? And somebody may say, teamwork is a group of people working together with a common goal, communicating well.
And that's, there's nothing, no right or wrong about that. That's right. You know, but I may descri decide that teamwork to me is. The team always comes first. That's what teamwork means to me. And here you've got two things where you're talking [00:24:00] exactly about the same thing, but if you, but we could actually make completely different decisions if we were faced with the same set of inputs.
So what we do is we define the behaviors and in let's say in my case, it's the team always comes first, the interview question is when last did you take one for the team and why? The value is teamwork. The behavior is the team comes first, the interview question is when last did you take one for the team and why?
Now you're asking for a specific experience where there were behaviors and there's a circumstance around it. I could spend half an hour interviewing a candidate based just on that question. So you take your values, you extract the behaviors, and then you build the interview question against the behavior. That is the, the, the simplest form to understand, does this person match with our values or not?
Marcus Cauchi: I really like that one. One [00:25:00] thing I would build on is that what we know, particularly if you're hiring people with experience, is that you need to look for habits. Because what people do repeatedly in the past, they will do repeatedly in the future. So when you are looking for specific behaviors that you want someone to bring to the table, you want to have multiple examples in quick succession.
So it's really important in my experience, ask for multiple experiences, uh, for example of where they have prospected for new business, which they have won in the last six months. And I want to have half a dozen examples of that. And half a dozen examples of how they've recovered from a loss. Part of the problem that I see with so many job descriptions is they're largely cut and paste.
They're typically based on stuff that doesn't predict future performance. So they're focused [00:26:00] around skills, experience, historical results. Um, instead of things like attitudes, beliefs and values, habits, the ability to bounce back, to learn resilience, organization. And the net result of that is that you end up hiring veterans who don't work out.
And you look at the revolving door, particularly in sales and in sales management. The turnover in the sales, uh, profession is horrifically high and you end up being falling behind. My pal, Phil McGowan has just finished his PhD in sales, so he is really a doctor of sales and his research suggests that it takes 30 months for a business to recover after you've lost a salesperson.
Now, when you consider the cost of a wrong hire, I've uh, put together a calculator around what the cost of an enterprise salesperson bad hire is, and that's anywhere between 35 and [00:27:00] 125 times. These people could be on 90 to 200, 300,000 pound salaries. Um, so you could be talking about tens of millions of pounds because recruitment is deemed by so many managers as an interruption to their day and distraction from their day job instead of the single most important function they have because 95% of your management problem disappear when you hire.
So what kind of conversation are you having with founders and leaders about the critical importance of the recruitment process and the onboarding process?
Marcus Cauchi: Well, so what kind of conversation are you having with founders and leaders about the critical importance of the recruitment process and the onboarding process? Because again, onboarding for many organizations is basically read the ops manual and here's a phone and log you into the CRM and off you go, and maybe some painful product training.
Brett Putter: I'm spending a lot of time talking to people about this. I've researched [00:28:00] GitHub, a bunch of the, the, the remote work companies, and I'm spending about 8, 8, 9 months now looking deep into what they do. And that is because I've been building this tool around, uh, remote sort of distributed teams. And what I've found is one of the things they focus on is they work really hard on recruitment because they have to make up for that lost in-person ability to gut instinct, which I think is wrong, but that's by the buying, you know, using gut instinct as a recruitment tool is wrong. Disastrous. Disastrous. But essentially what these companies do is they build multi-stage processes to overcome this. And they start off by using questionnaires, surveys, and videos to eliminate the wrong candidates.
But the one thing they do is they involve more of their team to work with the candidates not interview the candidates. So what they do is they build a task. So let's say you're hiring a head of sales. [00:29:00] They build a task around this job specific function, and they'll say, and they'll get the team together and they'll sell, they'll get product, they'll get uh, marketing, they'll get customer success and they'll may get one of their junior salespeople and they'll say, let's build this task.
And they build a task that takes two weeks to cont complete on and off. They say to the shortlisted candidates, here's the task. We want you to talk to product. We want you to talk to sales, marketing, and customer success, and we want you to build a solution and present it to us in two weeks time to do that, you can talk to this person in product, but you have to, it can only be voice.
You can talk to this person in engineering and it can only be video and you can talk to this person in marketing, but it can only be written word. And what they're doing is they're spending a much longer period of time working with the candidates and they, and the product people make [00:30:00] time and they may even, they may even have a a co-working session where they will, they will have a, a brainstorming, or they will describe the process currently in how to change the process. And by the end of this two weeks, you're a, you're able to evaluate the candidates based on skills and experience, ability to actually do the job, the quality of the work they've delivered, the behavior during the process, their verbal and written communication capabilities.
And the values of the candidate. It's a completely different way of looking at recruitment. And this, I think, is a skill that everybody should learn, even if we went, if we went back to working in an office full-time.
Marcus Cauchi: That's genius. And so the, the takeaway from this is design your recruitment process to build on all those elements that Brett talked about, but slow down.
Uh, make sure there are multiple stages where the candidate is [00:31:00] being assessed and where there is lots of interaction across the organization. So that the people who are engaging with them can give their feedback as well, and they feel part of that process and they own the output. And the net result of that is much better understanding of what the job entails.
And this is the recruitment process, is part of the pre onboarding process, is that
Brett Putter: Ab Absolutely. Completely, completely fair. So what most companies are doing is at the shortest stage is where they're really going into this, this, this sort of design task. So it's two or three candidates and they're expecting the candidates to invest a lot of their time.
So they, they pay the candidate a day rate of two days or whatever it is, and they agree with the candidate to say, this is gonna you okay with, we know, you know, we, we get, we, we respect your time with your energy and [00:32:00] we respect what you're gonna give us. And this, this is, this really changes the game for the candidates because it demonstrates that, you know, there, there is, there is a, the value in, in, in what I'm giving is, is high and I will be paid for it.
So, you know, looking at at the recruitment process and using these new, having to do things digitally will force us to almost get better at recruitment if we do it properly.
Marcus Cauchi: That's brilliant. Absolutely stunningly brilliant. I'm definitely gonna be adopting that. I think it's wonderful. Oh wow. Yeah. Wow.
And it, it, it's been worth the call just for that. I love it.
Brett Putter: Another thing that, just, just to, just to follow up on that, you mentioned onboarding. Now? No, no
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah, sorry. The, the onboarding process I think should be 120 days because the first four months, the candidate is putting the, uh, the employer on probation.
Is this a job I was sold, [00:33:00] is my boss an ass, can I do the job? Do I like, um, the people I'm working with, was I better off or would I be better off somewhere else? And if you, if you do a proper onboarding, you set people up to succeed. And this, this is why I get so frustrated with most employers because they treat onboarding like a, it's a, an optional extra and like coaching, coaching is so often sacrificed for more important urgent stuff.
But it's, you know, if you don't coach, the reason you don't have time for coaching is cuz you don't do any coaching. If you don't onboard properly, you, you've just spent the price of a small mortgage and you set people up to fail. So your point?
Brett Putter: I agree and I disagree with you on the 120 days.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay.
Brett Putter: It should be 150 days.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay?
Brett Putter: Because it should start at least at minus 30
Marcus Cauchi: So there's a pre onboarding as well, so I agree with you. Yeah.
Brett Putter: And what I'm seeing with the best, with the best companies is [00:34:00] they, they've actually designed a process where everybody knows who is gonna email or communicate with the candidate, when about what with the new employee. And there are a couple of key things here. Cultural osmosis and learning osmosis is not going to happen anymore the way it did. So if you are thinking of doing onboarding the way you, the way you are, I'm afraid it's gonna fail. And fail dismally. Onboarding used to be we can rely on just like leaders relied on their, on their offices, the actual four walls to help them build, manage, and develop their culture. And they, they allowed their cult, their, their, their culture to develop this way. They weren't deliberate. It was because of the interactions that happened in, in an office that, that the culture happened. And if you can, if you think you can onboard in the old way without a documented culture explaining what your culture is, you are very, very rarely mistaken in this world today.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Brett Putter: The other thing about about [00:35:00] onboarding is onboarding is not about productivity. Most people think it is, but it is not about productivity. Yes, you will get productivity, but first you have to do the following, five things. One, remove anxiety from the process. Be there for the person. Two develop trust and build relationships.
If you don't build relationships in the onboarding process, this person is sitting at home absolutely clueless about your organization. If there aren't relationships falling, there is no trust form. Help the new person understand the invisible currents of the way we do things around here, our culture by buddying them up with somebody, but be deliberate about this.
Don't allow it to just flow. The new to demonstrate their strengths really, really quickly. Don't get them to do, do stuff. Get them to demonstrate their strengths, because [00:36:00] that gives them that boost that they need. One of the, one of the CEOs I interviewed Amanda, she said, you go from the heights of knowing everything about your previous job to the lows of being complete stress and anxiety about this new role.
So you need to create that environment of psychological safety where the new person can be safe enough to be themselves. And you need to remember that onboarding is the first host interviewing culture with your company culture. And if it's poor that is the negative impression set from day one.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, the other part of the onboarding process, certainly in sales that still flabbergast me is be.
The new hire will spend their time with weak salespeople because the good salespeople were busy and they were out speaking to customers, and they'd be surrounded by all the B minus and C and D players, and that would be their introduction. [00:37:00] Now by having a minus 30 days engagement process where they are speaking to all of your critical people who are going to be part of their job.
And then 120 days, making sure that they feel safe, secure, that they are able to demonstrate their competence and you can help them play to their strengths, I think is just magnificent.
in terms of the performance of candidates who've gone through that kind of pre onboarding and onboarding process and the longevity of those hires, do you have any data in terms of what impact that has?
Marcus Cauchi: Tell me this, I, in terms of the performance of candidates who've gone through that kind of, uh, pre onboarding and onboarding process and the longevity of those hires.
Uh, do you have any data in terms of what impact that has?
Brett Putter: I don't have any data. I, it's, um, it's not, I don't have enough time. Uh, I haven't had enough time to really evaluate that properly. What I can tell you though, is, the interaction [00:38:00] changes from an interview, typical interview, to a much deeper experience.
And actually, if you think about the whole, the, the sort of candidate touchpoint process, if you've, if you've defined your culture and embedded it properly, they see the values and the, the communication around the behaviors on the website. They see it on LinkedIn, they see it on social media. I give every recruiter a cheat sheet.
And we write a cheat sheet so that the recruiter reads from it, and we evaluate the candidates that come from the recruiter based on how much they already know about the company's culture when they when before at their first interview. Right. So, so they're getting this repetition of culture all the way through.
Then you interview them against the values, and you have a conversation with this candidate about the values and about the culture, which changes the game from, tell me about [00:39:00] the money and the job to, uh, we know you've got the skills and experience, but actually let's, let's, let's not worry about, you know, it's not, yes, the money's important, but actually let's talk about your values and why you should go here and join us versus go to Google or Facebook or one of those big things or all the competition because your values overlap with our values.
You know, you have the ability, high probability of being able to fulfill your potential here to be able, able to self actualize here. That's where the conversation happens. Then you, then you employ them. And their pre-onboarding is, is about, again, the values and it's about the interaction they have at the onboarding and onboarding start.
It's about the culture and the values, and the leadership team will talk about the culture and the values during the probation period. One of their probation elements is about how they are fitting in with the, with the values, are they demonstrating them? And then at their first one-to-one and their first review, it's about the values.
So you now have, this is an example in relation [00:40:00] to your earlier question about how do you embed it in, it's now you can see one process flow of the organization. It's fully embedded. The candidates, the candidate lands and goes through this onboarding, pre onboarding or onboarding where it's, it's continually reinforced and they, and it's demonstrated as part of their presentation, they have to talk about where do they see themselves living, the values, where do they see their colleagues living, the values and the behavior.
So it's a whole system of interview, a whole system of designing this into all of your processes.
Marcus Cauchi: This is something that I'm wrestling with at the moment. I hope you can give some indication of how I can tackle this. One of the things that I'm really keen to do is create a compensation scheme that rewards people for their contribution because, um, the culture that I want to create in sales is that we don't prospect for this [00:41:00] quarter.
Or this sales period, we prospect for five years down the road and we are prospecting for, to, uh, attract and secure lifetime customers who are delighted with what we do. And to, to that end, I'm trying to create a compensation framework that rewards people in marketing, uh, the people who do the lead generation, the SDRs, um, the salespeople who bring on the sale initially.
Um, but I also want them to be rewarded for utilization of the product, for expansion of the account for retention and repeat business. What ideas can you maybe profit that will help to create that type of compensation scheme that drives those desired behaviors and outcomes?
Brett Putter: So I think the key, the key word here is contribution and contribution goes beyond sales, as you mentioned, customer [00:42:00] service, marketing, and so on.
But actually contribution goes beyond the known functions contribution goes towards the culture. Because actually if you're delivering on how you, how we want to work around you and how we wanna behave here, you're, you're then actually, you're then delivering on all of those pieces of the puzzle. So what I do with some clients, depending on, on their flexibility and their ability to twist things.
So in some cases I will, I will, I will make the entire organization will take 25% of their bonus and make it how subject to how they've lived, the values and behaviors of the organization. And that then moves the, the bonus conversation away from what I'm doing in my role. Partly to being about what we are doing in the organization, how I'm contributing to the greater good of the organization. And it's important to, you really [00:43:00] have to have a well defined culture. You have to have a well defined culture as much as you can. So you have to have well defined values. You have to have well defined behaviors. You have to have a system that is flagging this, um, on a regular basis and rewarding and recognizing it so that, so that people can, at the end of the quarter say, with hand on heart and there's no discussion, no negotiation.
I have lived these values. This is what I've done, and this is what I've been recognized for doing. And then it's not that, you know, there's your 25% or there's your 50% of your, of your bonus. But it, it, it's, it's not a, it's not just a simple thing to do this, you have to really design it properly. But that is the way that I'm encouraging companies to do because that brings everybody back together, focusing on the organization, not just on my role and what I need to achieve to achieve my bonus.
Marcus Cauchi: That therefore suggests that you have to have a regular cadence of accountability. And that the [00:44:00] expectations need to be explicit and uh, expressed upfront. And you need to ensure that a new hire and any existing hires understand what behavior is expected of them every day to what standard and that they are coached in order to develop those behaviors in the desired way, so that as a team, as an organization, they are all working towards that outcome, which is clients and customers who are delighted because an unhappy customer will look around for alternatives.
A satisfied customer will probably be your competitor's best prospect because they will be open to better and unless you are delighting customers. So I think an element of this must be customer satisfaction levels. So again, what's [00:45:00] your advice in terms of being able to make sure that you are getting honest feedback from customers rather than just paying lip service?
Most customer satisfaction surveys are framed in such a way that serves the company's desired outcome that doesn't necessarily get the honest truth from the customer
Marcus Cauchi: Because most customer satisfaction surveys are rather, they're framed in such a way that serves the company's desired outcome. That doesn't necessarily get the honest truth from the customer. So your thoughts on that?
Brett Putter: I don't think you're talking about the right customer. Tell me more. Your company has two customers, the end user and the person who se who services them in some way.
So you've got two customers. Your customers are your employees and the customers are your customers. The buyers. If you have a, a, a strong culture, a functional culture, and the people you've employed in that culture, their values align, then there's a high probability that they're gonna enjoy what they do.
They're gonna grow in what they do, and they're gonna succeed [00:46:00] in what they do. And if those things happen, your customers are gonna be over the moon because they're gonna, they're gonna be operating with people who are engaged, productive, motivated, wanna move the business forward, wanna help the customer, wanna wow the customer, wanna delight the customer, et cetera, et cetera.
So, so actually it starts with your first customer. And your first customer is your employee. And you, you, you, your, your employees then deliver the experience for the customer, for the end user customer.
Marcus Cauchi: So on that bombshell, let's start wrapping up this. This has been amazingly useful. Thank you.
What are you struggling with? What are you wrestling with at the moment?
Marcus Cauchi: Tell me this, what are you struggling with? What are you wrestling with at the moment?
Brett Putter: Let me rephrase this, uh, question a little bit. Um, something that's keeping me up at night really, really, really stressing out,
Marcus Cauchi: Apart from the kids.
Brett Putter: Apart from the kids, is the tsunami wave I can see coming [00:47:00] that it seems like most leaders don't see coming. And this is, we are going through a transition.
It's not going back to normal. You cannot run a hybrid, flexible environment the way you ran your old business. And if you do not adapt now, if you do not start thinking about this now, the wave is gonna hit you and you are not gonna be on high ground. You are not gonna have taken the right steps. It's frankly terrifying because we are in a high stress, high anxiety environment right now.
This is the first time I've been in any office in eight months, nine months. To come and make sure I got good internet connection for this call, . And I walked in here going, wow, I better wash my hands. I better do this. I better do that. And people are living this high anxiety, high stress. The leaders of our companies are, are, are, have adapted to this, we are [00:48:00] adapting to, but it's still high stress.
And we are gonna have burnout. We are gonna have mental health issues. We are gonna have really, really big problems if we don't adapt. And the way to adapt is our culture. And this is, it's, it's blowing my mind how leaders have their heads in the sand.
Marcus Cauchi: I, I'm with you. I'm definitely seeing many organizations haven't really planned for that.
They, they've, they've take, they've reacted, uh, to the lockdown. And a minuscule proportion are thinking like you and I. When it comes to how they have to adapt going forward. So I, I, I think that might be the subject of, uh, another podcast if you'd be willing to come back.
Brett Putter: I'd be happy to. I've actually, I've done a lot of research on remote work companies because you need to understand what remote work companies do because.
20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70% of your people are gonna be remote. And if you aren't careful, you'll end up developing the second class citizen status on in some of your [00:49:00] employees.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely.
Brett Putter: And they'll leave. They will go to where their first class citizens.
Marcus Cauchi: One of the problems that we are gonna see is that lack of regular contact means that people who are working remotely will probably be passed over for promotion.
And there's, there's a whole raft of stuff, which we don't have time to go into today.
Brett Putter: Yeah, I can, this, I can speak, I can speak for two and a half hours on this, so if you wanna do another one, I'd be happy to.
What choice bit of advice would you give him that idiot Brett aged 23 would probably have ignored?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. Well that might be two or three, uh, podcasts. Okay. Tell me this, you've got a golden ticket and you can go and whisper in the ear of the idiot Brett aged 23.
What choice bit of advice would you give him that he would probably have ignored?
Brett Putter: Yeah, he would've definitely ignored it. I'm afraid to say . I would've try and explain to him how it's okay to be patient. It's okay to learn a craft. When I was younger, I was very impatient and I didn't learn craft. I, you know, I, I got good at stuff, but I didn't, I didn't learn the craft.
I didn't [00:50:00] dig deep into it. And that's what I would say is learn the craft. Be patient. You can't become an expert overnight. That's been my, one of my achilles, one of my many Achilles heels.
Marcus Cauchi: If I'm with you, a hundred percent guilty as charge. I think one of the saddest observations of the human condition that I've come to the conclusion of is that youth is wasted on the young and wisdom is wasted on the old.
Um, we, we need to swap that. Um, unfortunately not gonna happen.
What's the stuff that you would recommend people read and watch and listen to?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. What have you been massively influenced by Books, podcasts, uh, audios, um, video. What's the stuff that you would recommend people read and watch and listen to?
Brett Putter: So, I'm, I'm a big reader. There's a book called An Everyone Culture. And, um, it's by Bob Keegan and Lisa Lehi.
And it's really, it's really where, where the future of, of, of culture will get to probably in [00:51:00] five or 10 years. It's about deliberately developmental organizations, DDoS and how, how Bridgewater next jump into Curion have created this, this, this capability to, to self-develop, to really develop. I highly recommend that that companies read as much as they can about GitLab right now.
GitLab is the sort of the godfather of remote work. They've, they're the largest, they've got 1,300 employees. They scaled from, uh, less than a hundred in 2016 to 1,308. Now they have an online, online company manual that's over 7,000 pages. If you were to print it out. It's a living, breathing live document.
And if you just listen to any of their talks about their culture and how they build their culture, it is a gold mine of how to think about transitioning to a hybrid or a remote environment.
What are the names of your books?
Marcus Cauchi: Fabulous. What are the names of your books? [00:52:00]
Brett Putter: The first one is, uh, that I published in 2018 is called Culture Decks Decoded, and that's a framework on how to draw up your own culture deck and the way that Netflix and Asana and Link, uh, I took the best, the best slides from the best culture decks and turned it into a framework. And the second one, which I published in September, is called Earn Your Culture, how to Define, embed and manage your company culture.
And that's, that's, uh, based on the 50 plus interviews I've done with leaders of high growth companies who. A strong, functional, embedded culture. And I, I basically have in the same way developed a framework, but I've used different examples of how, how people onboard, on how people recruit on hun, how people do diversity and inclusion, um, deal with, um, brilliant jerks or bad hires.
And each chapter has 8, 9, 10 different companies. Actual examples of [00:53:00] what they do day-to-day to define, embed, and manage their culture.
Marcus Cauchi: Highly recommended reading both of them. How can people get a hold of you, Brett?
Brett Putter: My website's www.culturegene.ai. That's culture, G E N e.ai. And I'm Brett culture gene.ai. I'm on LinkedIn, I'm on Twitter, and if people have any questions, I'm happy to, happy to talk.
I, I spend 25% of my time. Educating people because culture is this really critically important subject, but very few people really understand it and I would put my hand up as to be one of the, one of the people who understands it a little bit and I'm happy to share and I'm happy to learn. I do lots of webinars for companies.
Most recently I did an internal webinar for Silicon Valley Bank, for example, where I just, you know, there are 296 European employees where I explained how to think [00:54:00] about transitioning to hybrid. And how to think about this along in the mental health issues, allow along documentation, communication, informal, et et cetera, et cetera.
So yeah, I'm happy to, happy to get involved, uh, in, in, um, if people want to talk.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Brett Patta, thank you.
Brett Putter: Thanks very much, Marcus. Great to be on the podcast.
Marcus Cauchi: This is Marcus Kki signing off once again from the Quista podcast. If you would like to engage with either myself or Brett, then please do get in touch with us, either via LinkedIn or via email.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you think you'd be a good guest or you know someone who would be, then please connect us either on LinkedIn or via. And in the meantime, stay safe and happy selling. Bye-bye.