Rebel Human Resources Podcast

Episode 27: Building a Remote/Hybrid Workplace Culture with Bretton Putter

January 19, 2021 Kyle Roed / Bretton Putter Season 1 Episode 27
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 27: Building a Remote/Hybrid Workplace Culture with Bretton Putter
Chapters
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 27: Building a Remote/Hybrid Workplace Culture with Bretton Putter
Jan 19, 2021 Season 1 Episode 27
Kyle Roed / Bretton Putter

Join Kyle Roed as he speaks with Bretton Putter,  Author and CEO of CultureGene.  

Brett is a leading expert on startup and high-growth company culture. He is the founder and CEO of CultureGene a culture development platform helping companies to transition effectively to remote work.

He recently published Culture Decks Decoded: Transform your Culture into a Visible, Conscious and Tangible Asset and will be publishing The Culture-Driven Leader in 2020.

Brett interviews founders and CEOs of successful high-growth start-ups to better understand how they defined, developed and implemented their company’s culture. He publishes his interviews on the CultureGene blog and speaks and runs workshops on the subject of company culture. Brett is an investor in Seedcamp funds I, II, III & IV and an investor in and advisor to a number of high growth start-up.

Prior to founding CultureGene Brett spent 16 years as the Managing Partner of a leading executive search firm where he successfully completed CxO, VP and Director level searches for hundreds of start-up and high-growth companies in the UK, US and across EMEA. He has interviewed more than 5,000 senior executives over the past 16 years. 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/brettonputter/
www.culturegene.ai
brett@culturegene.ai
https://twitter.com/BrettonPutter

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work.

We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

Follow Rebel HR Podcast at:

www.rebelhumanresources.com
https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

Rebel ON, HR Rebels!  

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/rebelhumanresources)

Show Notes Transcript

Join Kyle Roed as he speaks with Bretton Putter,  Author and CEO of CultureGene.  

Brett is a leading expert on startup and high-growth company culture. He is the founder and CEO of CultureGene a culture development platform helping companies to transition effectively to remote work.

He recently published Culture Decks Decoded: Transform your Culture into a Visible, Conscious and Tangible Asset and will be publishing The Culture-Driven Leader in 2020.

Brett interviews founders and CEOs of successful high-growth start-ups to better understand how they defined, developed and implemented their company’s culture. He publishes his interviews on the CultureGene blog and speaks and runs workshops on the subject of company culture. Brett is an investor in Seedcamp funds I, II, III & IV and an investor in and advisor to a number of high growth start-up.

Prior to founding CultureGene Brett spent 16 years as the Managing Partner of a leading executive search firm where he successfully completed CxO, VP and Director level searches for hundreds of start-up and high-growth companies in the UK, US and across EMEA. He has interviewed more than 5,000 senior executives over the past 16 years. 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/brettonputter/
www.culturegene.ai
brett@culturegene.ai
https://twitter.com/BrettonPutter

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work.

We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

Follow Rebel HR Podcast at:

www.rebelhumanresources.com
https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

Rebel ON, HR Rebels!  

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/rebelhumanresources)

Bretton Putter:

So you build remote first best practices into the DNA of the company where possible, you've got to create an environment where the remote employees feel as if they are part of the team at the same as the people in the office. And then, ideally, where possible the leadership should not work in the office.

Kyle Roed:

This is the rebel HR podcast. If you're a professional looking for innovative, thought provoking information in the world of human resources, this is the right podcast for you. All right, Rebel HR listeners. I'm extremely excited today to introduce you to our guest. Retton putter, or, Brett, do you go by Brett?

Bretton Putter:

You have Brett? Most people call me Brett. The last person to call me Breton was my mother probably when I was 13. And I'd done something wrong and she did it for gritted teeth. So Brett spreads good.

Kyle Roed:

Well, we'll keep your mother happy even call you you Brett putter to begin with, but I'm gonna call you Brett from here on out if that's all right. So Brett is an author and the CEO of culture gene, an organization out of the UK. Brett is a leading expert on startup and high growth company culture. He's the founder and CEO of culture gene, a culture development platform, helping companies transition effectively to remote work. I think your timing is impeccable. Brett, he, he has some publications, culture decks decoded, transform your culture into a visible conscious and tangible asset. And we'll be publishing the culture driven leader in 2020. So excited to hear a little bit more about that. Brett, welcome to the show.

Bretton Putter:

Thanks very much, Kyle, good to be on. Really looking forward to having a chat with you.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, look, I'm looking forward to it. So I love the topic. It's very timely. And something that whether we like it or not a lot of HR people have been forced to try to deal with here in 2020. So why don't we start off? Why don't you just tell me a little bit about yourself and your organization?

Bretton Putter:

Sure. So I initially ran an executive search firm for 16 years. And then four years ago, I set up culture Jean, really to help companies define embed and manage their culture. And I've developed a process for that. I've got a piece of software that I've developed, also quite timely and fortunate. I started developing it about 18 months ago. And really, it mimics my mimics my process. But online, I was approached by two remote work companies about 18 months ago, and I realized that my in person process wasn't going to work. So I thought there could be an opportunity here. And so that's where we got to Cartagena and the software I use,

Kyle Roed:

very, very timely. And Sage thought that there's an opportunity here to help so so what has you know, in your world, I got to believe that the demand for your product has exceeded maybe your initial assumption. So how has 2020 been in your world?

Bretton Putter:

So 2020 it's been interesting. I've, I've had I've had demand on the one hand fall off a cliff. Because a lot of the work I do is with high growth early, relatively early stage high growth companies. Most of them are VC backed. And so when COVID hit the VC said, Why don't you spend another Damn. And, and I bet on the other side, there have been companies that have been COVID has been kind to them. And they've just taken off like a rocket ship. So on that side, it's picked up again tremendously. So we went through a little bit of a dip. And now it's really taken off again. So yeah, we're busy. I'm, I personally, really focused down on understanding the CEO and the board of the company because I that's I work with the sea level, first to embedded into the management and then embedded into the company. So ultimately, it's whether I think the CEO and I will get on and will we have an understanding whether I work with a company or not. So that's basically how, how we approach it.

Kyle Roed:

Interesting. So I'm curious to understand a little bit more about that, because, you know, I think there's a lot of talk around, you know, moving into a virtual world and making work work remote, but I think it's so different for every organization. So as you're helping these organizations figure out their, their strategies, how do you Where do you start in determining, you know, what the appropriate processes To make a digital conversion might look like.

Bretton Putter:

So that the reality is that remote companies do work radically different. And the second reality is that whether whether the the vaccine works and whether virus goes away, or not the cats out of the bag, and we will have either remote or hybrid work for the most part. And hybrid equals remote, really, because you will always have some people working remotely. And what leaders don't realize is, in this sort of hybrid world, it's actually harder to lead a hybrid business because when we remote, we're all experiencing the culture of the company culture in the same way, when we're hybrid, there's the you can can develop into an s&m where there's us in the office and them up there. And that's a very dangerous place to be. So that's the first thing as leaders have to realize that, first of all, we aren't going back. Secondly, moving forward, you have to adapt your business. And I, because I was building the software for remote companies fundamentally, I decided over the last year to really understand what it is that remote companies do differently and how they operate differently to co located office based environments. And my research demonstrates that there are nine best practices that remote companies do over and above what we in an office based environment would typically do. And so I start talking about those nine best practices and evaluating the nine best practices under the umbrella of what is your company culture, like and how do we need to adapt it?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I think one of the things that you mentioned that really resonated with me and that's that's the situation that my organization is in right now. And that's the danger of hybrid work. And the division of the essential workforce that can't work from home. And the I don't know if not essential is the right word, but the word the the workforce that can work from home, just because of the nature flexible. Yeah, I like that's a better term, I'll use that one. But the flexible workforce that can work from home. And that's one of the things that that my organization's is struggling with right now, is trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube, so to speak on some of the people who have enjoyed the flexibility. And the individuals who don't have the ability to enjoy the flexibility and the potential cultural division that might occur there. So what what strategies have you seen work? Or, or how do we even approach that problem.

Bretton Putter:

So I don't think that toothpaste is ever going back. Some of it might, but you're going to lose some, if you try and force it back in. And it really does depend on when you're talking about non flexible or essential workers. You know, in some cases, people have to be in a location and they have to serve customers, or they have to do what they need to do in application. And then you've got other people who can be way more flexible. And what what we do in that situation, as we as we understand what the division is, if the division is 95%, non flexible, 5% flexible, then it's a little bit more hard to implement what I'm going to propose. But essentially, if you've got a remote work environment, that is that is sort of 5050 hybrid or 5050 6040 more towards people who can be flexible, then you what you've got to do is you've got to bold a culture that is as as much as possible remote first. And remote first really means that you are you are you designing the the remote working, where possible is the default way of working. So for example, if if there is a a group meeting where you've got four people who are dialing in via zoom, or teams and you've got four people in the office that are on this meeting, the four people in the office do not go into the boardroom, the four people in the office log on via teams, because that that means we're all equal. We're experiencing this meeting in the same way. So you build remote first best practices into the DNA of the company where possible, you've got to create an environment where the remote employees feel as if they are part of the team and the same as the people in the office. And then the ideally, where possible, the leadership should not work in the office. Because if the leadership are in the office, people congregate around the leaders and then that's where the power is, and then that's where you get the second class citizen status that you always want to avoid in these situations.

Kyle Roed:

Fascinating that, that goes counter intuitive to, to what I think many of our inclinations would be. So I'm curious is that also part of the reason why you focus on your relationship and that CEO perspective on this type of work?

Bretton Putter:

I focus, I focus on the CEO because actually, if the seat so I've had the situation where the CEO was bought in, fully, the CEO was bought in somewhat. But as soon as I've had it, as soon as I asked the CEO to do certain things that they either didn't want to do, or felt this wasn't right for them, nevermind the business, then they then they kick back on it. So I changed some of the way the CEOs work. When I when I when I do this process. So I changed the way they communicate, a change the way they reward and recognize a change to a degree, what they measure, and what they pay attention to change the hiring process. And they have to be at the top of the tree for it to cascade down. So if the CEO is not rewarding, and recognizing what I'm telling the leadership team to reward and recognize, then there is a disconnect. And there's a disruption in the culture because everybody follows will ultimately follow the CEO because the CEO is the final decision maker for us. So I work with the CEO deliberately, because we then we give that that leader, a framework for her to pass down onto a team, because she is operating that way. And the framework is based on how you embed culture into an organization. It's not based on some smoke and mirrors, there are only six ways to embed culture and we design that into the functions and processes of the business.

Kyle Roed:

Mm hmm. So, you know, I'm, I'm fascinated to learn more about how do you approach the the concern about a leader feeling like they're maybe disconnected from their, from their employees, if they're not sitting in an office next door to somebody that they might have a question for or not, you know, don't don't even have they don't even have an open door policy because they don't have a door. How do you how do you work through those kind of those concerns? And what strategies do you employ to make sure they can stay connected?

Bretton Putter:

Yeah, so what what we do is we look at these nine best practices that remote companies do differently. So they remote companies are very deliberate about the culture of their company. And they are deliberate about the culture of the company. And they focus on these best practices because they didn't have an office to begin with. So I call the office space leaders somewhat somewhat disrespectfully, I call them lazy. Because essentially, we relied on our offices to design or maintain our culture. We relied on the watercooler moments we relied on proximity, we relied on visibility we write relied on body language, we relied on availability, we relied on presence, we relied on the watercooler moments, we relied on informal communication we relied on in information dissemination. And all of those elements are now lost. to us. We took them for granted. And we could be lazy about our culture, because it kind of happened through osmosis. osmosis is lost to us now. So yeah, so the companies that were remote for a long time or remote from the very beginning companies like Git lab, or hot jar, or zippier, or buffer, or Basecamp, those companies were deliberate about culture, because they had to be they couldn't be lazy about it. They were deliberate about social connection. Because if you aren't deliberate about social connection, that glue weakens, they deliberate about how to communicate, and using more asynchronous communication and synchronous communication, so you don't burn your team out. They delivered about process sizing their business, because if you don't, the process is in somebody's head, and you can't get it out of their head without doing a zoom call, which burns you out. They were deliberate about documentation. Because if you don't document it, it's in somebody's head. They were deliberate about developing trust through transparency, because if you don't trust somebody, and you can't see them next to you all the time, how do you work with them effectively, they focused on results based leadership and outcomes based leadership because it's impossible, very difficult to micromanage in a remote environment. They focused on making their recruitment and onboarding processes highly customized, to overcome the loss of in person gut instinct. And last but not least, they focused on well being Because well being is Morrall mental health and burnout, which is a really, really big stressor because of loneliness, which is a result of working from home. So those are the nine things that they focus on. And those are the nine things that I look at the company and I say, how are we doing here? You as the leader, what are you doing about your values? How often are you talking about them? Because your values are the DNA, they're the foundations of your business. And your people need the stability, they need to hear about you talking about the culture about the mission and the vision and where we're going, and how are we going to get there and how you expect us to behave through our culture. And so it's a it's this is a very broad process that I run with the company and we first of all understand strengths and weaknesses against these, and then we start to combat those. And from a from a leadership position, you know, remote companies do one to ones very regularly. So so a leader should be doing, you know, you wouldn't have been doing one to ones in most companies in a located environment. But now you should be doing one to ones once a week. So you know, how people are. So you know, the feeling. So it's this isn't an easy transition. This is a, you know, that actually what most what happens with most companies and leaders I talked to, is they go, dude, I'm really flat out, I don't know which which way is up, and you tell me, I've got to go through this whole transformation. I'm saying, Well, if you don't, your culture is degrading as we speak every single day, you rely on your office based culture, in a non office based environment degrades that culture. And what's going to happen is the smart companies are going to take ownership of hybrid work or remote work, remote first work, and they're going to own it, and they get it they're going to position themselves for it. And what would I do if I feel like a second class citizen in your company? Or should I feel like a first class citizen in that company that's making a real effort to make me happy, and build the right culture? For me? What am I gonna do? I love working in your office, but I'm certainly not going to work in in my home in your bad culture.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Yeah. And I think if history has taught us anything, the companies with the best culture and team win,

Bretton Putter:

win all the time. Yeah. Well, there are some cases that I've seen where great coaches, you know, strong functional cultures don't win, but that's really a fundamental element of the product or something. But if you've got a really great product, and you've got a strong functional culture, you've got, you know, an above average chance of winning, and if you look at all of the big players, you know, the Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Microsoft, you know, Microsoft turned around on a dime with such an Adela on board with his card with with the culture work he's done. And they all focus on it, because they understand how important it is.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely, absolutely. Well said, and, you know, I think a call to action for for all of us in a in a people leadership role or an HR role. And I love the term that you use lazy, don't get lazy. If you do, somebody else is gonna pass you by and get the right talent and their team and, and, you know, there's not a whole lot of that going around right now.

Bretton Putter:

You know, I, I would actually say this, put it a slightly different way. I'd say go and get fit, because you were lazy.

Kyle Roed:

Haha. There we go. That's better. That's more positive. Yeah, hit the gym, put the doughnuts down. Go, go, go start being intentional about these things. Exactly.

Bretton Putter:

I think it's so many go to gym, I like that. I'm gonna use it.

Kyle Roed:

I love it. It's so true, though. I and I just I'm reflecting on my own personal experience that, you know, I used to, I used to follow the MB wha manage by walking around. And, and my industry is manufacturing. So you know, when you walk around and you have these interactions, I would gain more in a 10 minute walk than I would in a two hour meeting about what the culture is doing. How are people feeling? Where are we going is the communication that we're delivering landing, I would get all that stuff through those those interactions. And now, I don't have that I I've had to modify how I get that data. And that data is inevitably filtered through a screen and the people who are delivering it. So what what solutions do you have for for some of those interactions that were previously accidental and and converting those into an intentional process that still gives those real information that somebody in leadership needs to know.

Bretton Putter:

So this isn't applicable for it. It is applicable for all companies. But it's not necessarily a clickable for all people what I'm about to say now, but documentation is such a critical part of running a remote business. If it's not documented, how do I know what it is? And if it's not documented, how do I actually even know it happened if I wasn't there, and I wasn't there, because I wasn't even in your bedroom wizard, which is where you were doing it from. So. So documentation is one element where I'm seeing companies like get lab, they document everything, you know, their, their company manual is 1000 pages. And, wow, and it's available online for you to go and read right now. And I, you know, I'd recommend everybody go and have a look at it, it's a thing of beauty, it's a real thing of beauty. And get labs manual is designed so that they're not a single one of those pages is redundant. They are all live working pages, and somebody reads that page. Every day, they've got 1300 employees, and they've been doing this for 10 years. So they've got a head start on most of us. But if you if you Doc, if if, if you're even in a metro manufacturing situation, what used to happen probably is would be my guess is the team or the team working with the machines would communicate to their leadership, and that would get passed up and passed up, and then you'd find out about what happened. And then what you would do is go and do the walk around on the on the floor, and you'd connect the dots and the missing pieces of the information that got quoted through or were not communicated effectively. Now, if you go and say, Look, I'm not expecting you to write Shakespeare here. But I want you to document what happens in that situation or document would put give me seven bullet points. And you give them a really easy structure to follow. Then you can read those documents at the end of the day. And you can ping that person and go, just tell me what happened there. And that's that's like you being on the shop floor again. It's like you being it's that walking around management technique, but you're not walking, you're actually in their bedroom with them, or you're in their office with them. Because you are just following up to see, okay, that machine was an operating optimum. What did we do? How did we do it. And that's, that's the documentation is so critical. And I recommend to my clients that you create, just on a very basic level, use a Google doc and just say, this is the stuff that happened today. And put it down and then you as the leader can look at that, look at all those docs and go, Okay, I can see where this may have a negative impact on the rest of how we are doing things. And I may have to slow, slow that department down a little bit to make sure we're in sync. So that's really for me, you know, documentation. It's not easy, because especially in the case of manufacturing, I'm sure that there are there are men and women on the floor that didn't think they'd have to write again or didn't even want to write again, frankly. But doing this on a really basic level is critical.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, yeah. It does sound hard. But But I, I, I agree 100%. If you don't have the data, if you don't, if you don't have any sort of that information, the you know, how do you know what's going on besides a base assumption? on your part?

Bretton Putter:

Yeah, there's a there's a, if you think about it like this. Your people will need as much visibility into their colleagues work, as they would have previously had in an office where they could meet up, listen in chat over lunch telopea bump into one another. The only way to achieve that in this sort of hybrid remote environment is through documentation. And you know, what, you know, good documentation enables stronger, more informed, more trusting a more connected team. And actually, what I'm what I'm advising my clients to do, is to have what I could I say the walking on the moon conversation. We were we were living on earth. And we are running around in our genes and our trainers and our jackets, and you know, breathing normally eating normally. Gravity was doing its thing. I want you to imagine that the Earth was obliterated, but we managed to escape to the moon. We're now on the moon. Gravity is different. What we wear is different how we can't walk around, we bounce now. You know, it's a completely different environment we're in. We're not going back to the earth. We it's not going back. So what you have to realize is we may have some earth like experiences again, but we're in a new environment now. And I advise some companies to actually go and mourn the passing of pre COVID of the P COVID. world so you can get over it. You know, it's dead. Move on. Get through the grief stages so that you can understand where you are as a business, because half of your people are waiting for it to go back to, to business as usual, or hoping it's going to go back to business as usual. And it's your responsibility as a leader to go up. It's never going back to business as usual. Huh?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, that's fascinating analogy. And I think about, you know, you mentioned grief. And in reflecting on this year, yeah, I think the Kubler Ross model could could be, you could map that out. I'm just thinking through. Okay, so it was let's see, February denial. And then you could keep walking through. Yeah. And at some point, I think I think it was probably this summer, I think I finally personally hit acceptance, like, it's, we just got to get on with it. Because, you know, what? It? Yes, this is just another thing in the workflow of something that we have to work through, and, and learn to, you know, better ourselves from the scenario and but I still face, I still face that resistance internally, within my organization, I think there's a lot of my employees and employees at other companies that are, they're still clinging to the hope that it's you, let's just go back to the way it used to be. So do you think that that that's, that's a fallacy that we should all just we, we all need to accept that the world is different from here on out.

Bretton Putter:

So the world is different from here on out, because people have realized that, so it's okay that people working in the factory, have not experienced this to the same degree. But the people, the more flexible people have realized that actually, there's more to life than spending 45 minutes in a car into going into work and 45 minutes ago, or going out to a, you know, there's an hour and a half of my life, just gone. There's more to life than this. And I've got a client software client. And they're 100 people, and they've got 60 engineers. And engineers are quite used to flexibility. But he is he prior to COVID, he insisted on everybody coming into the office. And the engineers sent him a letter saying that we they would be prepared to work somewhat hybrid, but at least half of them would never go into the office again. And if they didn't like it, they can replace it. Yep. And that's, that's the new reality. And yes, we might be able to find people who are prepared to work in a way that is come into the office. But for you to hire the best people, for you to hire the people you want. And you need to take your business to the next level, you're going to have to build hybrid flexibility into your business. Because the best people will be able to choose how they work and when they will. Because that's what they want to do. They want to live their lives as they want to live their lives. And this is what COVID has done. Yes, it's been restrictive. And yes, it's been anxious. And yes, it's being very stressful. Back, it's giving people insight into a different world. That, you know, I was reading an article and I hadn't got it, I haven't finished it last night, but reading an article where people are spending half an hour longer in bed with their children, just laying in bed in the mornings, because the kids come in, and they just lie around in bed and you know, the women writing it was going, I'm never going back to the office full time. Because I'm getting this I'm getting more.

Kyle Roed:

Right. I think that's fascinating. And I'm sure a number of us have probably experienced that employee that, you know, if they've, if they've tried to bring people back and kind of do a re emergence of the people into the office that there's there's been some individuals with some strong resistance to that. And some who have just flat out said, you know, my family's homeschooling is more important to me than returning to the office. And, you know, there's some of that, that that's occurring. But I think the key word there for me like personally is flexibility. And it's not like I I like working in the office I for me, it's a it's a really, it's an easier break from work and home balance for me to actually pick up all of my things, go to the office, focus on the office work, and then leave the office work at the office and come home and be present with my family that for me that that's easier for me to manage than my laptop's here and I can answer this email 24 hours a day, seven days. weak, always on, you know that, that becomes a struggle for me personally. But having the flexibility to kind of blend those two lives together is also very, very important for me, in my role, so. So So how does how does that work with with the, you know, an individual that maybe misses the office? Can't get into the office, but but also has that risk of never being able to shut it off? How do you know how do you work through kind of that transition for folks that maybe aren't all in on working from home? Like the flexibility? Want to see people in the office? You know, how do you address those things?

Bretton Putter:

Yeah. So right now, that's not really an option. Right? But, but it will be in the not too distant future, I hope. And what what we're doing with our clients is obviously polling, serving the team and saying, What do you want, because I want to know, if you never want to come back to the office, again, I want to know if some of you want to come back into the office, I want to know. And typically what's happening is the younger people want to come back into the office because they young, they, you know, they may be sharing, sharing a house with three other people, it's chaos, it's mayhem, you know, they all they are alone in an apartment, and they need that that interaction. And then in some cases, the the older that, you know, the people, I've got two children under three. And actually, there would be some days that I wouldn't mind going into the office, frankly, just oblivious. But actually, actually, so what what remote companies do around this is they are very disciplined about that. Some of them not all of them are very disciplined about the structure of their day. So so the structure of the day means that we are delivered about No, no slack, no emails, after six o'clock. None, zero, nothing. Okay. And yes, if you in my case, for example, I tell I've told my team, I will be doing work often nine, but that's because I'm getting four hours during the day to spend with my kids, you know, I'm blocking off time in the morning, lunch, and in the evening. That's about four hours. So I'm going to make up for that it's not me working extra I'm making up for it. Because I'm not going to be able to be available between 12 and two and eight, nine and five and six. And but I but I do not send a single email that that that arrives in anybody's inbox after 6pm. And I do not send any messages, any type of Im any type of phone message any type of WhatsApp or anything after 6pm. If I have something that I think about, I write it down a little book, The next morning, I send it. So the discipline that I as the leader are demonstrating means nobody else is doing that thing. Nobody else is working off the 6pm or demonstrating or talking about working, some of them might be but there is respect because what you need to realize is, and I'll just give you an example. decompression is a really important thing. And decompression actually meant you left home, you decompress. And in my case, the tube, in your case, maybe a car into the office, and then you worked. And then you took a break and you maybe had a meeting and you decompressed on the way to the meeting because you walked and you bumped into somebody say Hi Sam, how you doing? You had that you had some banter at the meeting, you chatted more decompression, then you focus down on the meeting, then you've maybe went back into the office did some work in the morning. And then you had lunch decompression. And then maybe you've moved back to work, then you had a meeting and you got into the car and drove to the meeting decompression. And then that you had these moments of decompression during the day, which allowed you to flex that freshness. We don't have any decompression now because we staring at this damn digital divide. And it's just one after the other Bang, bang, bang bang. And that means that our brains are are doing all of this hard work on trying to work out your what your what your body movements are saying and I can't see your body because my eyes can see my eyes again, I can see him so I can read human human nature. But actually I can't read you because I can't see below your shoulder. So so. So this is where zoom fatigue comes in. And and without decompression. We are overstressed by this. So the good companies, the companies that are aware of this are folding in decompression into the organization. So they're saying no meetings between one and three on Tuesdays. No meetings between two and four on Thursdays focus time on Wednesdays between between 11 and 12. You know, we're going to have a bent at time everybody gets together and shares a story from the weekend if it's a small enough team, but basically companies remote companies have very good at decompartmentalize And building structure into the into the day for the team. It's not always easy if you've got a big organization, but it can be done. And and you know that there is a there is there's some there's some flexibility around it. But if the leadership team demonstrated and do it, then everybody else

Kyle Roed:

absolutely goes right back to being intentional, right. You know, it's one thing to say we care about work life balance, or we want you to spend time, you know, focused on your family, it's a whole nother thing to say, no emails past six. That's, that's, that's putting the action behind the words right then. So yeah, well said, I think that's great. I'm, I'm taking notes here on on things that I need to propose to my CEO right now.

Bretton Putter:

You can, you can give him a copy. I've actually my I published my new book, fairly recently, I own your culture. And that's actually a tactical breakdown of how to build your culture. And like how to define your values, mission vision, how to embed it, how to deal with brilliant jerks, or bad hires, how to do onboarding probation, and I've interviewed over 50 companies, where I actually use it, the examples of what they do, to onboard are the examples of what they to phyo how they hire as which you can literally take it, read it and and apply it to your company. It's a very tactical book.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, that's, that's great. And I think, you know, we're all looking for answers right now. If we can, if we can look at case studies and research, you know, what have people already done, what has worked, what hasn't worked? You know, what a great, great opportunity for us to, to think a little bit differently about how we structure the things that we, we did before the pandemic and after the pandemic. So, we'll have a link to will have a link to that in the show notes. And so if people want to find that, that book, they can, they can locate that. But yeah, I'll be I'll check that out. For sure. I record that. So. Yeah, so I want to talk about that a little bit. So you know, one of the things that that I thought was so interesting about your background is the, the just the number of interviews, that you you've interviewed hundreds of founders and CEOs about about culture. So give me a, you know, give me a high level overview of what were some of the things that maybe surprised you, after going through all of these, these conversations with these leaders.

Bretton Putter:

So the thing that surprised me the most was how few companies have actually done anything about their culture. So I, I put a call out to my network, and I said, I'm looking to interview CEOs with strong cultures, for my next book. And so I'd be saying, go and talk to Jamie, Jamie's doing a great job. He's got a great culture. And so I dropped me a line and we'd set up a meeting, I had a very structured interview, interview process, which allowed me to get deep into the layers of the onion. And what I mean by that, is that sort of layer one is the mission and the vision of the company, layer two are the values layer three, what are the values mean to your business? And how you how do you communicate that layer four is how do you embed those values? layer five is what are you doing on a functional and process level to ensure that those values are actually actionable, without being deliberate? In other words, they become a habit in your organization. And so I'd start this, this sort of these layers. And most people I was interviewed, introduced to, it would stop at layer two. So they define their values, but they weren't doing anything about it. And so their company culture was happening by default. Yes, they may be doing a little bit of, you know, employee recognition around it and you know, employee of the month, but that's where it ended. So as soon as I started asking more detail about it, I would like, No, no, sorry, I can't help you there. This is, you know, I got some good stuff. But it wasn't really a deeper conversation. So I actually had to speak to 500 companies to get just over 50 amazing interviews. So why not one out of 10 companies has done a good job for an okay job of defining and embedding their culture. Wow. So that's the first thing that raised

Kyle Roed:

you know, if you say that and it sounds shocking, but then I reflect on that it's not really surprising. At least for my seat, sitting in HR, that there's so a lot of this is accidental, right? It's, it's, you know, we are who we are by accident, or, you know, we hit One of my favorite leaders of all time, and he shall remain nameless. But he made a comment at one point, we were looking at organizational restructuring and trying to think about who's the right person to help leave this. in about six months into the process, he looked at me and he goes, Well, our accidental strategies work. And it was so and it was just a, it was a moment of levity, but it was so true. It was like, you know, we were flying by the seat of our pants. And we were like, gee, I hope this works. And, yeah, it's, I believe it. That's great. So, you know, I think that I think that one of the things that is really fascinating about just the study of culture is the fact that it's so hard to change. So did you have any examples of successful culture change in a positive way that was reflective in some of the actions of these leaders.

Bretton Putter:

So So Bernard, Bernard newsnow, runs a company called busua, which is a language learning business and, and move from Spain to London and got to London raised a pretty big funding round and hired a team. And what he done is typical he that he, he sat down with a team, and they came up with nice sounding mission and vision and values. And then that was like a tick box exercise, and didn't do much, terribly much more with him. But actually, the business went through a real dip. And for various reasons, and actually, most of the people he'd recently hired, just lift they they literally, it was like rats off the ship to Oregon. And he realized that actually, this was a he pulled the company through this dip. And and you know, it survived and is now flying. It's a very successful business now. But this actually was his learning. And so what he what he did is he went back to those values and mission and vision and reworked them, and then really decided I'm only going to hire people who fit the values and worked out how to make sure that the values fit was clear to him. And sometimes he admits in the interview I did with him, sometimes I still make the move, we still make mistakes, and a couple of people slip through but the culture we've developed a so strong, that the culture actually spits those people out. Those people leave, before they get too entrenched, because they can't become entrenched in the strong culture we've developed. And so here's learning of being somewhat tick box exercise, about the about the bad news and and turning it around and really being deliberate about it is the first one. There's another one by Nicolas designs, who is the CEO was the CEO of algo, Leah, and they just brought in a new CEO, and algolia is a very big searching enterprise search engine company, think they're going to be at 500 600 people now. And they, they were very transparent. Everything was transparent. Until they started, if you knew everything, you knew salaries, you knew everything. And until they moved, they started expanding internationally. Then all of a sudden, he had to transition that because first of all, it was against the law in some companies to be transparent in some countries to be great around salary. And secondly, the US people they were hiring, were earning double what the French people were learning because that's just the way it works. You know, San Francisco is really expensive. And so so they're there he had to go through and he said to me, luckily I developed with developed a lot of goodwill in the transparent days, but we actually had to go through a change to being less transparent. And we overcame that by by allowing people to see certain things that that it is obviously all, you know, there's all legally around, but they would they they allowed they gave people access to documentation that wasn't really that easy. You wouldn't get it very easily typically. And they created a dashboard for people to get other the other details, details they needed around transparency, but they stopped transparency on in certain areas of the business. And that was a very interesting example for him of difficult time because people felt uncomfortable that this was changing. But as well well done transformation because they over they overcame it and they bought the goodwill to, to overcome.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Yeah, we that's a whole nother show talking about transparency, and privacy and all that. Oh, that's Yeah, that we could do. We could do a series on that. But yeah, fascinating approach. All right. Well, we are we are closing in on time. And I want to make sure that we get through the rebel HR flash round. So here we go. Question number one, what are you reading right now?

Bretton Putter:

I'm reading a book called switch. And I can't remember who the author is. But it's a it's actually literally is about company transformation. One of my one of my clients has read it and suggest that I read it. And if a client suggests I read a book, then I do it. And actually, I'm really enjoying it because it's a very, it's a very simplified way to look at transformation. They there's a there's a, they use a little phrase, true, but useless. What you said is true, but useless to us in this organizer. So don't say. I really like that. And then I love that. Yeah, true, but useless. So thank you very much. I we accept your truth, but it's useless. Yeah. So let's work out what's really relevant. So there's little little acronyms and things that they use that are really smart. I like it.

Kyle Roed:

I love that. I love that. And yeah, I could think of a number of those. Yeah, my wife tells me that a lot, too. But that's another podcast.

Bretton Putter:

I think that's another whole podcast. That's not Yeah.

Kyle Roed:

That's a whole that's a new start. Alright, question number two, Who should we be listening to?

Bretton Putter:

So, um, they're the two guys who run a podcast in the UK. And the podcast is called secret leaders. And it's the, the Whoa, that the charismatic host is a guy named Dan Murray. And he's interviewed many, many interesting leaders. And he's just got a way about him to get leaders to relax and to maybe give a little bit more than they would typically on a podcast. So the podcast is called secret deed is really like it. I listened to it religiously. And they touch on the culture stuff they touch on difficult experiences of leaders. I recommend their

Kyle Roed:

secret leaders. I'm let's check that out. Alright, last question here. How can our listeners connect with you?

Bretton Putter:

So they can they can ping me via the website, I am on www dot culture gene.ai, which is culture G and e.ai. I'm on LinkedIn, Britain, pata. And I'm on Twitter, Britain pattern my Twitter and LinkedIn. If your listeners want to ping me directly, I'm at Brett at culture gene.ai. I'm a student of culture, it's my passion. It's, I'm going to do it until I die. And I just want to learn all day every day. And it's pretty much a part for my family and friends and children all I think about so if you want to talk to me about culture, more than happy to

Kyle Roed:

perfect, perfect. All right, love it. Well, it's been a fascinating show, I think some some absolutely wonderful things that all of us in HR can think about and reflect on. And, and a lot of great, great information as well in your book. So strongly encourage our listeners to connect with Bretton Potter, we'll have all that in the show notes as well. Brett, thank you so much for the time today. It's been a wonderful conversation. Really appreciate it.

Bretton Putter:

My pleasure. It's been an awesome and very enjoyable podcast, it's great to speak to somebody who is comfortable, and you're listening to understand and, and, and explore versus listening to ask the next question. But you get you get, you get you get like that. And so it's so it's a really it's a pleasure to to, you know, interact with you, I you and I could do this for another three hours people get bored. But

Kyle Roed:

you know, that's that is the truth of this podcast. And you know, honestly, you know, I'm just curious. I just like to learn and the, the the caliber of guests that we've had on and the amount of learning that has just occurred for me personally, it's very much appreciated. So I really sincere, sincerely appreciate your, your expertise and helping us think maybe a little bit differently about how we manage the immediate future, but then how we actually set ourselves up to win long term. So really great stuff. Thank you so much,

Bretton Putter:

Brett. My vision. Oh, have a great day.

Kyle Roed:

You too. Thanks. All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter at rebel HR guy or care website at rebel human resources.com. The views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast is the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position.

Jude Roed:

Maybe