16 Nov Corporate Culture Insights That Can Help You In The Classroom.
I am fortunate to visit many of New Zealand’s most highly performing organisations as an inspirational speaker. Over time, I’ve noticed some common themes in the corporate culture of these companies, and I reckon they play a big part in underpinning their success. Once a teacher now an entrepreneur, I’ve often reflected that the ingredients that make an outstanding company culture are not only relevant to building a positive classroom culture but are directly transferable. Here are my favourites.
Culture Essential 1: Teamwork
One of the great teams I’ve addressed is Barfoot & Thompson. The company’s network of staff is one of its most valuable assets but only because the team genuinely works together. It’s as though they’re always ready to ‘pass or receive the ball’ so that it’s held by whoever who is best placed to score the goal. Teamwork is equally important whether you’re dealing with customer service or with students building a presentation together. Teamwork is reinforced not only by sharing the work, but also the accolades.
Culture Essential 2: An Explorer Mindset
Many of the top executives I meet speak about the importance of embracing innovation, curiosity and life-long learning in workplace culture. It is what enables brands to stay relevant, disrupt and lead their sectors. This resonates with the vision of the William Pike Challenge Award – a world of explorers. Companies encourage an explorer mindset with everything from brainstorming sessions, cross-functional innovation groups and even the humble suggestion box. Freedom to question everything is fundamental. In the classroom, we can encourage this same curiosity beyond academic content. The WPCA recognises students who question their own perceived limits to accomplish goals – big and small.
Culture Essential 3: Pride
I can immediately tell when I’m at a company with a great culture because the people I meet are proud to be there. It seems to be at organisations where staff share an underlying mission. When I spoke at the Pita Pit conference, I noticed their shared pride straight away. Everyone there got behind the idea of providing a fresh, healthy alternative to fast food. What is the shared mission in your classroom that everyone can feel proud to contribute to? In the WPCA, it is exploring, new places, relationships and skills, and we make a big effort to recognise and celebrate progress.
Culture Essential 4: Empowerment
I’ve noticed that allowing staff to work autonomously and with more flexibility is a popular theme in the businesses I’ve addressed. One of the reasons it’s so important is because it contributes to creativity. At Bauer Media group, creativity is vital to their success, and it’s due in no small part to people being empowered to chase new ideas. Ensuring students have agency in their own learning and see it as a partnership with their teacher has a real impact on classroom culture. We’ve found that the mix of small, self-determined goals and bigger, more long-term goals is an aspect of the WPCA that is both empowering and gives kids huge satisfaction.
For both corporates and classrooms, a positive culture is essential to success. From the insights I’ve gathered on my journey, the ingredients above will help your team or class enjoy accomplishing exciting things together. Happy exploring!