Keeping with the Theme of Culture #BCSLearns

How does Asana, a workplace-productivity management company founded by former Facebookers and Googlers, create a culture of shorter hours, intense collaboration, and lots of time for reflection?  In the article from Fast Company, How Asana Built the Best Company Culture in Tech, Taylor Lorenz explains how: “The company is built on the idea that mindfulness, clear communication, and compassion are all critical to long-term success. Asana has become known for its radically inclusive, positive work environment.” 

Core Values of Asana include:

  • healthy work-life balance
  • inclusiveness
  • embracing mindfulness and equanimity
  • taking responsibility and
  • always communicating openly and honestly

How did the build this culture and how do they sustain it?  It’s simple, “We decided to treat culture as a product,” states co-founder Justin Rosenstein.  In effect, he and his partner, Dustin Moskovitz, take the approach that I also firmly believe is flawed thinking –  the belief that culture is something that will just happen and take care of itself based on the good people we hire.  At Asana, culture is “carefully designed, tested, debugged, and iterated on, like any other product they released.”  Culture is indeed something that needs to be nurtured.

Key questions to elicit feedback:

  1. What’s working well?
  2. What isn’t working well?

Do you think BCS could offer some of those Asana “top-notch perks”?

  • Free meals and snacks
  • its own in-house cook
  • new employees are given $10,000 to set up their own customized workspace
  • a row of treadmill desks
  • a game area
  • squishy chairs to relax in
  • in-house yoga sessions
  • access to a life coach.

Oh, well.  Maybe not most of these, but we certainly can attend to many of the other strategies that promote a positive culture.

The article end with Rosenstein’s poignant quote, “Companies that are succeeding with a more mercenary model are succeeding in spite of it, not because of it.”

Yes, indeed! Let me be reminded of my leadership values:

  • Advocate on behalf of our students
  • Have an orientation toward continuous improvement
  • Be of service to others

All while maintaining, what Jim Collins describes in his book Good to Great, a paradoxical blend of professional will and personal humility.

Below is a video of Dustin Moskovitz speaking about…

  • transparency
  • accountability
  • reflection, learning mindfulness
  • leverage your talent

…Or the video below that where he’s interviewed about his notion to “Work less to be more productive”


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