Before reading the book Deliberately Developmental Organisations 18 months ago, I was unaware of NextJump.
I had the pleasure of attending a NextJump culture tour in London on Friday 26th Jan 2018.
When deciding whether or not I should write a blog as a superb review of NextJump and their culture has already been done at https://magazine.charliehr.com/next-jump-ddo/ by https://twitter.com/JoinCharlie I thought yes, why not – different perspectives/context of the same tour I am sure could be helpful.
Wiktoria & Miranda commenced the tour by introducing themselves and asking all attendees to introduce themselves. The mix of people and organisations in attendance included start-ups, public sector, independent consultants, education and heavy industry across roles such as L&D, HR, strategy and technology showing just how interesting and diverse the journey towards becoming a DDO could & would be. No major discussion around metrics in sight, all about the culture.
The walking tour takes place across 3 main rooms, each of which has a variety of pictures and/or timelines outlining the journey of NextJump to date.
Wiktoria led the introduction in the first room around the company’s journey to date.
What I found personally impressive was all of the colleagues openness to talk about failure, when they struggled and how they came through those struggles as a unit.
@NxJ_Miranda led us around the other 2 rooms as she openly talked about the fact that her ‘backhand’ or development areas are to increase her public speaking skills and to develop improved vulnerability. The very fact she could voice this in front of 30 or so strangers to communicate this was, in itself, very impressive.
One key facet of their culture that has helped them grow exponentially (from $250m to > $2bn) is that they moved from core values to a simplified mantra, in conjunction with Simon Sinek, of “better me + better you = better us.”
This mantra directly supports NextJump’s Massive Transformational Purpose (MVP) of “change the world by changing workplace culture.” This resonated strongly me following learning about this (MTP) in @salimismail book Exponential Organisations (ExOs)
Further evidence of NextJumps ExO credentials is that they have grown 10X but without increasing their headcount significantly (still around 200 people globally)
Having recently finished the book Tribal Leadership, I found it absolutely fascinating to learn aspects of NextJump’s tribal language such as:
- ‘Practice Ground’ – A safe area for colleagues to practice their ‘backhand’ or development areas before they go out to pitch or work with clients externally
- ‘Personal Leadership Bootcamp’ – Situational workshops to aid the recruitment process with NextJump have a ‘no firing policy’ which is pretty unique but of course would not necessarily work for all organisations. This was actually born out of the fact that without a HR department, it is everyone’s job to do HR which did historically lead to some issues in the past around fear
- ‘Talking Partners’ – Every colleague that joins NextJump picks a ‘talking partner’ or TP. This reminds me of the Menlo ‘pair system’ that I know https://twitter.com/PerryTimms holds in high regard. New colleagues are supported to ‘date’ as many TPs as possible to find the best person to help one another grow
- ‘GAS’ – Simply Give a Shit! i.e. don’t watch other people struggling, get involved and help them out (again simple but such a powerful cultural trait)
NextJump operates as a very clear stage 4 tribal organisation, often, I am sure, entering stage 5 of “innocent wonderment.”
One of my favourite and most succinct messages from the tour came in the following image. For some time there has been talk about the ‘future of work’ or ‘workforce of the future’ being so much different to the command and control structures of the past, but this clarity around decisions being moved from the few to everyone is key. It reinforces the messaging of https://twitter.com/ldavidmarquet and his ‘intent-based leadership’ – i.e. push decision making to those who have the information.
Towards the end of the tour, Miranda explained that the company truly values and expects every colleague to ‘bring their whole self to work.’ This statement should not be underestimated.
The ability to bring your self, your whole self without fear, to work comes across authentically and passionately from the NextJump team.
Words such as humility, adaptability innovation and creativity are used regularly in the tour which as many which we may know fit under critical character & competency skills for the future world of work, especially as technology continues at accelerating rates. This message is well referenced in the following World Economic Forum article:
Finally it was great to finally meet UK MD Tarun https://twitter.com/tarungidoomal who is leading what I can only describe as a progressive, balanced, exciting and authentic organisation.
If the world can adopt and embrace more NextJump -esque approaches to culture and people centric work design, the current levels of productivity and disengagement that we see regularly reported has a very real chance of changing, but we as individuals as much as our organisations, need to pick up the mantel and challenge our current, often, out of date work practices and cultures.
I am deeply passionate about learning, sharing and growing into the new world of work and look forward to connecting with others, known and unknown today, as that journey unfolds.
The future is looking very, VERY exciting and I recommend anyone to attend a NextJump culture tour. They are deeply impressive and inspiring.