Bunch: Team Culture As A Managed Asset

Most successful leaders would agree that team culture is a key factor in organizational performance. It is surprising then, that team culture is one of the largest unmangaged corporate assets globally.  Research from Deloitte (1) found that:

87 percent of organizations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges, and 50 percent call the problem “very important.”

A recent McKinsey & Company study (2) identified culture as the most significant barrier to digital effectiveness, stating that:

Risk aversion, weak customer focus, and siloed mind-sets have long bedeviled organizations. In a digital world, solving these cultural problems is no longer optional.

Obviously, this is a significant issue for organizations – and that’s why I’m I’m excited about Bunch.ai. They’re meshing the organizational psychology models that Standford developed together with Apple with next-generation NLP (natural language processing) and machine-learning based predictive modelling techniques to predict company cultural priorities and alignments based on various inputs. This is important because there is statistically significant evidence showing that teams that are highly aligned on cultural priorities perform better financially and can grow faster (3).

Tools like this will be relevant for more than 1 Bn people in the next few years (4), so this is a significant market opportunity that needs a sophisticated product to meet the growing need. The MVP of Bunch’s tool, a survey based implementation of their technology aimed at hiring managers, was a great start, bringing on customers like N26 Bank and Frauenhofer Society, but it’s what they’re launching today that is really groundbreaking.

The Bunch MVP allowed people to see team priorities and how individuals were aligned to that.

Predictive analytics around social and cultural factors are a tricky beast, so much so that there are only a few projects that have successfully demonstrated results in this field (Cambridge Analytica and Apply Magic Sauce), and until now, none specifically focussed on predicting cultural priorities.

That changes today. Bunch’s new Communication Analytics module is now live, and as of right now, teams can plug in their open Slack channel data (no private message access needed) and track their alignment over time on 6 important cultural factors based on the aforementioned Standford models:

  • Adaptable
  • Collaborative,
  • Customer-orientated,
  • Results-oriented,
  • Principled,
  • Detail-oriented

Bunch allows team members to understand their team’s priorities, and track their own alignment as well, which makes this a huge leap forward for HR management. Bunch empowers teams to anaylze and improve their own performance, rather than being diagnosed from above.

Over time analysis is now possible.

Bunch has also curated a collection of “culture hacks” from successful companies like Apple, Zappos, AirBnB and Slack, and is able to recommend these based on the analysis of team performance. Does it seem that team Adaptability scores are low? Bunch will recommend exercises to help the team become more flexible. Customer-centricity falling by the wayside? How about a persona workshop to get the team back on track?

Of course, this is just the first step. The team will be adding further inputs, such as CultureAmp, GitHub, Trello, and Jira, to combine culture and productivity data, so that teams are able to see what cultural factors are helping them succeed, and which factors need to be managed to mitigate risks. Long term, Bunch and similar companies will be able to help teams self-improve, freeing up management resources for more strategic problems, and improving automony, workplace satisfaction, and overall, company performance. This is the start of a brave new world, and I for one am keen to see where it’s headed!

Links

(1) Culture and Engagement: the naked organization, Deloitte

(2) McKinsey & Company, 2017

(3) Parsing organizational culture: How the norm for adaptability influences the relationship between culture consensus and financial performance in high tech firms

(4) Zion Market Research, 2017

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