Cultural Brilliance: The DNA of Organizational Excellence
With Host Claudette Rowley – Transformation Talk Radio – Every 2nd & 4th Friday 10 AM (PT)/1 PM (ET)
“Transforming Culture From The Ground Up” – With Special Guest Hung Pham
I had the pleasure of interviewing Hung Pham on my show Cultural Brilliance Radio. Hung is the founder of Culture Summit – the premiere conference on building company culture from the bottom up. Culture Summit has feature leaders from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and more. He is also a TEDx speaker, whereupon he shares his story on how embracing failure helped him to become an entrepreneur. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Hung Pham spent over ten years working in Silicon Valley at such companies as Sun Microsystems, Yahoo! And Cisco Systems.
Below is an article written by the Conscious Business Radio team about the show.
Cultural Brilliance helps you experience groundbreaking ways to transform your company’s culture. Host Claudette Rowley invites some of the foremost experts on organizational culture to help understand how to make a brilliant culture the rule rather than the exception.
Claudette had the opportunity to speak with Hung Pham, founder of Culture Summit.
Speaking with Hung about the creation of Culture Summit, he explains that it started when he was trying to solve his own challenges with his engagement in his career. After years of frustration and slow disengagement, he simply couldn’t tie what he was doing into the company’s overall mission. Hung says he didn’t really know what the word culture meant – it had never crossed him mind. But, as he explains – he couldn’t wait for change or wait for the solution…he had to go out there and try to create the change or build the solution for himself. So, after researching and reaching out to others experiencing the same struggle, he moved forward and started the conference. Hence, in 2014 Culture Summit was born.
Claudette and Hung also discussed some of the challenges Hung faced when starting Culture Summit. One of the issues he faced was trying to determine who to invite, who would benefit the most? Hung explains that he spoke to some company founders, asking them, “Where does culture rank on your list of priorities?” Many of them said it was important, but that making payroll, keeping the lights on, sales, etc. was far more important. As one of the founders stated, “I wouldn’t have the time to go, but I would send someone in my place.” Hung says that was lightbulb moment for him – how it could be anyone inside a company (not just founders) who could make a decision on culture, on building culture. Claudette agrees on this being a pivotal moment – the day he spoke to those founders, companies, and how it opened the door to finding the right people to attend the conference.
Another point Claudette and Hung talked about is the holistic aspect of Culture Summit. In addition to more international people participating, Hung says that they are seeing a wide range of companies, which shows how much they’ve grown, in size and in diversity. When people share their success stories, it’s not just about how they’ve helped transform culture in their companies, it’s also that they’ve found their dream job because of Culture Summit.
When Claudette asks about which issues and topics Culture Summit chooses to address, Hung explains that every year they survey the community and ask them about the challenges they’re facing and which topics they’d like to learn about. They use this to help source speakers and subsequent topics. One of the biggest issues that Hung has noticed, from this year and the previous one, is how do we scale culture? For many companies in our community that are growing rapidly and hiring at a fast pace, the challenge becomes trying to maintain the intimate culture they have, with the rapid growth. The second biggest issue is how to get leadership to buy in. This is particularly difficult with older companies/leaders that might not believe in investing in culture, as well as younger leaders that may not understand the importance of it.
As Claudette and Hung wrap up the interview, Claudette says she is sure that people are relieved to hear that they have a place to go – where they can be a part of a community on culture. She explains that in a way, company culture is like the culture of a family, they’re all unique. There’s not going to be a one size fits all solution. However, all the different perspectives from people at different levels and industries is wonderful, because culture is truly a business priority for everyone. Build a culture that you want to work in. Everyone’s voice counts and matters no matter where you are.