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Leading & Sustaining Culture in the Hybrid Workplace with David Evans (Ep. #51)

The BetterManager Team
Building Better Managers Podcast Episode 51 - David Evans

Building Better Managers Podcast Episode #51: Leading & Sustaining Culture in the Hybrid Workplace with David Evans

The hybrid workplace is here to stay. And with it, leaders and organizations must become more adept at creating and nurturing culture with people and teams working from everywhere.

On our latest episode, we welcome David Evans to the Building Better Manager podcast.

David has coached tech leaders and their teams for over 15 years, from startups to Fortune 100s. As the Head of Talent Experience at Amplitude, he’s currently supporting the growth of high-performing teams and scaling company culture in fresh, uniquely effective ways that can give you insight and ideas to bring back to your own organization.

In this episode:

Meet David Evans

  • David Evans designs playful experiences and equitable processes that challenge and grow people. David has coached tech leaders and their teams for over 15 years, from startups to Fortune 100s, through capital raisings, M&A transactions, and public listings.
  • Prior to becoming a coach, David was Founder & CEO of 2 tech companies, which resulted in 1 exit and a 9-figure acquisition deal that went south; life's an adventure! David is currently the Head of Talent Experience at Amplitude, supporting the growth of high-performing teams and scaling company culture as the business scales. David's biggest and most important growth challenge so far: co-parenting 2 young kids.

Hybrid Workplace Challenges

  • The culture at Amplitude initially grew and was distributed from person to person, like most in-person workplaces. So it was easy for people to see, "this is what great leadership looks like here."
  • The pandemic accelerated the fact that we can't get that for "free" anymore. Culture has to be distributed in different, proactive ways.
  • We needed to start embedding our culture into all the systems and processes that each team member would encounter from the moment they get hired through their entire employee lifecycle.
  • Leadership is at the center of that, l leaders show the way and set the tone for how people show up, and how they perform.
  • We used to have a cross-functional lunches in person - go to a restaurant with a dozen or so other folks from other functions, which doesn't really work virtually!
  • Something like "coffee buddies" does work virtually! It doesn't involve going to get coffee, it's about making personal connections, hearing things that you wouldn't normally hear working in separate places, getting perspectives that you would previously have gotten int he physical workplace

What Are the Benefits?

  • Amplitude has three main goals for the new leadership framework.
  • One was that we it was something that we could all align around as leaders. We know and agree to what is representative of our culture now, and representative of where we need our culture to go as we scale the business.
  • Number two was measurable. Amplitude helps companies build better products through data and we're very data-driven in our decision making. We want to make sure that our leadership framework is measurable. We base the measurement on our company's competency set - there was a lot of data around demonstrating the efficacy of that that competency set.
  • BetterManager uses the competencies from Google, it's an example of a data set data backed leadership framework.
  • Thirdly, we wanted it also to be a framework for growing people. There's no point in having these kind of abstract concepts about leadership if they're not actionable! That was one of the big insights in developing the framework, we started out with these kinds of abstract nouns, like "service" for example, and transformed them into active phrases like "walk our talk" and "disagree and commit". Actions and behaviors that people can take and practice in their daily interactions.
  • We've been using it in our leadership development programs - we have three key programs at the moment, one for individual contributors, one for folks who have recently been promoted to a people-manager position, and then the newest program, with which we collaborated with BetterManager, is our Senior Leadership Development program. This is about helping folks grow from Senior Manager to the Director level.
  • We're embedding the leadership framework into all of our key processes. Starting with hiring, we're hiring someone who meets both our cultural expectations and competency expectations for the level that we're hiring, setting expectations for what a first line manager looks like, what a VP looks like, etc.
  • Performance management is built around promoting people again. We hold promotion calibration sessions every 6 months. As  as we scale, if there's a change in the potential promotions for management level, the expectations are kept very current & realistic, and that's extremely effective.
  • The leadership framework drives the decisions that we're making around talent.

Takeaways

  • Taking care of people is taking care of business. Especially in tech, intellectual property, your people create all of the value. Y have to take care of them because that, by proxy, takes care of your business's success.
  • Values and focus have to be in the right place. Too many companies focus strictly on "productivity". If we have are caring and engaging and appreciate people for what their strengths are and what they bring to the table and help them grow, that's how we are more productive together.

Downloads & Resources

Follow David on LinkedIn here and on his website DavidPhillipEvans.com.

Subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform!

Check out our blog articles on Leadership here.

David Evans

David Evans designs playful experiences and equitable processes that challenge and grow people. David has coached tech leaders and their teams for over 15 years, from baby startups to Fortune 100s, through capital raisings, M&A transactions, and public listings.

Prior to becoming a coach, David was Founder & CEO of 2 tech companies, which resulted in 1 exit and a 9-figure acquisition deal that went south; life's an adventure! David is currently the Head of Talent Experience at Amplitude, supporting the growth of high-performing teams and scaling company culture as the business scales. David's biggest and most important growth challenge so far: co-parenting 2 young kids.