Today, I would like to ask you few questions about this beverage which can literally make or break a company culture. Reflecting on my personal experiences across multiple companies, I believe that we have a lot to learn from this simple drink.
Are you ready to challenge your perception?
Before ending up in our stomach, the coffee makes an incredible journey and we will start looking from the moment it enters the company premises.
Who is in charge of ordering or bringing the coffee in the company?
The purchase department
The office manager, HR assistant or accountant
Each employee brings his own coffee
Who actually pays for the coffee?
The company pays for all the employees
The office manager, HR assistant or accountant who then needs to get reimbursed by the company
Each employee pays for each drink at the coffee vending machine
Each employee pays for the coffee he brings
What type of coffee do you drink?
Nespresso pods that are only available through a dedicated supplier network
hhhmmm... What else?
Flat tissue bags coffee (e.g. Senseo)
Fair trade and organic coffee beans that get grinned in the machine
Coffee beans ingested and crapped by the "Kopi Luwak" - little cat-size animal who lives in Indonesia and exhausts the coffee bean taste. True story! Nearly 200€ for 100g of coffee beans.
Do you actively manage the coffee replenishment or does war begin when you run out of the black substance?
What type of mugs are used in the company?
Everyone brings his own mug and as a new employee you need to make sure you don't pick the wrong one and risk a diplomatic incident from day-1
Company branded ceramic or porcelaine mugs a.k.a we are from the same tribe
Recyclable carton cups
Single usage plastic cups
Does each mug is a mean of self-expression that each employee can proudly brag about and display on an open space desk? (e.g. Working hard! or Hardly working...)
The coffee area
How do you consider the coffee area? Is it a place for:
Sharing the latest gossips
Disconnecting from the crowd and relaxing while still being inside the company
Meeting other team members and start solving problems
Getting your job done without interruptions
Hiding when the day gets too long and motivation is low
Accessing a manager and informally dropping an important message or making a request
Or most of the above combined
The end of the coffee and mug journey
What happens when you finish your drink?
Do you put your plastic or carton cup in the correct recyclable bin if any?
Do you leave your ceramic or porcelaine mug on your desk and know that the cleaning person will dispose of it for you at night?
Do you leave your mug at your desk and know that it will be in the exact same position the next day with an added layer of dried up coffee at the bottom of it?
Do you leave your mug in the kitchen sink and avoid opening the dishwasher in case you would have to empty the clean dishes first?
Have the above questions and answers changed the way you see your company and the culture that shapes it?
In case the above resonates with you; your opportunity could lie in answering the following questions for your organisation:
What was designed on purpose?
What was brought randomly?
Which of the above match and do not match with "our way of doing business in here" (our culture)?
My first advice: never underestimate the power of the little things, watch for the clues and act on them.
Curious to hear your thoughts. Enjoy your next coffee cup and why not having one together.
Thank you for reading me.
Rudi - Your Transformation Couturier