Patterns of Life & Cutlure
The Culture Creators
Learning from the past of what not to do - Doug Bester

Learning from the past of what not to do - Doug Bester

Doug Bester, CEO of Sentient Computing, shares how his time in working in traditional engineering environments gave him a clear guide of what not to in creating a leading edge virtual reality company that draws on local talent within the computer gaming community.

Sentient Computing is a Perth-based software development company that specialises in providing powerful and immersive virtual environments particularly in the resource sector.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Music and other platforms

My key learning nuggets from the conversation:

  • Interesting comparison observation recognising the significant difference between older ‘traditional’ engineering culture and more modern workplace cultures

  • ‘traditional’ engineering culture provided a lot of evidence of what not to do – work people hard, extract the most out of every employee and project, soley focused on money at all costs

  • Traditional culture based on competitive, ‘one upmanship’ testosterone fuelled way of doing things is destructive to the wider culture and performance, particularly with its quick route to anger

  • Motivate a workforce on vision more than money

  • Any diversity in a high performing team is better and more creative – however not necessarily easier as there is a lot more conversations and communication involved

  • The transition to more discursive, more voices included, culture can be challenging

  • Culture of encouraging failure as this is where the leading edge is

  • Look at the company more holistically across projects and services rather than milk as much profit from each individual project – ‘the next project’ is the most important and building a trusted relationship with the client

  • Too much process and procedure can stifle creativity

  • Ensure teams understand their role in the culture is key to share the responsibility

  • Culture – if you can create a place where they enjoy being at work, then you’ve cracked it this includes encouraging:

    • Autonomy

    • Mastery

    • Vision

  • Also, actively asking employees what they want to do when they leave the company – thus creating a personal vision. Then create opportunities for each employee to work towards that. This can often support retention.

  • Everyone has a voice, but it must be clear that not everything will be acted upon

  • The leadership must have authentic care – very powerful

  • Culture is dynamic and an ongoing conversation

  • There is a link between mental health, authentic care and performance.

  • Many of the current workforce are anxious, often overtly so as opposed to the old school ‘bottle it up and carry on’, this transparency is a good thing despite being at odds with the more traditional ways of showing up to work.

  • Rather have an anxious person who is honest about their state rather than someone who bottles it up and at some point inevitably implodes

Patterns of Life & Cutlure
The Culture Creators
Culture holds a huge power to influence those within it. We read more and more about the impact of culture whether in business, government, sport clubs or communities. But still basic fundamental questions still remain unanswered: - What specifically makes one culture toxic and another buzzing with life? - How do you actually steer culture from one place to another and avoid regressing back? These are the questions that continue to challenge executives, leaders and those wanting to make real change in the world. These are the questions we explore in the Culture Creators podcast. The podcast features in depth interviews with business leaders, sports coaches, community leaders and others that either have previous experience of steering culture from one place to another or are currently in the thick of managing it today. The purpose of the Culture Creators podcast is to build a repository of case studies, expert points of view and real life examples so that we can: - better understand the mechanics and dynamics of this unseen, unaddressed and unaccounted for space that holds some much power to influence, and - develop our own individual capacity to proactively shape and steer the cultures that surround us. Please subscribe to join us on this fascinating journey and develop your own deeper frame of understanding of culture. Also please get involved by suggesting future guests that we all can learn from!!