How would you describe your company's corporate culture? "Engineering"? "Data-driven"? "Consensus-driven"? There are a lot of ways to describe a culture, but if you're not including "user-focused" or even "customer-focused" as a core part of what your culture is about, you might have a big problem.
I recently had the interesting challenge of helping two
customers build and mature their UX capabilities at right around the same time. One company was a huge Fortune 100 company. The other was a small company of about 150 employees. I'd describe the corporate culture of the first with words like "engineering", "manufacturing", "consensus driven", "slow", and "product first". I'd describe the corporate culture of the second one with terms like "fiercely customer-focused", "innovative", and "well-integrated."
One of the companies has succeeded in building a great UX team and a great UX culture at their organization. The other has not. One of the companies has doubled in size and is aggressively managing their growth. The other is trying to hold on. The bigger company, despite its vastly larger budgets and staff size just couldn't get UX to stick. It's one of my sadder experiences with a client. The smaller company, working with bootstrap budgets and a team of eager designers and developers, has made UX a core strategic focus of the company. I'm very proud of them.
Culture comes from two places at an organization - your "DNA" and your leadership. A big old company has well-established DNA. If a focus on users is not a key part of your DNA, then you have to be very intentional about changing that DNA to embrace UX. That's where leadership comes in. Culture changes typically happen from the top down. If you want to change your culture to embrace users, your leadership must support that vision and make it a priority. In my examples above, one company did and one company didn't.
Have any stories or thoughts to share? I'd love to
here from you