18 Nov 2020

The Herd: international, remote ‘workers’ maintain a winning culture

There exists a strong causal relationship between culture and productivity.

“Strong productivity is the result of many things, but at its foundation is a winning culture,” says Todd Davis, chief people officer for FranklinCovey and author of the new book, Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work.

According to Davis, “The greater the culture, the more productive people will be, because they are engaged. Human beings excel when they are happy and doing what they enjoy. And when they excel, they produce.”

But recent data suggests that more employees will be working from home once the COVID-19 pandemic is over as more employers report that their staff can effectively do their jobs remotely. The three major tech companies – Dropbox, Twitter and Square – all announced they would be letting employees work remotely forever.

So how will organizations maintain their cultures when employees no longer meet face to face? Perhaps they can learn from online communities that have long been experimenting with remote-motivation and cooperation.

In this podcast, I interview Cori Chesnutt and Marius Midtskogen, two leaders of The Herd, an online cycling community utilizing the Zwift exercise/game platform. In just a few years, the Herd community has grown to almost 10,000 individuals from almost every continent, each exercising remotely at home, but cooperating together while pursuing individual goals. More importantly, they seem to have created a culture that revolves around 3rd gear values of empathy, kindness and tolerance.

We discuss:

– “How did you create the Herd culture?”
– “Who is the typical candidate to join the Herd?”
– “How do you identify and coach future Herd leaders?”
– “What behaviors can negatively impact Herd culture and how do you deal with this?”
– “What are examples of Gears 1, 2 & 3 on Zwift?”
– “Moderators can’t monitor everyone, so what helps create an ‘employee-owned’ culture?”

From the Podcast:

“I think we have a good group of people who remember where they came from. The leaders used to be the touchpoints in all online discussions, but now the group has seemed to take on that activity.”

– Cori

“I think the people in the Herd know not to take on the stance of elitism. I also know that experienced and strong riders also need some encouragement.”

– Marius



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