The Customer-Driven Culture: A Microsoft Story

Book description

If you’re striving to make products and services that your customers will love, then you’ll need a customer-driven organization. As companies transform their businesses to meet the demands of the digital age, they find themselves grappling with uniquely human challenges. Organizational knowledge becomes siloed, employees move to safeguard their expertise, and customer data creates polarization and infighting between teams. All of these challenges widen the distance between the people who make your products and the customers who use them.

To meet today’s challenges, companies need to do more than build processes for customer-driven products. They need to create a customer-driven culture.

With the help of his friend and mentor Monty Hammontree, Travis Lowdermilk takes readers through the cultural transformation of the Developer Division at Microsoft. This book shows readers how to "hack" their culture and reduce the distance between them and their customers’ needs. It’s a uniquely personal story that’s told amidst a cultural revolution at one of the largest software companies in the world.

This story acts as your guide. You’ll learn how to:

  • Establish a Common Language: Help employees change their thinking and actions
  • Build Bridges, Not Walls: Treat product building as a team sport
  • Encourage Learning Versus Knowing: Help your team understand their customers
  • Build Leaders That Build Your Culture: Showcase star employees to inspire others
  • Meet Teams Where They Are: Make it easy for teams to to adopt vital behavior changes
  • Make Data Relatable: Move beyond numbers and focus on empathizing with customers

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Table of contents

  1. How This Book Came to Be: A Note from Travis
  2. Preface
    1. The Hypothesis Progression Framework
    2. Who Is This Book For?
    3. How Will This Book Help Me?
    4. How Is This Book Organized?
    5. What If I Don’t Work at a Company Like Microsoft?
    6. Should I Read The Customer-Driven Playbook First?
    7. What If I’m Not a Manager or in a Leadership Role?
    8. O’Reilly Online Learning
    9. How to Contact Us
  3. 1. Building a Foundation for Change
    1. About the Developer Division at Microsoft
    2. The Culture Room
    3. The Foundations of Transformation
    4. What Is a Customer-Driven Culture?
      1. Live Share: An Example of the Customer-Driven Approach
    5. The Three Vital Behaviors of Culture Change
    6. Hacking Your Culture
    7. Pursuing Purpose
    8. Diversity and Inclusion
    9. Fight and Unite
    10. Zero Distance
  4. 2. Establish a Common Language
    1. How Language Binds Us Together
    2. Change the Language
    3. Use Language to Change the Thinking
    4. Use Language to Change the Actions
    5. Use Language to Change the Values
    6. Consider a Language of Positivity
    7. Agents of Change: Monique and Jerry Sternin
    8. Use the Hypotheses for Exploring Cultural Initiatives
    9. Be Mindful of Everyday Language
    10. Applying the Hack
  5. 3. Build Bridges, Not Walls
    1. Giving Away Your Expertise
    2. Who Owns the Voice of the Customer?
    3. Sharing Knowledge in DevDiv
    4. Build Great Products by Improving Both Sides of the Glass
    5. Agents of Change: Carmen Medina
    6. Pushing for Transparency
    7. The Value of a Generalist
    8. Cross-Pollinators
    9. Finding Match Quality
    10. Applying the Hack
  6. 4. Encourage Learning Versus Knowing
    1. Agents of Change: Margo
    2. The Importance of Acknowledging Mistakes
    3. Celebrate Learning, Not Failure
      1. Example Scenario: Learning versus Failure
    4. Lead with Questions, Not Answers
    5. Be a Multiplier
    6. Creating the Space to Learn
    7. Break the Script
    8. Yes, and…
    9. Applying the Hack
  7. 5. Build Leaders That Build Your Culture
    1. Model, Coach, Care
    2. Agents of Change: Julia Liuson
    3. Celebrating the Vital Behaviors
    4. Scripting the Vital Behaviors
    5. Do Less, Then Obsess
    6. Demonstrate Your Values Through Belonging Cues
      1. Example Scenario: Adriana’s First Day
      2. The Importance of Belonging Cues
      3. How Belonging Cues Influence Your Organization
    7. Take Advantage of Key Moments
      1. An Example of How DevDiv Scripts Belonging Cues
    8. Rethinking How We Interview New Candidates
      1. Epiphany 1: Our Interview Questions Didn’t Reflect Our Values
      2. Epiphany 2: Not Everyone Does Their Best Work in Fast-Paced, High-Pressure Situations
      3. Epiphany 3: The Best Way to See How Someone Works Is to Work with Them
    9. Applying the Hack
  8. 6. Meet Teams Where They Are
    1. Agents of Change: Dr. Wiwat Rojanapithayakorn
    2. Be Passionately Pragmatic
      1. Encouraging Pride of Ownership
    3. Autonomy and Mastery
    4. Just-in-Time Coaching
    5. Find the Quickest Pathways to Learn
    6. Empathize with Your Enemies
      1. Agents of Change: Volpi Foods
    7. Melting the “Frozen Middle”
    8. Use Their Energy and Push for Positivity
      1. Redirecting Behavior
    9. Make Change Digestible
      1. Types of Radicals
    10. Embrace Existing Tools
    11. Meet Your Customers Where They Are
    12. Applying the Hack
  9. 7. Make Data Relatable
    1. Agents of Change: Rescuing the Wild Boars Football Team
    2. The Power of Story on the Brain
    3. Inspiring Others to Action
      1. The Impact Ladder
    4. How Stories Affect Our Brains
    5. The Patterns of a Great Story
      1. Simplicity
      2. Unexpectedness
      3. Concreteness
      4. Credibility
      5. Emotions
    6. Using Metaphors to Make Your Ideas Accessible
    7. Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them
      1. Consider the Medium
    8. Vivid Stories Are Directly Proportional to Vivid Interviews
    9. Applying the Hack
  10. 8. Measuring Change
    1. “Multiplier Metrics” Versus “Diminisher Metrics”
    2. Objectives and Key Results
    3. Metrics and Customer Feedback
      1. Gathering Employee Feedback
      2. The Cultural Heartbeat
    4. Measure the Vital Behaviors
    5. Measure Employee Moments
    6. Applying the Hack
  11. 9. In Conclusion
    1. The Three Vital Behaviors
    2. Hack #1: Establish a Common Language
    3. Hack #2: Build Bridges, Not Walls
    4. Hack #3: Encourage Learning versus Knowing
    5. Hack #4: Build Leaders That Build Your Culture
    6. Hack #5: Meet Teams Where They Are
    7. Hack #6 Make Data Relatable
    8. Thank You
    9. References
    10. Photo Credit
  12. A. Appendix
    1. Books You Should Read
    2. Useful Maxims
      1. Hack #1: Use a Common Language
      2. Hack #2: Build Bridges, Not Walls
      3. Hack #3: Encourage Learning versus Knowing
      4. Hack #4: Build Leaders That Build Your Culture
      5. Hack #5: Meet Teams Where They Are
      6. Hack #6: Make Data Relatable
  13. Index

Product information

  • Title: The Customer-Driven Culture: A Microsoft Story
  • Author(s): Travis Lowdermilk, Monty Hammontree
  • Release date: March 2020
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781492058717