<img alt="" src="https://secure.intelligentdatawisdom.com/782204.png" style="display:none;">

In the age of generative artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and other powerful technologies, digital transformation in the business world continues to change how work gets done.

Along with greater productivity and improved results also comes a new way of thinking about work — and, like the tools of digital transformation, the roots trace to the Silicon Valley.

The so-called “4 Geek Norms” of speed, ownership, science, and openness emphasize building company culture on company norms instead of organizational structure. Doing so allows space for doing the work digital tools enable in a culture that supports innovation, job autonomy, and continuous value creation.

At the heart of the Geek Norms lie adaptability and flexibility that can be applied to any business situation, with employee ownership and ESOPs being a particularly good fit.

Why? The principles of the norms and ESOP culture mirror each other in fundamental ways. Here, we’ll take a closer look at how employee ownership culture and values can align with these emerging expectations for doing business.

Geek Norm 1: Speed — Innovate, iterate, and adjust for best results

Much like Silicon Valley teams emphasize rapid development and deployment, employee owners who have a sense of urgency around problem solving are committed to taking action. That action may lead “back to the drawing board,” but iteration is viewed as progress, not a mistake. Informed decisions support continuous innovation and better results.

Likewise, employee owners understand that their ESOP investment is a long game. Improving on current processes and practices is a solution now and an investment in the future. Working in a culture wherein clear connections can be drawn between contributions to the greater good of the company and their future wealth accumulation promotes longevity and loyalty.

Geek Norm 2: Ownership — Account for individual contributions to the team

Job autonomy drives a sense of ownership, both in actions and accountability to the team. While people work independently, no one works in a silo and no work is superfluous. Each person has a stake in the outcome.

Contributing to the team’s success by accepting responsibility for achieving individual goals furthers the company’s objectives. It also encourages employees to truly think and act like owners — an ESOP cornerstone.

Geek Norm 3: Science — Embrace science and technology as performance tools

Science and technology evolve rapidly. The digital transformation could not have taken place without Silicon Valley professionals relying on empirical data to guide decisions. It’s quite often the same case with ESOPs.

Leveraging digital tools helps teams work faster, smarter, and in closer alignment. These efficiencies boost performance and foster a culture of purpose-driven performance. Technologies such as generative AI also engage employees by challenging them to think critically and consider alternative solutions. Empowering employee owners rewards them immediately through job satisfaction — as well as in the long term, as ESOP stock values rise.

Geek Norm 4: Openness — Seek transparency and develop a cadence for information sharing

Being open to objectively analyze and routinely share information is imperative for any collaboration and team-based culture. Without a back-and-forth flow of data and details, little is often accomplished efficiently or productively. Bottlenecks can lead to frustration, and frustration to a potential breakdown of trust that is counterproductive to optimized performance and desired outcomes.

On the other hand, when lines of communication are open, the stereotypical organizational hierarchy flattens somewhat. Work is more collaborative, and decision-making is part of the group process. Following a transparent information-sharing norm can accelerate company performance while giving team members a voice in the solution, positioning employee-owners as valued and vital to the company’s growth.

The 4 Geek Norms all share practicality in thought and action. They underpin a business model focused on performance and, by extension, an ESOP culture of continuous improvement and value creation for both employee-owners and the company and a larger organization.

If you’re new to ESOPs, you can connect the principles of the Geek Norms with what management and leadership may look like with insights from What to Expect After the Transition to an ESOP Company. Download your copy now.

New call-to-action

Subscribe Now