Do you have a healthy real-time culture?

If not, you’d better, according to Jay Baer. He wrote this great post about five signs that your culture is fit for prime-time in the new order of things.

Biggest takeaway? The need for speed. Having an aligned culture that embraces diversity, failure and new ideas means you fail fast, fail often and succeed even more. The most successful entrepreneurs I know constantly beat this drum: Fail fast, fail fast, FAIL FAST.

He also talks a lot about ensuring the culture permeates the organization. At the speed of business today, you don’t want to be taking a “time out” to correct employees who don’t understand the company brand, vision or reason for being. They need to embrace it and live it from Day One. I’ve often talked about brand being more than just “marketing’s job” and it’s never more true than in today’s business world. Think about it. Does a general on the battlefield really want to take the time to teach soldiers how to drive the tank, who the enemy is, and the mission’s purpose -  right as bombs are exploding all around? Heck no. Everyone needs to be primed before the mission even starts – and all marching to the beat of the same drummer.

Jay’s post also talks a bit about rewards. This is the delicious topic of Dan Pink’s book, Drive, and I highly recommend you pick it up if you have employees – or even partners you treat like employees. Money is not the only reward lever at your disposal and people are motivated in different ways, depending on their function. A real-time culture is all about efficiency and aerodynamics: the more you know about the best way to motivate different employees, the less time you can waste of rolling out incentives that get you nowhere fast. And with today’s complex jobs, more often than not incentives like autonomy, input and creativity are more striking and effective than a holiday bonus. I mean, no one pays contributors to Wikipedia yet people spend hours with no pay updating entries. For some roles, it’s about solving puzzles, doing things in a new way and getting credit.

Do you think your business is able to keep pace with today’s rate of change? If yes, why? If no, what one clear action can you take in 2011 to move a little closer to “real-time”?

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