Jimmy Donaldson (a.k.a. MrBeast) owns the 26th most watched YouTube channel in the world. From a distance, he could appear to be an 'overnight success' but nothing could be further from the truth. It took him 7 YEARS of posting videos to earn just $1 per day and today he earns almost $150,000 per day. How did he do it?
In an interview with Joe Rogan, Donaldson said, "We’d take a thousand thumbnails, and see if there was a correlation between the brightness of the thumbnail and how many views it got, or videos that get over 10M views, how often do they cut the camera angles? Things like that…"
How could Donaldson instill his culture of "lunacy" (his word!) into others? He built processes.
Wait, how can you even utter the words "culture" and "process" together? Process lives in the world of technology and standardization, while culture thrives in the realm of people and behaviors, right?
We would argue that process is the most critical way to make a company's differentiating behaviors "copyable" so it can scale. This lesson came to life recently while we were working with the leadership team of a company experiencing dynamic growth. Their growth was based on the founding team's ability to deliver exceptional customer service and personalized expertise.
As the founding team moved into management roles, a problem surfaced: How could we transmit the unique behaviors that felt second nature to the founders to other team members? We struggled with issues like communicating with a customer about an ongoing project, integrating a new team member, and preparing a crew for the next day.
Telling team members to "communicate better," "try harder," or "pay more attention" were not only unhelpful but even frustrating and demotivating. Instead, we recognized the need for a focused effort to break down these seemingly "natural behaviors" into step-by-step processes. Through repeated practice, we made them accessible and repeatable.
If you're struggling with the concept of using process to scale core cultural behaviors, think about other environments like learning a musical instrument, developing artistic skills, or mastering a sport. In all these cases, step-by-step practice of basic skills is essential before they become instinctive and "natural" abilities.
Want to use process to replicate your culture? First, reflect on the activities and behaviors your team excels at on its "best day" (i.e. your desired culture). Then, start thinking of creative ways to break them down into a step-by-step way of doing them so you can share them...maybe in a YouTube video with MrBeast!