October 7, 2022
Great cultures ,Hacks
Pamela Paul certainly doesn’t think so. This is a hilarious article on why it’s best if we just bring our work selves to work…
Do not “bring your whole self” to work.
That’s right! Defy the latest catchphrase of human resources and leave a good portion of you back home. Maybe it’s the part of you that’s grown overly attached to athleisure. The side that needs to talk about candy (guilty). It could be the getting-married part of you still agonizing over whether a destination wedding is morally defensible in These Times.
Leave those things behind and I promise: No one in your workplace will miss them. And remember, it works both ways. Anyone worth sharing a flex desk with is not someone you want to see every last ounce of either. They, too, can reserve their aches, grievances, flimsy excuses and noisy opinions for the roommate, the pandemic puppy and the houseplants.
As a culture speaker you might think I’d disagree. But I don’t. She makes a great argument for it.
And… there’s a missed opportunity.
Rather than bring your whole self, bring your future self.
Your future self is the person you want to become. And (most likely), your colleagues want to help you get there. That’s why we had an entire goals department at Zappos.
It’s a similar psychology to why NPS (Net Promoter Score) is better than CSAT (Customer Satisfaction). CSAT surveys focus on all the grievances of the past – Meaning it’s a complaint-fest. But NPS asks the consumer – How can this be better? It engages our imaginations.
When I lead my team at Zappos, we had a “dream wall” with images of everything each person wanted to experience or accomplish. And we would bring them up in our one-on-one meetings.
If we bring our future selves to work, we bond over what we actually want, rather than grievances and gossip.
May 25, 2022
Great cultures ,Hacks ,Hiring
“Adversity creates cohesion.”
That’s what Rob Angel said. He created the game Pictionary.
At one point their team had to work around the clock together to collate half a million cards. But during that time they talked and found out a lot about each other.
“We experienced pain together. That really cemented us and gave us the belief that we can overcome anything.”
That’s the same thing we felt after 4 weeks of Zappos training – showing up at 7am every day. And of course if you look up the Navy Seal training, you can see how their “hell week” of 200 miles of running, within 20 hours of physical training per day. And only 4 hours of sleep… for the entire week.
What can you do as a team to bond you in shared struggle?
March 31, 2022
Culture of Chaos ,Great cultures ,Hacks ,Productivity
In high performance companies, HR often has to remind people to take their time off because they spend so much time at work.
The problem is that these high performers see vacations as a luxury, as opposed to a productivity hack that helps the company.
Think about it this way – Do you usually get more or less done right before a vacation? A lot, right?
So if HR (or managers) proactively address this before burnout, it will make the individuals more productive.
So pull each person aside and say, “I’d like you to plan your vacation that you’ll take 3 months from now.” It will probably make them nervous, but explain to them that:
a) This will make them more productive so they will get things done before the vacation starts and
b) It helps the team because if anyone is so crucial they can’t even miss a week, then the team is not resilient. This forces the team to be resilient by making sure the operations are covered.
So go ahead, while it’s on your mind. Set up those meetings to ask people to proactively schedule their vacations.
February 2, 2021
Great cultures ,Hacks ,Tools
Now, at first this power tool may seem disappointing. Like if I told you I have the secret to weight loss and said, “Workouts.” But… there are workouts you dread and then there’s the Peloton experience with great music, instruction and a crowd. Same, but different.
So the power tool is the org chart. Yes, that incredibly boring outline that always seems to be out of date (that’s half the problem).
Typical org charts look like this:
Notice how dull and uninspiring it is. Why even look at it?
The reason we don’t is because it’s not actually useful. But the potential is huge. Why? Because the bigger the company gets, the more people get confused about who does what. Who has the authority? Who is the gatekeeper? Who has domain expertise?
Imagine you have a new idea, and you don’t even know whom to talk to about it.
Take a look at this map I did for my team at Zappos (and beyond the words, notice the feeling you have about it as you look at it). When my team saw it, it felt like a breath of fresh air.
The opportunity is to make it come alive in the following ways:
1. Use photos rather than names.
Using just a name and a title reduces people to letters. Humanize it.
2. Show actual roles and responsibilities
Titles are not only boring, they’re often not fully descriptive or they assume a lot of knowledge of the person reading it. Your people aren’t there to figure out the code of titles. They’re there to do the work. And this lack of information adds unnecessary friction.
3. Keep it up to date
I just consulted for one the world’s largest social media companies. I said a caveat to my recommendation when I said, “This may sound really ridiculous…” And I told them that for a company their size, having a full time org chart updater actually makes sense. This role goes beyond word and graphic updates. It takes a curious mind, a great communicator and an ability to connect people in various roles (like playing the game Memory).
For more on this see the chapter on “The Corporate Navigator” in my book, The Culture Blueprint: The Guide to the High Performance Workplace.
September 14, 2020
Great cultures ,Hacks ,Vision
Alignment is the name of the game, but as you may know from my book, The Culture Blueprint, you can’t force anyone or it will not work. Alignment is about a) making the vision clear and b) removing the obstacles to create a true option.
Here is how you do it:
I thought of this on the spot when I met with a leadership team that was arguing. I was amazed that the acronym spells my name.
Do you have a request of someone else on the team, or the entire team? The more specific the better. This can be for resources, permissions, or anything else.
Someone may feel they are undervalued and want to participate more. In this case they can offer time, people or resources to anyone else.
Do you have a boundary that is being crossed? This can be a limit in spending, or use of your team, or a policy or a principle.
3. Go Around the Table
Ask if each person is all-in. If they are, go to the next. If not, ask them to consider one of the following:
Once they do this, and the element is agreed upon by the respective person they address, you then ask again: Are you all-in?
This may take several rounds because new things can come up, or someone may have a new offer once they hear another’s request.
July 16, 2020
Hacks ,Personal Exploration
Ever since Simon Sinek spoke on the Power of Why, it’s been a phenomenon for companies and individuals to find their purpose by understanding not what they do, but why they do it.
I found the concept interesting, but not revealing. Until… I took a workshop with Chris Smith, the brilliant storyteller and founder of The Campfire Effect. He can hear your story once (in all its meanderings and half-points) and turn it into Hollywood gold (with no notes).
Chris said, “The real way to find your why is to look back on your life and notice when you said the words, ‘That’s when I realized….’”
It was like being given a key. I noticed that after every big breakthrough I had in my career over the past decade could be summed up as “That’s when I realized content doesn’t change people, experiences do.”
That was my aha after I discovered that Open Space could change organizations more than any consultant report. It was my aha after experimenting with a red tic tac to create a scene from the Matrix (and then became The Xpill).
My why is to create transformational experiences where people change themselves.