Why Perks Aren’t Company Culture

“When you start developing a product or a company you never know if it’s going to work or what’s going to work. But you do know what you want to do and how you want to do it. So do that. And when (not if) that doesn’t work, do something different and try again. Repeat until something good happens. Then, and only then, should you look back and consider what you did that worked and find ways to reinforce that behavior.”

Turnover … a potential indicator of longevity?

I think there’s a lot of lottery-playing going on right now. Companies staffing up, raising a bunch of money, hiring a bunch of people, and burning them out in the hopes that they’ll hit the lottery. …all you have to do is read TechCrunch. Look at what the top stories are, and they’re all about raising money, how many employees they have, and these are metrics that don’t matter. What matters is: Are you profitable? Are you building something great? Are you taking care of your people? Are you treating your customers well? In the coverage of our industry as a whole, you’ll rarely see stories about treating customers well, about people building a sustainable business. …I don’t know what percentage of tech companies have been around 30 years.

User centric change management

I had the privilege to work on a succession of projects relating to the staff experience at my time at Different. My colleague Christian LaFrance presented some of the learnings from these projects and a few others undertaken by the team at the recent Service Design Network Global Conference in Paris (28-30 October, 2012) and he has shared his presentation on Slideshare. Many of these projects involved a participatory design approach to achieve change that took employee needs into account and that was employee led.

Letting people go: quick versus slow. Lessons from the Media Industry

When Eddie McGuire was forced to axe 100 staff from Channel Nine – barely a few months into his new role as CEO – he decided to give it to them straight.Unfortunately, his HR department had other plans.Instead of letting him sit down and talk with each unlucky worker, they made him read a scripted statement to them. He was also advised not to answer their questions. … “It was a disaster . . . the worst thing I did,” McGuire confessed to his Triple M listeners last week. “These HR people come in, they have their set plays – and they never work.”

Innovation is about arguing, not brainstorming.

“the idea behind brainstorming is right. To innovate, we need environments that support imaginative thinking, where we can go through many crazy, tangential, and even bad ideas to come up with good ones. We need to work both collaboratively and individually. We also need a healthy amount of heated discussion, even arguing. We need places where someone can throw out a thought, have it critiqued, and not feel so judged that they become defensive and shut down. Yet this creative process is not necessarily supported by the traditional tenets of brainstorming: group collaboration, all ideas held equal, nothing judged.