Weekly ammo #10

Hello revolutionaries 🙂 Here’s the first update of 2013 – been a bit busy at NixonMcInnes getting the year kicked off, but in that time I’ve been collecting some nice links to share.

Pivoting a City: Can Startups Help More Than Themselves?

Interesting piece from The Atlantic about the possibility that start up ecosystems can substantially lift up or even turnaround a city, looking in particular at Pittsburgh, USA, where the steel mills collapsed and precipitated an unusually long-term restructuring.

Although the piece lacks real breadth or rigorous quantifiable evidence, it’s interesting to me with my Brighton / Wired Sussex hat on, thinking about the role of clusters and ecosystems on their cities, and I know that people like Indy Johar are working on some VERY interesting schemes in this area.

From a Culture Shock perspective, ‘can this stuff scale to cities?’ I guess is the question. I like that question!

Zaarly Employee Handbook

Another inspiring handbook from another progressive, smart company. And deliciously presented too – have a little scroll through.

So much to love here.

If I had to pick my favourite bits, it would be the hierarchy of communication modes, with face-to-face first and email last (and only to recap), but also this bit on structure which is so Culture Shock:

  • We try to keep our organization as flat as possible.
  • We love to quickly form small teams to attack big problems.
  • We believe that even small teams need leaders and that anyone can lead.

That third bullet is what Gore call followership, as I describe in the book. YES.

For Employee Wellbeing, Engagement Trumps Time Off

Gallup researching showing that engagement is the thing that powers wellbeing more than lots of other nice-to-haves:

Employee engagement is a much stronger predictor of overall wellbeing than factors such as hours worked, weeks of vacation time taken, and flextime allowed, according to new research by Harter and Sangeeta Agrawal, a Gallup research manager. The study, which used a sample of 4,894 U.S. Gallup Panel members who work full time, explored the relationships among employee engagement, hours worked, flextime, vacation time, and wellbeing.

So it’s about engagement. How do you create that? You gotta watch Alexander Kjerulf’s funny and ENGAGING (see what I did there?) Meaning Conference talk.

US developer outsources his job to China so he can watch cat videos at work

I know many of you will have seen this. But we need to think about it. If you haven’t seen it, a US developer outsourced his programming job to a Chinese developer, and did really well in performance reviews, but the work was being done by a dude in China. When his employer found out, they sacked him!

Very Timothy Ferris, four hour work week-esque…

The thing is, what is actually wrong with this, if the company wants outcomes? I’m not saying I would like it as an employer, but we’ve got to question why not, surely? Is it only OK for companies to make decisions like these?

Some bonus links:

Somewhere – a startup who say ‘We help people find their place and companies find their people’. Really like their ethos, looks intriguing.

Social learning accelerates innovation faster than innovation processes – really interesting piece started by NixonMcInnes’ own Anna Carlson and taken on by Stowe Boyd on his influential Giga Om blog.

Culture Shock update

Publishing a book is weird – it goes off and then you hear snippets back – but from the snippets I get the book really seems to be gaining momentum which is VERY exciting. I now have heard of three examples where the book is being passed around teams in organisations – a big bank, a social housing trust, and an information/tech business. That is hugely exciting to me! The sales, especially post-Chrimbo, are ticking along nicely. And the reviews, which are no longer from people I actually know, continue to be unexpectedly positive. So I’m excited again about this book writing thing. Thanks for your part in that, dear reader 🙂

And a hat-tip to Giles Palmer, founder and CEO at Brandwatch for at least 3 of the above links 🙂

So here’s to 2013. My motto for this year is win everything – Will

2 comments

  1. mart gordon

    I’m not sure why the reviews are unexpectedly positive. I’ve not read all of Culture Shock yet but I do find it introduces the concepts within in a highly considered manner so can see it being revelatory to people. Expect positive comments Will.

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