Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Staff Structure for the New Millenium: Spotify

November 20, 2012

We’ve been holding the NYC Scrum User Group at my company and I’ve had the great fortune of being a co-organizer.  Last week Spotify came to visit and did something I thought was truly amazing.  They completely opened their entire working process to the group.  Transparently.  With no reservations.

And?  They wanted feedback.  Not on how they were structured (and, trust me, everyone in the room was thinking “I want to work there!!  That’s so cool!”), but rather on how they onboard employees.  This is why this is such an innovative company.  No fear of criticism. Get it (whatever “it” is) out there and learn from what happens.

I could go into detail about what they described, but next time we get a chance to hear from them, I think you should not pass up the chance.  To really essentialize, they are basically structured into a series of teams, yes, but then the individuals of those teams are members of 3 different groupings according to skillset, interest, and product area.  Very, very cool because it creates the environment for knowledge to spread and innovation to blossom.

Leave those of you who are fellow anti-Taylorists with this:  They’ve basically ditched a “human resources department” for “People Operations” or  “P-Ops” as they like to call it.  They’re hiring so look ‘em up on Twitter.

Privacy and Voyeurism: @SleepNoMoreNYC – (A Sort of Review of the Play)

December 18, 2011
Venetian Mask

Gazing through my mask

Last night I went with @totheralistair and @ghennipher to see Sleep No More.  Interestingly, in an odd synchronization with my piece on privacy just published yesterday, Sleep No More plays with voyeurism, privacy, audience/observer, exploration and curiosity.  When you arrive you are given a Venetian mask and told “You will find yourself experiencing the hotel alone,” “Curiosity is rewarded,” “Please do not speak,” and “Please do not take off your mask; this is for us.” You soon find yourself playing the ghost, the ultimate “Other” of Jean-Paul Sartre, rifling through files and drawers, the extended beak on the mask emphasizing your nosy-ness, a wordless observer of wordless dance and action, chasing other ghosts, ghosts of the thirties, through the three warehouses dressed as part-hotel, part insane asylum, part small town. Part village.

SPOILER ALERT

It may be better for someone to go into the Sleep No More experience without pre-conceived notions.  If you think you might have the opportunity to go to Sleep No More, maybe don’t read this post.

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The New Village: There is No Privacy in the Networked World

December 17, 2011

Pennsylvania "Dutch" Hex "Rosette"

Villages naturally have very little privacy. To guard against the results (“bad luck”) that the eyes of the Other (neighbors) might bring, inhabitants might use all kinds of methods–including some that are supernatural.  For instance, in pre-1997 Bhutanese villages (e.g. before TV was allowed and other cultures flooded in) inhabitants painted symbols on their homes to ward off ill-fortune.  If you visit rural areas today, you’ll notice among these house paintings are phalluses, painted by doors, hung from strings from the roof as if they were windchimes or placed like gargoyles on the eaves.   This was done rather like the hex signs of the Pennsylvania “Dutch,” but not for what many guess would be the obvious reason, fertility.  No, the Bhutanese were not insuring the abundance of their fields and families with these phalluses.  They painted these symbols to ward off gossip and what we might call the evil eye.  Gossip and the evil eye, which results from gossip because if you are trying to accomplish something, and people conceptualize and talk about it too much, that thing you are trying to do might not turn out so well. (more…)

MidState Medical Center: A Great Place to Be Sick is a Place That Practices Lean

October 13, 2011
Midstate Medical Center

Midstate Medical Center

Here’s the hospital I want to go to when I become sick: MidState Medical Center in Meriden, Connecticut.  It is hard to find documented information on this hospital, but it appears that their CEO, Lucille Janatka, practices some form of Lean, possibly the Baldrige Model, according to what I’ve heard in the local community.

In articles, Janatka describes herself as a “Servant Leader.”  The story I’ve heard goes like this.  When she took over the hospital in 1999 as CEO, she organized grassroots meetings of every single worker, right down to the janitor.  (Heh, “down.”)  They recommended changes using this “Reflective Improvement Methodology,” whatever you like to call it.  Janatka lead them in implementing many of the changes proposed.
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