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Newsletter Value Work

Work-Life Balance

John Mayall's First Album arrived nine years after forming his first band.
John Mayall’s First Album arrived nine years after forming his first band.

Trading my time for the pay I get (up!)
Living on money that I ain’t made yet (up!)
Gotta keep goin’ gotta make my way (up!) 
But I live for the end of the day (up!)

The Vogues

Written in 1965 – and nothing has changed. This newsletter introduced you to the 4P model of People First … Pay, Purpose, Play and Passion.

With a more open, enlightened recruiting process there is so much more that people could do in any company if they were given the chance. The answer is to stop job filling and start fulfilling.

You can read the whole of Issue Number 8 here.


Categories
Newsletter Value Work

Ditch The Binary

“Look at gender. We used to think of it as a binary, male or female, and now we understand it’s a spectrum. It is high time to ditch the old-young binary, too.”

Ashton Applewhite

Says it all really. Ageism is alive and well. In fact the same day, Paul Krugman wrote a piece on the job market that I totally disagreed with – so of course I had to write something.

You can read the whole of Issue Number 7 here.


Categories
Newsletter Work

Challenge of Work

Our sixth newsletter explores the value of a person to a corporation.

In understanding how organizations search for ‘talent’ these days, candidates know that their first two or three hurdles will have nothing to do with people and everything to do with machines and as a result valuable time is spent in tuning their resume and cover letter with SEO like terms, so that they bubble to the top.

Do you find that as sad, bad and depressing as I do?

  • It’s like outsourcing your customer support team to a call center, full of untrained people … oh wait!
  • I mean it’s like putting junior people into sales training on their inside sales team … oh wait!
  • I mean it’s like putting a temp on your front desk, so that anyone who comes into your offices is greeted by someone who knows nothing about your organization …

Read the whole of the 6th issue here.


Categories
Work

The Working Day Is Done

No, not Cyndi … Neil.

They say that life imitates art. In this particular case I would argue art is imitating life.

When the working day is through
And you’re waiting in the rain
For another overdue
Overcrowded railway train
And the movie poster screams
“It’s the best film ever seen!”
But it’s all a different world
To which you have never been
And you’re bored out of your mind
So you keep yourself amused
Reading the Financial Times
Of the fellow next to you
Then something in you snaps
And you shout with all your lungs
“We give and get nothing back!”
When the working day is done.”

Neil Hannon – Divine Comedy

Unfair – possibly, but Hannon / Divine Comedy has a history of social observation. In this particular case and entire double album on Office Politics. Wont it be grand when we no longer have to deal with them?

European tour in the autumn of this year.

Categories
Work

The Anti-CEO Playbook

I am not usually slow in attacking the nature of business, but not sure the ‘Anti-CEO’ playbook is exactly the right angle here. That said Hamid Ulukaya’s points are excellent. How he built Chobani is a fascinating story. And at one point I was very much reminded me of a couple of People First tenets.

 

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Work

Innovation Silicon Valley Style

People First is delighted to share work that is relevant to our initiatives. Geoffrey Moore is an author, speaker and management strategy advisor. His work has influenced the careers of many of us at People First and we are excited he granted us permission to share this particular article.

There is a cottage industry in conducting executive tours of Silicon Valley, and now increasingly San Francisco SOMA, to expose teams from other parts of the planet to what is admittedly a uniquely successful culture of innovation and wealth creation. I’m all for it up to a point. Where I part company from the herd is with the notion that global corporations have a chance in hell of playing the same game. They don’t. Here’s why.

To quote a hopefully soon-to-be would-be candidate for president, Silicon Valley’s version of the innovation game is rigged! That is, it is specifically designed around a venture capital oriented ecosystem that is uniquely aligned to support investments in disruptive innovation. The limited partners who fund VCs want their money put into these high-risk, high-reward endeavours. The VCs that parcel out that money interview entrepreneurs to pick the best ideas, plans, and teams to prosecute a disruptive innovation. The ecosystem of service providers needed to support these fledgling enterprises is deeply experienced in navigating the economic gyrations brought on by the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. And when any individual joins one of these companies, he or she knows their sole mission in life is to bring the targeted disruptive innovation to scale as fast as possible, come hell or high water, Devil take the hindmost. Now, I ask you, where else in the world could you expect to find this kind of alignment?

Most companies in most economies in most places live by sustaining innovation, not disruption. Successful investments are typically medium-to-low risk with medium-to-high rewards. They do not involve going through a bet-the-company J-curve, that deep and harrowing financial trough from which only a fraction of traveler’s return. Financiers from traditional economies do not want the companies they invest in to take this route—they want steadier ROIs from more proven paths. The executive teams who run these companies developed their considerable expertise prosecuting opportunities of just this sort. The workforce’s who report in to them are not prepared to work crazy-long hours in pursuit of some visionary dream, nor do they want them to. They want them to show up, be present, do real work, and then go home and spend time with their families, loved ones, and significant others. That’s what economic stability is all about.

So, when a disruptive innovation does cross the chasm and breaches the defenses of one of their mainstream marketplaces, it should come to no one’s surprise that it is not being led by any currently successful established competitor. Frankly, such organizations all have better fish to fry. BUT, once a disruption has breached the mainstream market’s defenses and taken hold, then the game is dramatically changed. The old way is now under existential threat, the established ecosystem is no longer economically viable, and customers are looking to their traditional vendors to see if they can and will adopt the new playbook.

Now, the good news here is that customers do not like to switch vendors. This means, if you and your ecosystem of partners can stand down from your old positions of power and take up the new modus operandi, then your prospects of defending your turf are actually quite good. You don’t have to introduce a disruptive new business model of your own to do this, but you do have to catch up—and smartly too! This means you have to incorporate enough of the new technology to modernize your operating model, to blunt the appeal of the disruptor by stealing a bit of their thunder. That is, your goal is not to differentiate in order to win new customers—that’s the disruptor’s playbook. They want the customers you have. Your goal instead is to neutralize the opposition’s appeal in order to keep your existing customers loyal to you. Differentiation and neutralization call for two very different playbooks. Silicon Valley is the master of the first. You need the second.

For that, you should look outside the Valley to a company like Microsoft, one that has spent the entire arc of its history protecting the extraordinary customer base it was gifted by the near-universal adoption of the IBM PC. Without exception its most successful products were born out of neutralization, not differentiation. That is, Windows neutralized the Macintosh OS, Windows NT neutralized Novell, Office neutralized WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, and Persuasion, Outlook neutralized cc:Mail, SQL Server neutralized IBM DB2 and Oracle, and Internet Explorer neutralized Netscape Navigator. In every case, Microsoft was quick to clone just to get something vaguely competitive into the market asap, and then worked relentlessly first to bring its product up to speed and eventually to surpass the original disruptor. And all along the way, it leveraged its existing market position to bundle early offerings in for free, monetizing them downstream either on their own or by virtue of them sustaining the price premium of the suites they had been incorporated into.

By contrast, Silicon Valley companies that have found themselves under a comparable attack have often tried a different tack. They have sought to out-innovate the innovator, to leapfrog the freakin’ toad that just leapfrogged them! Yahoo wanted to out-innovate Google with social search. Sun and HP wanted to out-innovate Intel with Spark and PA-RISC. eBay wanted to out-innovate Amazon by buying Skype. But when the barbarians are at the gates, there is no time to invent a new weapon or experiment with an unproven one—you have to co-opt the one they are using against you.

So, yes, please do come to Silicon Valley and take away whatever lessons you can incorporate successfully into your current enterprise. Everyone needs to differentiate eventually. But you might extend your trip up to Redmond to learn a trick or two from the folks up there as well.

That’s what I think. What do you think?

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