People... then Work
Having spent a large amount of time in professional services and startups, being exposed to healthy organizations and unhealthy organizations have fundamentally changed the way I think about people, operations and organizational culture systems.
I’ve been pondering these themes and past experiences a lot lately and I’ve determined that the answer to these 3 questions tell me exactly what I need to know about an organizational system before I get in the door.
Is the leadership trustworthy?
“Hey, do I know you??!” Sounds a bit interrogative, but its having a keen sense of healthy interrogation to whom you work with can be very healthy. In its purest form, asking questions, learning everything you can means, you want to learn all you can. Besides, who wants to push a rope up a hill? You want people who want to be there and who want to do all they can. Ain’t nothing wrong with that! With the right intent, your efforts can be a huge trust builder. Ask the questions, learn everything you can and don’t forgo your gut.
Does the organization feel flat?
Speaking of leadership, the best kind of organizations make little to no qualms about their roles or titles. Responsibilities however, now thats an entirely different story. The key to flat orgs is 1.) everyone trusts and is trusted and 2.) everyone acts as an owner and therefore being a leader is everyone’s job. Come to work, get things done and don’t get caught up in “who is who”. This is a trait that takes little to no time to identify.
Is there open and encouraged feedback loops?
One of my biggest metrics of successful teams and healthy companies is this little ditty — do you ask for feedback, give it and do you do it regularly… with everyone. How do people expect to improve and do marvelous things with out the accountability of each other which comes by virtue of regular communication intervals. If you don’t have a postmortem ceremony in your organization, you should consider doing that soon. And I’m not talking about annual or quarterly reviews folks, I’m talking about feedback on projects, on work, as it comes in real time and in a dedicated framework.