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Slack, I’m Breaking Up with You — Better People — Medium
"You’re actually making it HARDER to have a conversation

Back before we met, I had two primary modes of digitally communicating with people:

1. Real Time
Some of the digital platforms I used were inherently “real time” (phone, Skype, IRC, Google Hangouts, etc.), where there was a built-in expectation of an immediate, rapid-fire conversation wherein everyone involved was more or less fully-present and participating.

2. Asynchronous
Conversely, there were other platforms that were inherently asynchronous (email, voicemail, iMessage, Twitter DMs, etc.), where there was no expectation of an immediate response, and people tended to send cogent feedback in their own time.

Then you came along, and rocked everyone’s world by introducing a conversational melting pot that is neither fully real time, nor fully asynchronous. You’re somewhere in between:

You’re asynchronish.

At first I thought this sounded delightful — it would be the best of both worlds! I was always free to drop someone a line, and if they were feeling chatty, a full-fledged conversation could simply spring up, with no need to switch platforms.

After getting to know you better, though, I’ve found that your “asynchronish” side is less impressive than I first thought. It leads to everyone having half-conversations all day long, with people frequently rotating through one slow-drip discussion after another, never needing to officially check out because “hey! it’s asynchronous!”"



"You’re turning my workdays into one long Franken-meeting

I think you and I can both agree that meetings are kind of the worst. And, on the surface, you do totally obviate the need for a ton of them. I can definitely think of many times in which a quick Slack whip-around has saved me from all kinds of interpersonal tedium. So thank you for that.

However, I’m wondering what the cost of it is. Specifically, I wonder if conducting business in an asynchronish environment simply turns every minute into an opportunity for conversation, essentially “meeting-izing” the entire workday."



"I belong to roughly 10 different Slack teams. People are very used to messaging me (directly or publicly) whether I’m online or not, so there’s a heavy social expectation for me to keep those conversational plates spinning on an ongoing basis, even if I’m signed out of all your clients.

I really don’t want to leave the people I care about hanging, but I haven’t seen any native way to let them know I may be gone for a while, and to perhaps try me elsewhere. This all seems a bit possessive on your part, whether you meant it to be or not — how do I take a vacation without taking you with me? How would you help me if I wound up in the hospital?

For better or for worse, you’ve gone from a novelty to a supernova in the blink of an eye. It’s only been two years, and many already act as if it’s impossible to remember what life was like before you came along."



"The question isn’t quality of design; you are stunningly well-designed in supporting the human tendencies you’re set up to support. I’m just not sure that those tendencies are ones I really want more of in my life right now. It seems that everyone’s social habits around using you are lagging pretty far behind your marvelous technical advancements."
slack  asynchronous  messaging  email  meetings  2016  asynchronish  work  productivity  conversation  samuelhulick  cabelsasser  jasonfried  joshpigford  chat 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Small groups and consultancy and coffee mornings ( 7 Oct., 2015, at Interconnected)
"One permanent pattern in our workshop culture:
Best design consultancy tip I know: Don't criticise without offering something better. Called the Ahtisaari Manoeuvre after an early client


Always have something on the table.

Another: Always use fat pens.

Another: It's important to have the right people in the room -- representing knowledge of technical possibilities, business needs, and market insights. But at the same time, the ideal number of people to have in the room is five or six. Any more than that, you can't continue a single conversation without it turning into a presentation.

Another: The one who understands the client's business best is the client."



"There are a couple of things I'm investigating:

1. That a small group is a powerful way of thinking, and of creating action. That repetition matters, and informality.

2. It might be possible to help with strategy without providing original thought or even active facilitation: To consult without consulting. The answers and even ways of working are inherent in the group itself.

My hunch is this: To answer a business's strategic questions, which will intrinsically involve changing that business, a more permanent solution than a visiting consultant might be to convene a small group, and spend time with it, chatting informally."




"Once a week we get together -- a half dozen students, often Durrell, whoever is teaching the course with him which was Stuart before and Oscar now, plus a special guest.

It's just for coffee somewhere or other, on Friday mornings, and we chat. It's super casual, sharing ideas and references, talking about the brief and design in general.

I'm curious about informality.

The lunchtimes at BERG, everyone around the table with such a broad range of skills and interests... and after Friday Demos - part of the weekly rhythm - the sparked conversations and the on-topic but off-topic sharing... this is where ideas happen too. Between projects but not outside them.

And I think informality as part of the design process is under-communicated, at least where I've been listening. So much work is done like that. The students are great at speaking about their work, sure. But mainly I'm interesting in how we induct someone into a worldview, quickly; how we explain ideas and then listen carefully for feedback, accepting ideas back -- all conversationally, without (and this is the purpose of the special guest) it turning into a seminar or a crit.

I think the best way to communicate this "lunch table" work informality is to rehearse it, to experience it. Which is what the coffee mornings are about.

I try to make sure everyone speaks, and I ask questions to see if I can encourage the removal of lazy abstraction -- words that get in the way of thinking about what's really going on. I'm a participant-observer.

Tbh I'm not sure what to call this. Visiting convener? It's not an official role.

I think (I hope!) everyone is getting something out of the experience, and everyone is becoming more their own kind of designer because of it, and meanwhile I get to explore and experience a small group. A roughly consistent membership, a roughly regular meeting time, an absence of purpose, or rather a purpose that the group is allowed to negotiate at a place within itself.

~

These RCA coffee mornings grew out of my experiment with hardware-ish coffee mornings, a semi-irregular meetup in London having a vague "making things" skew... Internet of Things, hardware startups, knitting, the future of manufacturing and distribution, a morning off work. That sort of thing. People chat, people bring prototypes. There's no single conversation, and only rarely do we do introductions. This invite to a meet in January also lists my principles:

• Space beats structure
• Informality wins
• Convening not chairing
• Bonfires not fireworks

I've been trying to build a street corner, a place to cultivate serendipity and thoughts. Not an event with speakers, there are already several really good ones."



"My setup was that I believed the answer to the issue would come from the group, that they knew more about their business than me.

Which was true. But I also observed that the purpose of the business had recently changed, and while it could be seen by the CEO that the current approach to this design problem wasn't satisfying, there was no way for the group to come together to think about it, and answer it together. Previously they had represented different strands of development within the startup. Now the company was moving to having a new, singular, measurable goal.

So I started seeing the convened discussions as rehearsing a new constellation of the team members and how they used one-another for thinking, and conscious and unconscious decision making. The group meetings would incubate a new way to think together. Do it enough, point out what works, and habits might form.

~

Consulting without consulting."



"I'm not entirely sure where to take these experiments. I'm learning a lot from various coffee mornings, so I'll carry on with those.

I had some conversations earlier in the year about whether it would be possible to act as a creative director, only via regular breakfast conversations, and helping the group self-direct. Dunno. Or maybe there's a way to build a new division in a company. Maybe what I'm actually talking about is board meetings -- I've been a trustee to Startup Weekend Europe for a couple of years, and the quarterly meetings are light touch. But they don't have this small group aspect, it might be that they haven't been as effective as they could be.

There might be something with the street corners and serendipity pattern... When I was doing that three month gig with the government earlier this year, it felt like the people in the civil service - as a whole - had all the knowledge and skills to take advantage of Internet of Things technologies, to deliver services faster and better. But often the knowledge and opportunities weren't meeting up. Maybe an in-person, regular space could help with that.

At a minimum, if I'm learning how to help companies and friends with startups in a useful way that doesn't involve delivering more darn Powerpoint for the meat grinder: Job done.

But perhaps what's happening is I'm teaching myself how to do something else entirely, and I haven't figured out what that is yet.

~

Some art. Some software."
mattwebb  small  groups  groupsize  2015  collaboration  consulting  vonnegut  kurtvonnegut  organization  howwewrite  writing  meaningmaking  patternrecognition  stevenjohnson  devonthink  groupdynamics  psychology  wilfredbion  dependency  pairing  serendipity  trickster  doublebinds  informality  informal  coffeemornings  meetings  crosspollination  conversation  facilitation  catalysts  scenius  experienceingroups 
october 2015 by robertogreco
My wife is a lazy liar | smithdeville
"I work at a real job, and I don’t go to nearly as many “meetings” as my wife does. Many of her meetings, she says, are focused on discussing test results, new testing procedures, testing tests, test testing, tester testing, and test testing testers. Occasionally, she says, these meeting diverge into other topics such as testing evaluations. Some meetings allegedly occur during school hours when my wife should be “teaching.” These meetings are dreamed up by highly-paid, redundant administrators who have clandestine responsibilities no one can figure out. At the end of these meetings, it is determined that “teachers” at my wife’s school are not spending enough time teaching."
education  edreform  policy  meetings  busywork  testing  organizations  standardizedtesting  adminstrativebloat  waste  schools  via:lukeneff 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Peter Senge: Systems Thinking and The Gap Between Aspirations and Performance - YouTube
"In his keynote presentation to our Climate, Buildings and Behavior symposium last month, leading organizational thinker Peter Senge offers a distillation of his insights into the most important factors in achieving meaningful change for the environment or in any sphere of life. They include positive aspirations instead of negative admonitions ("the power of aspiration is much greater than the power of desperation"), the desire and vision to bring into being and develop something new (like building a cathedral, or raising a child) and networks of relationships with collaborators engaged in "collective, creative process." Whatever kind of personal or social change work you're engaged in, you'll take away actionable insights from this accessible and profound talk."
via:steelemaley  2013  systems  systemsthinking  collaboration  networks  changetheory  change  howthingschange  relationships  collectivism  process  petersenge  climate  climatechange  behavior  organization  environment  aspiration  humbertomaturana  desperation  awareness  hierarchy  hierarchies  listening  meetings  knowledge  knowledgenetworks  networksoflovingrelations 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Meetings: even more of a soul-sucking waste of time than you thought | News | theguardian.com
"Nobody needs telling that meetings are a catastrophic waste of work time. But even so, it's a little alarming to learn just how much time they can waste. In the Harvard Business Review, three consultants from Bain report the results of an exercise in which they analyzed the Outlook schedules of the employees of an unnamed "large company" – and concluded that one weekly executive meeting ate up a dizzying 300,000 hours a year. Which is impressive, given that each of us only has about 8,700 hours a year to begin with. Including sleep.

The explanation is that a weekly meeting of a few hours doesn't just use up those hours for each person present; it creates knock-on time demands throughout the organisation. In this case, the weekly meeting took up 7,000 person-hours for the executives involved. But they also had to meet with unit heads in order to prepare for it, generating another 20,000 hours of meetings; those unit heads had to prepare for those meetings with team meetings (63,000 hours), and those team meetings generated numerous preparatory meetings (210,000 hours). And that total, the authors write, "doesn't include the work time spent preparing for meetings".

To be sure, the figures would mean rather more if we knew the size of the workforce involved. Nor do I have any idea what line of business this company's in. But it's hard not to conclude that the purpose for which it really exists is … having meetings. The Harvard Business Review doesn't quote Dave Barry, but maybe should have: "Meetings are an addictive, highly self-indulgent activity that corporations and other large organisations habitually engage in only because they cannot actually masturbate."

It's not my place to say that most or even many of those 300,000 hours were wasted ones. But there's plenty of research to suggest they may well have been. It would be hard to invent a worse system for reaching decisions than the modern meeting. For a start, there's evidence to suggest – as you expected – that it's the overconfident loudmouths who get their way, not the most knowledgeable attendees. Moreover, items higher up the agenda get more attention regardless of their importance.

Oh, and meetings are ground zero for Parkinson's Law of Trivilality, otherwise known as the Bike Shed Effect. People won't speak up about the big, complex, important decisions, because they're scared of embarrassing themselves. But they still want to feel (and appear) as if they're making a contribution, so they'll make sure to weigh in on the unimportant stuff instead. The result: triviality gradually comes to dominate. A decision about the construction of a new bike shed, as Parkinson put it, "will be debated for an hour and a quarter, then deferred for decision to the next meeting, pending the gathering of more information".

There are other reasons for holding meetings besides decisionmaking, it's true. But there's not much reason to think these purposes are best achieved that way either. If the goal is status reporting – catching everyone up on where things stand – there are numerous electronic tools for that. (These have the great advantage of being asynchronous: the boss can demand that everyone provide an update by a certain time, without requiring that everybody do it at a certain time.) And if the goal is generating new ideas, quiet, focused solitude may be more effective as brainstorming. (Here's an interesting technique, 'brainswarming', that seeks to combine the best of both.)

Or maybe you're using meetings primarily to foster a sense of togetherness and team spirit? Don't do that.

If it's not in your power to consign meetings to purgatory for evermore, you might at least suggest holding them standing up. That way you could reduce the time they take up by 34% without any reduction in the quality of decisions reached. (In any case, sitting is killing you.) If at all possible, though, find an alternative. "A meeting," the business writer Dale Dauten once wrote, "moves at the speed of the slowest mind in the room … all but one participant will be bored, all but one mind under-used". That's no way to spend 300,000 hours a year."
meetings  2014  productivity  leadership  administration  management  time 
may 2014 by robertogreco
What Your Culture Really Says — about work — Medium
[via: http://mike.teczno.com/notes/on-managers.html ]

"Toxic lies about culture are afoot in Silicon Valley. They spread too fast as we take our bubble money and designer Powerpoints to drinkups, conferences and meetups all over the world, flying premium economy, ad nauseam. Well-intentioned darlings south of Market wax poetic on distributed teams, office perks, work/life balance, passion, “shipping”, “iteration,” “freedom”. A world of startup privilege hides blithely unexamined underneath an insipid, self-reinforcing banner of meritocracy and funding. An economic and class-based revolt of programmers against traditional power structures within organizations manifests itself as an (ostensively) radical re-imagining of work life. But really, you should meet the new boss. Hint: he’s the same as the old boss.

The monied, celebrated, nuevo-social, 1% poster children of startup life spread the mythology of their cushy jobs, 20% time, and self-empowerment as a thinly-veiled recruiting tactic in the war for talent against internet giants. The materialistic, viral nature of these campaigns have redefined how we think about culture, replacing meaningful critique with symbols of privilege. The word “culture” has become a signifier of superficial company assets rather than an ongoing practice of examination and self-reflection.

Culture is not about the furniture in your office. It is not about how much time you have to spend on feel-good projects. It is not about catered food, expensive social outings, internal chat tools, your ability to travel all over the world, or your never-ending self-congratulation.

Culture is about power dynamics, unspoken priorities and beliefs, mythologies, conflicts, enforcement of social norms, creation of in/out groups and distribution of wealth and control inside companies. Culture is usually ugly. It is as much about the inevitable brokenness and dysfunction of teams as it is about their accomplishments. Culture is exceedingly difficult to talk about honestly. The critique of startup culture that came in large part from the agile movement has been replaced by sanitized, pompous, dishonest slogans.

Let’s examine popular startup trends that are being called “culture” and look beneath the surface to find the real culture that may be playing out beneath it. This is not a critique of the practices themselves, which often contribute value to an organization. This is to show a contrast between the much deeper, systemic cultural problems that are rampant in our startups and the materialistic trappings that can disguise them.

We make sure to hire people who are a cultural fit
What your culture might actually be saying is… We have implemented a loosely coordinated social policy to ensure homogeneity in our workforce. We are able to reject qualified, diverse candidates on the grounds that they “aren’t a culture fit” while not having to examine what that means - and it might mean that we’re all white, mostly male, mostly college-educated, mostly young/unmarried, mostly binge drinkers, mostly from a similar work background. We tend to hire within our employees’ friend and social groups. Because everyone we work with is a great culture fit, which is code for “able to fit in without friction,” we are all friends and have an unhealthy blur between social and work life. Because everyone is a “great culture fit,” we don’t have to acknowledge employee alienation and friction between individuals or groups. The desire to continue being a “culture fit” means it is harder for employees to raise meaningful critique and criticism of the culture itself.

Meetings are evil and we have them as little as possible.
What your culture might actually be saying is… We have a collective post-traumatic stress reaction to previous workplaces that had hostile, unnecessary, unproductive and authoritarian meetings. We tend to avoid projects and initiatives that require strict coordination across the company. We might have difficulty meeting the expectations of enterprise companies and do better selling to startups organized like us. We are heavily invested in being rebels against traditional corporate culture. Because we communicate largely asynchronously and through chat, it is easy to mentally dehumanize teammates and form silos around functional groups with different communications practices or business functions.

We have a team of people who are responsible for organizing frequent employee social events, maintaining the office “feel”, and making sure work is a great place to hang out. We get served organic, vegan, farm-raised, nutritious lunches every day at work.
What your culture might actually be saying is… Our employees must be treated as spoiled, coddled children that cannot perform their own administrative functions. We have a team of primarily women supporting the eating, drinking, management and social functions of a primarily male workforce whose output is considered more valuable. We struggle to hire women in non-administrative positions and most gender diversity in our company is centralized in social and admin work. Because our office has more amenities than home life, our employees work much longer hours and we are able to extract more value from them for the same paycheck. The environment reinforces the cultural belief that work is a pleasant dream and can help us distract or bribe from deeper issues in the organization.

20% of the time, or all of the time, people can work on whatever they want to
What your culture might actually be saying is… We have enough venture funding to pay people to work on non-core parts of the business. We are not under that much pressure to make money. The normal work of the business is not sufficiently rewarding so we bribe employees with pet projects. We’re not entirely sure what our business objectives and vision are, so we are trying to discover it by letting employee passions take root. We have a really hard time developing work that takes more than a few people to release. We have lots of unfinished but valuable projects that get left behind due to shifts in focus, lack of concentrated effort, and inability to organize sufficient resources to bring projects to completion.

We don’t have managers and the company is managed with no hierarchy
What your culture might actually be saying is… Management decisions are siloed at the very top layers of management, kept so close to the chest they appear not to exist at all. The lack of visibility into investor demands, financial affairs, HR issues, etc. provides an abstraction layer between employees and real management, which we pretend doesn’t exist. We don’t have an explicit power structure, which makes it easier for the unspoken power dynamics in the company to play out without investigation or criticism.

We don’t have a vacation policy
What your culture might actually be saying is… We fool ourselves into thinking we have a better work/life balance when really people take even less vacation than they would when they had a vacation policy. Social pressure and addiction to work has replaced policy as a regulator of vacation time.

We are all makers who are focused on shipping.
What your culture might actually be saying is… Features are the most important function of our business. We lack processes for surfacing and addressing technical debt. We have systemic infrastructure problems but they are not relevant because we are more focused on short-term adoption than long-term reliability. We prioritize fast visible progress, even if it is trivial, over longer and more meaningful projects. Productivity is measured more by lines of code than the value of that code. Pretty things are more important than useful things.

Closing
Talk to your company about culture. Talk to other companies about culture. Stop mistaking symbology and VC spoils for culture. Be honest with yourself, and with each other. Otherwise, your culture will kill you softly with its song, and you won’t even notice. But hey, you have a beer keg in the office."
shanley  2013  business  culture  github  horizontality  hierarchy  hierarchies  control  power  meetings  homogeneity  organzations  vacation  policies  politics  work  labor  process  social  socialpressure  management  administration  illegibility  legibility  decisionmaking  powerstructures  criticism  valve 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Big Spaceship: Our Manual [.pdf]
"Big Spaceship is different. The weirdness makes it special, but it can be a bit jarring if you’re used to another way of working. We wrote this manual to give you everything you need to survive and thrive here, whether on day one or day one thousand.

This book won’t provide details about your 401(k), show you how to access the internal server, or help you set up your email account. It will help you begin to understand our values and the way we make decisions as a team and as a company.

Our manual belongs to you. Read it.

Share it. Change it. Keep it close when you swim into the deep water."



"WE ARE HUMANS

We act like humans, we talk like humans, and we think like humans. And we call out anyone who does the opposite."



"YOU ARE NOT HERE BY ACCIDENT

We hired you for a reason. There’s no need to prove yourself or worry about “fitting in.” You’re here. You made it. You get it. Let your work do the convincing.

WE HIRE DIFFERENTLY

Most companies operate under the premise that employees should be replaceable like parts of an assembly line. We choose our people more carefully. We bring them in if we think they’re a good fit, regardless of whether we have work for them right away.

What that means: You are more than your title. Bring yourself (rough edges and all) to
work each day, not your “producer" or “designer” costume."

GET AUTONOMOUS

You’re given an incredible amount of freedom and autonomy at Big Spaceship. That goes for everyone – from interns on up. It’s up to you to figure out how to approach a problem. No one is going to make you do it their way. We know that sounds awesome, but here’s the rub: With freedom comes a ton of ownership and responsibility.

Life is easy when someone is telling you what to do. It’s also boring, and it prevents you
from being invested in what you’re doing. Since you control your own destiny here, you’ll likely
be more emotional about your work. We believe that’s better than the alternative. Can you imagine
coming to work each day and not caring? We can’t.

WORK TOGETHER

Our flat structure calls for it by necessity. Being a leader may feel unnatural at first, but we expect everyone to step up and own part of the project. It’s kind of like playing basketball: When someone passes you the ball, you’re in charge of what to do with it next."



"YOU’RE MORE THAN YOUR TITLE

Most workplaces (intentionally or not) train people out of normal human behaviors. They want you to be predictable. They want you to be replaceable. They don’t want you to challenge the status quo.

But humans don’t work that way. Humans are unpredictable. You can’t replace one person with another the same way you swap tires on a car. Workplaces that try to control human nature become miserable fast.

People who talk about themselves in terms of their title freak us out: “I’m a producer, so I do things like this.” No. You’re a person first and a producer second. Show your true colors.

EVERYONE IS CREATIVE

But nobody is a creative. Creativity is a quality, not a title. So don’t ever say, “I’m not creative.” We will find the creativity inside you and drag it out, kicking and screaming.

We don’t put our energy into questions like, “Whose name goes on the award entry?” Instead, we ask questions like, “Is this project right for us?” and “How can we do something unique and innovative that works for the business1?”

NOBODY’S GONNA HOLD YOUR HAND

This is a busy place, and you’ll often be on your own to figure things out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t rely on others to hold your hand.

You might be tempted to say something such as, “It would be nice if someone would organize the [server, kitchen, furniture].” At Big Spaceship, you are that someone. If you want to update, change, or fix something, go for it. Seriously. Every awesome thing you see is like that because someone like you decided to do it.

HUMAN TRUTHS

truth #1: Humans are not perfect.
Don’t be afraid to fail. And when you do, you might as well fail spectacularly. This is how we grow and learn.

truth #2: Humans have voices.
Yours is as valuable as anyone else’s. Use it. Singing out loud is encouraged and it happens often.

truth #3: Humans are unique.
Do you love Norwegian death metal? Do you prefer your desk covered with sunflowers? There’s no need to hide it. Be yourself. That’s how you’ll fit in here.



HUMANS ARE NOT “RESOURCES”

Human resources. What an awful phrase. We don’t have an HR department. New hires are
interviewed by the people who will actually be working with them. This ensures that we’re
hiring for the right team and the right reasons.

So get ready to care a lot about the people you work with."

WE WORK TOGETHER

We insist on working collaboratively. No rockstars. No departments. The whole team owns the whole
project, together.

WE AREN’T BIG ON HIERARCHY

We don’t have an internal “org chart.” The reason is that a traditional hierarchy forms a bottleneck: One person has to ask someone else’s permission to do something, and then that person has to ask someone else’s permission, and so on. The whole process is just a waste of time and it prevents people from building things quickly.

You have mentors and collaborators, not commanders. In other words, you may have a boss, but you’ll never get bossed around.

And we all make things here. If you’ve come to climb a ladder, you’re in the wrong place. Those who show up and tell other people what to do don’t last long.

PLAY IS IMPORTANT

When you walk through our doors, you enter an environment where work and play often intertwine. But there’s a difference between being childish and child-like. We are adults. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.

There’s no reason to pretend you’re busy. You don’t need to hide the video you’re watching if someone walks by your desk. No one is monitoring the websites you look at. We aren’t going to report you for taking a long lunch. Just do great work.

WE DESIGN FOR PEOPLE, NOT AT THEM

We make things for people. Not for consumers. We always ask ourselves (and our clients), “Would I want to use this?”

SHOW DON’T TELL

This is something we tell our clients all the time, and it’s important that we live by these words as well. A better way to put it might be: Don’t talk about it, do it.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR CREW

Much of the work we do is technical. But there’s another skill we all need to have: the interpersonal kind. It isn’t optional. Some people like to pretend that the technical work is all that matters. They’re wrong. This isn’t Rambo2; there are no teams of one here.

We know that sometimes it can be difficult to work with others. Our solution is simple: Get to know everyone. No one is just a designer or a strategist. They are people with many dimensions. Understand who they are and it’ll be much easier. You are part of a team, and the health and harmony of your team is part of your job.

WE ARE SMALL BY DESIGN

Every decision about how to structure a company has some upsides and some downsides. When you encounter something that’s a little frustrating about how we work, remember that it’s likely the result of something else about this place that you love.

We’ve kept our company small for more than 13 years, which allows us all to sit in the same room and know each other intimately. It also means we’ve had to sacrifice the economies of scale that come with hundreds or thousands of employees. Sometimes things break or get dirty. We don’t have a maintenance department, so it’s up to you.

DON’T MAKE A 70-PERSON COMPANY FEEL LIKE 700

We’re glad we don’t work at a place where the tech team is in another city. Try not to over-formalize communication. There’s no need to send an email to the person sitting one row away.

WE ALL SIT TOGETHER

At some companies, they make you go to a different floor (or building) to talk to someone outside of your team. That terrifies us. And it’s why we have an open floor plan.

You’re surrounded by smart people from every discipline. Talk to them. Learn from them.

ALL ARE WELCOME

We’ve designed our space for us, not to impress our guests. There’s no imported jellyfish aquarium in the lobby. We don’t have a doorman and we like it that way. Anyone is allowed anywhere, anytime. Make yourself at home.

If someone drops by, they’re going to see us working. That means it might be a bit messy. But that’s the real us.



WE ARE ALL STUDENTS; WE ARE ALL TEACHERS

This has nothing to do with seniority. We all snatch the pebble from each other’s hand. The idea of student becoming teacher and teacher becoming student is one of the greatest aspects of what we do. We share and learn from each other, daily.

And while we don’t expect you to hold anyone’s hand, we encourage you to be a mentor as much as possible. Maybe you’ll learn something too.

BE RESPECTFUL, BUT DON’T BE DELICATE

We’ve found that the best creative breakthroughs happen when people can have a good, passionate argument about an idea, not when they spend weeks tiptoeing around each other. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Just be honest and respectful.



WE ARE PROFESSIONALS

But we hate professionalism. Professional means handling your business with respect. Professionalism is when you’re so buttoned-up that you stop being yourself. It sands all the edges off your personality.

AVOID MEETINGS AT ALL COST

Meetings are the scourge of the modern workplace. A two-hour meeting with six people doesn’t waste two hours. It wastes twelve hours.

If all else fails and you absolutely must have a meeting, clearly state the purpose up front. If you can’t think of one, you probably don’t need to have it. And if you ever—EVER—find … [more]
bigspaceship  organizations  manifesto  2013  howwework  horizontality  culture  business  hierarchies  hierarchy  autonomy  change  adaptability  small  humans  humanism  design  language  openstudioproject  tcsnmy  sharing  teaching  learning  making  howweteach  howwelearn  lcproject  meetings  professionalism  collaboration  critique  careerism  camaraderie  agency  trust  community  manifestos 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Wieden+Kennedy » W+K Announces New Joint Venture Led by John C Jay, W+K Garage
"In an all-agency meeting today, Jay described W+K Garage as focusing on “expanding the definition of what a modern agency can do, and should do.” He said it will be “a strategic and entrepreneurial shop that will concept, create and invest in innovative products, experiences, content and technology that will help to redefine the idea of what a modern, global brand is.”
He added: “Simply, I want to make things. Not to make meetings, but make in new ways. Make new products, digital and analogue. I want to make new businesses. I want to make new experiences–interactive or physical, in business and in culture.”

Jay described the intersection of technology, culture, arts, science and business in our everyday lives, and noted the importance of being able to think, communicate and act globally. “We’re living in the greatest creative moment in history,” he said.

Jay also emphasized the importance of humanity and beauty to making an idea “great”.

On his decision to join W+K in 1993, he said, “I told myself, go where you can do the best work of your life–no asterisks.” In the meeting, he described W+K as a place that encourages each of its employees to become their best possible selves, leading to their best work, and said that this new venture was an opportunity to not only help W+K, but to help W+Kers achieve their creative potential, too."
wk  wieden+kennedy  2013  lcproject  openstudioproject  johnjay  technology  culture  arts  science  business  everyday  everydaylife  w+kgarage  making  meetings 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Silence and Speech
"If you feel moved to contribute after others have spoken, our experience is that it is as well to leave a fair time, and ask yourself whether you will be carrying further what has already been said. It is practically never right to spring up immediately."

"For our present purpose, the essential point is that what we receive in our meetings strengthens us in our daily lives; and then in turn we bring back our experiences to our meetings, where they may sometimes give rise to ministry. This two-way traffic is not regulated by rules or achieved through theological doctrines or political theories; it is a quiet unseen process, which is seldom exciting or dramatic but can in the long run have deep and far-reaching effects. Another early Quaker, Robert Barclay, wrote, 'When I came into the silent assemblies of God's people I found the evil in me weakening and the good raised up.' Many Quakers since his day have testified to similar experiences…"
thinking  meditation  meetings  friendsmeetings  ministry  robertbarclay  process  doctrine  deschooling  unschooling  rules  restraint  speech  silence  practice  religion  richardallen  1992  quakers  quaker 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Hey Extraverts: Enough is Enough | The American Conservative
"Has the puncturing of that “illusion of group productivity” had any effect? Of course not. Groupthink is as powerful as ever. Why is that?

I’ll tell you. It’s because the world is run by extraverts. (…proper spelling: extrovert is common but wrong…) Extraverts love meetings — any possible excuse for a meeting, they’ll seize on it. They might hear others complain about meetings, but the complaints never sink in: extraverts can’t seem to imagine that the people who say they hate meetings really mean it. “Maybe they hate other meetings, but I know they’ll enjoy mine, because I make them fun! Besides, we’ll get so much done!” (Let me pause here to acknowledge that the meeting-caller is only one brand of extravert: some of the most pronouncedly outgoing people I know hate meetings as much as I do.)

The problem with extraverts — not all of them, I grant you, but many, so many — is a lack of imagination. They simply assume that everyone will feel about things as they do."
management  leadership  adminstration  teaching  education  teambuilding  productivity  brainstorming  groupthink  meetings  introverts  alanjacobs  2012  extraverts  extroverts 
january 2013 by robertogreco
The abundance of slowness | Metagramme
"At Metagramme, the problem wasn’t cruel or unreasonable clients. They were actually kind and generous, for the most part. I had no one to blame but myself. It was time to man up in a major way. One of the glaring issues I faced was a total lack of boundaries. No phone call was too late to answer, no email too early. My lack of boundaries came from fear. Fear of what would happen if I said no more often. Fear of missing deadlines or disappointing customers. I was also afraid of allowing quiet reflection and creative diversions into the work day. I was punching the clock like any hourly employee. The story I told myself was that slowness and emptiness were the same thing. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve found recently that when the time is used well, slowness can actually be one of the most profound sources of abundance."
adminstration  management  leadership  workculture  business  busyness  sayingno  singletasking  multitasking  seattime  meetings  focus  boundaries  falseheroism  workslavery  balancemburnout  attention  time  davidheinemeier  jasonfried  workaholics  work  slowness  slow  via:nicolefenton  monotasking 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Meetings Are A Skill You Can Master, And Steve Jobs Taught Me How | Co.Design: business + innovation + design
"one of Simplicity’s most important rules: Start with small groups of smart people--and keep them small. Every time the body count goes higher, you’re simply inviting complexity to take a seat at the table…

Over the years, Apple’s marketing group has fine-tuned a process that’s been successfully repeated, revolution by revolution. Project teams are kept small, with talented people being given real responsibility--which is what drives them to work some crazy hours and deliver quality thinking. Because quality is stressed over quantity, meetings are informal and visible progress is made on a weekly (if not daily) basis.

Every company wants to maximize productivity and cut down on unnecessary meetings. How they go about it, though, can vary widely. At Apple, forming small groups of smart people comes naturally, because in its culture, that’s “the way we do things here.” Sometimes companies try to “legislate” productivity by offering up corporate guidelines."
groupsize  collaboration  thinking  responsibility  qualityoverquantity  2012  tcsnmy  complexity  small  simplicity  productivity  stevejobs  apple  management  meetings 
june 2012 by robertogreco
The Aporeticus - by Mills Baker · Design & Compromise [So much more within, read the whole thing and the comments too.]
"…why does compromise have its “undeservedly high reputation”?…b/c we are discomfited by philosophical implications of fact that some ideas are objectively better. We exempt science from our contemporary anxieties because its benefits are too explicit to deny, but in most creative fields we are no longer capable of accepting the superiority of some solutions to others; unable to sustain confidence in soundness of artistic problem-solving process, we will not provoke interpersonal/organizational conflict for sake of mere ideas.

This sad, mistaken epistemological cowardice turns competing hypotheses into groundless, subjective opinions, & reasonable course of action when managing conflicting, groundless opinions…is to compromise, because there is no better answer.

But the creative arts are not so subjective as we tend to think, which is why a talented, dictatorial auteur will produce better work than polls, fcus groups, or hundreds of compromising committees."
creativecontrol  dictatorship  dictators  dictatorialcreativity  violence  stevejobs  wateringdown  choice  debate  persuasion  2011  waste  stagnation  innovation  creativity  madetofail  setupforfailure  problemsolving  hypotheses  brokenbydesignprocess  democracy  control  procedure  process  inferiority  superiority  average  averages  means  politics  policy  howwework  meetings  committees  mediocrity  epistemology  philosophy  authoritarianism  cowardice  ideas  science  art  design  millsbaker  compromise 
january 2012 by robertogreco
The Rise of the New Groupthink - NYTimes.com
"But even if the problems are different, human nature remains the same. And most humans have two contradictory impulses: we love and need one another, yet we crave privacy and autonomy.

To harness the energy that fuels both these drives, we need to move beyond the New Groupthink and embrace a more nuanced approach to creativity and learning. Our offices should encourage casual, cafe-style interactions, but allow people to disappear into personalized, private spaces when they want to be alone. Our schools should teach children to work with others, but also to work on their own for sustained periods of time. And we must recognize that introverts like Steve Wozniak need extra quiet and privacy to do their best work."
committees  susancain  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  online  web  internet  communication  proust  efficiency  howwelearn  learning  interruption  freedom  privacy  schooldesign  lcproject  officedesign  tranquility  distraction  meetings  thinking  quiet  brainstorming  teamwork  introverts  stevewozniak  innovation  mihalycsikszentmihalyi  flow  cv  collaboration  howwework  groupthink  solitude  productivity  creativity  marcelproust 
january 2012 by robertogreco
russell davies: three months at R/GA
"I often look bored or unengaged in meetings - going as far as being actually rude to people. I'll cop to this. It's a fair point and it's bad of me. I apologise.

My only possible excuse is that personal circumstances have been a bit shit recently and it's been hard to think that any meeting has been worth being in - in comparison with where I should be. But that's not the fault of anyone in the meeting and I shouldn't be taking it out on them.

It can't be just that though, I've had this before. I got this as w+k and I imagine I would have at Ogilvy. I have to accept it's probably true. I like to think it's a symptom of shyness rather than arrogance but that might be entirely self-serving, the line between the two is probably very thin."
russelldavies  introversion  introverts  meetings  cv  2011  work  social  shyness  intorverts 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Google’s Chief Works to Trim a Bloated Ship - NYTimes.com
"Larry Page, Google’s chief executive, so hates wasting time at meetings that he once dumped his secretary to avoid being scheduled for them. He does not much like e-mail either — even his own Gmail — saying the tedious back-and-forth takes too long to solve problems…

Larry is [now] much more willing to make an O.K. decision and make it now, rather than a perfect decision later…

began requiring senior executives to show up at headquarters for an informal face-to-face meeting at least once a week to plow through decisions…forced him [Salar Kamangar] and another executive to settle a dispute in person that they had been waging over e-mail…"
meetings  larrypage  google  email  problemsolving  conversation  resolution  2011  efficiency  iteration  facetoface  cv 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Be One School - Practical Theory
"You have to be one school.

You cannot want one thing for students and another for teachers…

It's hard sometimes. Teachers are adults, and they get paid. So, as administrators, we want and expect more from them. But the values we hold as an administrator will be reflected in the values teachers manifest when they work with the kids. Both kindness and cruelty flow downstream.

If we want classrooms to be active places, so must our faculty meetings be.

If we want to feel cared for by teachers, then we must care for teachers.

If we want students to be able to engage in powerful inquiry, so must teachers.

The biggest crime of the story is that the principal wants kindness and care from the teachers to the students, but is unwilling to do the same for the adults in her care.

We must endeavor to be one school."
chrislehmann  tcsnmy  etaching  education  organizations  schoolculture  doublestandards  2011  management  leadership  administration  lcproject  inquiry  lifelonglearning  care  meetings  facultymeetings  kindness  cruelty  relationships 
september 2011 by robertogreco
prepone - Wiktionary
"1. (India) To reschedule to a time earlier than the current scheduled time."

[Also listed here (worth mining): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_English ]

[Related, also interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindi_English and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinglish ]
prepone  words  india  english  indianenglish  language  definitions  time  meetings  scheduling  adelanto 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Meetings are death, death to meetings
"If meetings aren’t work, what are they? They are soul-suckers. They extinguish original thought. They turn a job into a marathon, a career into nothing but chair-warming.

It used to be that most people worked for a living, and a few dispensable ‘suits’ spent their time in meetings. Good riddance, it kept them out of our hair.

Now, of course, the meetings have spread like a pox, and even those that used to produce are sucked into their vortex.

Al Pittampalli wants to change that. He demands we change that. And he is here to help you do just that."
meetings  productivity  tcsnmy  decisionmaking  empowerment  leadership  work  administration  conflict  coordination  collaboration  via:monikahardy 
august 2011 by robertogreco
OpenSpaceWorld: AboutOpenSpace
"Open Space Technology is one way to enable all kinds of people, in any kind of organization, to create inspired meetings and events. Over the last 20+ years, it has also become clear that opening space, as an intentional leadership practice, can create inspired organizations, where ordinary people work together to create extraordinary results with regularity.

In Open Space meetings, events & organizations, participants create & manage their own agenda of parallel working sessions around a central theme of strategic importance, such as: What is the strategy, group, organization or community that all stakeholders can support and work together to create?

With groups of 5 to 2000+ people—working in one-day workshops, 3-day conferences, or the regular weekly staff meeting—the common result is a powerful, effective connecting & strengthening of what's already happening in the organization: planning & action, learning & doing, passion & responsibility, participation & performance."
openspacetechnology  unconferences  autonomy  work  meetings  conferences  intentionalleadership  leadership  tcsnmy  lcproject  administration  management  parallelworking  learning  doing 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Six Common Misperceptions about Teamwork - J. Richard Hackman - The Conversation - Harvard Business Review [Wish someone I knew could get #1, #2, #3, and #5 straightened out]
"Teamwork and collaboration are critical to mission achievement in any organization that has to respond quickly to changing circumstances. My research in the U.S. intelligence community has not only affirmed that idea but also surfaced a number of mistaken beliefs about teamwork that can sidetrack productive collaboration…

Misperception #1: Harmony helps. Smooth interaction among collaborators avoids time-wasting debates about how best to proceed… [A description of what actually is the case follows each]

Misperception #2: It's good to mix it up. New members bring energy and fresh ideas to a team…

Misperception #3: Bigger is better…

Misperception #4: Face-to-face interaction is passé…

Misperception #5: It all depends on the leader…

Misperception #6: Teamwork is magical."
collaboration  business  management  leadership  administration  tcsnmy  via:steelemaley  culture  teams  work  small  groups  harmony  disagreement  teamwork  consistency  time  meetings  productivity  problemsolving  classideas  lcproject  myths 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Introverted Teacher? - ProTeacher Community [Thread follows the post quoted below]
"I am an introvert, meaning I am at my best when I have solitary time to reflect, appreciate, plan. I usually prefer being alone, or with my immediate family. When at school, I am very outgoing and friendly, yet, sometimes the nonstop contact (with students, parents, colleagues, administration…) seems to just wear me out. I was aware of this possibility going into teaching, but still felt it was my calling, and was inspired by the fact that Ghandi, MLK, Jr. and Oprah have the same personality type I have--and they obviously contributed great things in callings with extensive human contact.

…wondering if it's possible to be truly happy & effective as a teacher & be an introvert at the same time…thought of attending a faculty meeting is also often a downer…

What are your thoughts on this? Better yet, any happy teacher introverts out there? Any unhappy ones feeling out of place? Any insight/honesty would be greatly appreciated."
via:lukeneff  introverts  introversion  teaching  education  work  meetings  facultymeetings  faculty  cv  intorverts 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Antilunchism (Ftrain.com)
"The structure of the City encourages exactly this sort of interaction, but culturally it feels weird to just drop in on folks. Maybe it feels like that because people are not my native medium—so in order to fake being good at people I have some rules. For instance, I try to have questions. I ask, How are your kids? Who are you suing? What are you up to with the iPad? I assume that everyone's time is worth more than my own, because they are in their office and what the hell am I doing. So far no one seems unhappy I stopped by, and I'm pretty good at telling when people are unhappy with me, because I am a very anxious person. Usually they just put me to work, like at the office in midtown, or show me a PowerPoint. People always have PowerPoints they would like to share. I also make sure to leave."
cities  dropins  meetings  lunchism  paulford  nyc  people  introverts  conversation  offices  work  discussion 
may 2011 by robertogreco
"Broken Meetings (and how you'll fix them)" on Vimeo
"There's a big elephant in the office today that's becoming harder to ignore—meetings.

Even the best meetings can eat up massive person-hours, but those really awful ones will just kill you. You know the type.

Those time-wasting, rudderless, repetitious, zombie meetings where "deep dives," "drill downs," and "face time" often mean much is debated, little is accomplished, and everybody leaves feeling broken--AND, often as not, late for their next meeting.

In the premiere of this all-new presentation, Merlin Mann attacks Bad Meeting Culture with the same brand of practical, funny, and thought-provoking advice that his popular Inbox Zero talks brought to the topic of email."
productivity  meetings  management  merlinmann  2010  work 
april 2011 by robertogreco
ConferenceBike - Eric Staller ["A circular bike for 7 people! You're joking"]
"It's no joke: the ConferenceBike is a revolutionary way to bring people together. The ConferenceBike is pedaled by 7 riders sitting in a circle. One person steers while the other 6 pedal (or not) as the bike moves effortlessly along. More than 250 ConferenceBikes are now being enjoyed by a wide variety of groups in 14 countries. It is a tour bike in Berlin, Baltimore and Minneapolis; a tool for corporate team-building in Amsterdam and San Diego, a way for blind people to bike in Dublin and Florida. They have been used for fund-raising events and biking advocacy groups worldwide. ConferenceBikes are being used to transport employees on the Google campus in California; and as ice-breakers on university campuses in New York. Every group you can think of can use a ‘CoBi’ as a TOOL and a SYMBOL for bringing people together."
bikes  biking  meetings  conferences  interdependence 
march 2011 by robertogreco
How much time is wasted in your meetings?
"Do you feel like your life is wasted in useless meetings? No worries, just look around, count the number of people, guess the average salary (doesn't have to be that precise), type in the values and turn your laptop screen towards everyone else. For added effect, put it on the projector."
money  statistics  counter  meetings  wastedtime  wastedmoney  calculator  humor 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Without Thought | Metropolis Magazine
"At IDEO…international interdisciplinary team…included engineers, designers, and even a clinical psychologist."

"tossed around the idea of inviting weekly speakers to make meetings productive. Fukasawa…thought it would be more useful if team members spoke about their own philosophies & how their cultures influenced them. They all agreed on one condition: that Fukasawa go first."

"…result was a presentation on hari…Eastern philosophy, distilled down into design language…"usually translated as ‘tension,' but that’s not correct…It’s very hard to explain.” [Explains.]"

"“That’s why it was important for him to go back to Japan,” Brown says. “One of the things that released him was the ability to work and tell the story of his work in his own language. Naoto has gone from somebody who crafts objects to somebody who crafts relationships with objects.”"

“I think objects or things are shifting toward the surrounding walls for integration or otherwise into our body for integration,”
design  interview  japan  philosophy  hari  tension  naotofukasawa  glvo  ideo  via:preoccupations  reflection  identity  culture  howwework  conversation  leadership  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  language  japanese  objects  evocativeobjects  muji  simplicity  slow  presentations  meetings  relationships  socialobjects  architecture  industrialdesign  craft 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Blaise Agüera y Arcas, the Mind Behind Bing Maps | Creating - WSJ.com
"applied a coat of blackboard paint to the wall himself because he dislikes odor of whiteboard marker…manages about 60 people…most stimulating meetings…are "jam sessions," in which people riff on each others' ideas…Prototypes are crucial…most productive moments often occur outside office, w/out distraction of meetings. After he has dinner & puts children to bed…he & wife, neuroscientist at UW, often sit side-by-side working on laptops late into night…Though…greater management responsibilities over years…still considers it vital to find time to develop projects on his own. "You see people who evolved in this way, & sometimes it looks like their brains died"…finds driving a car "deadening," so he takes a bus to work from his home, reading or working on his laptop…When young…dismantled things both animal & inanimate, from cameras to guinea pigs, so that he could see how they worked"
blaiseagüerayarcas  meetings  distraction  microsoft  bing  maps  mapping  nightowls  management  administration  leadership  brainstorming  iteration  prototyping  ommuting  cv  buses  cars  driving  howthingswork  detachment  attention  work  howwework  creativity  invention 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Ben Pieratt's Blog In Praise of Quitting Your Job
"for some people, work is personal…in the same way that singing or playing the piano or painting is personal.

As a creative person, you’ve been given ability to build things from nothing by way of hard work over long periods of time. Creation is a deeply personal & rewarding activity, which means your Work should also be deeply personal & rewarding. If it’s not, then something is amiss.

Creation is entirely dependent on ownership.

Ownership not as a %age of equity, but as a measure of your ability to change things for the better. To build & grow & fail & learn. This is no small thing. Creativity is the manifestation of lateral thinking, & w/out tangible results, it becomes stunted. We have to see fruits of our labors, good or bad, or there’s no motivation to proceed, nothing to learn from to inform next decision. States of approval & decisions-by-committee & constant compromises are third-party interruptions of an internal dialog that needs to come to its own conclusions."

[via: http://kottke.org/10/10/for-some-people-work-is-personal ]
employment  entrepreneurship  freelancing  creativity  psychology  cv  quitting  yearoff  depression  advice  business  lifehacks  jobs  life  frustration  ownership  meaning  glvo  creation  work  compromise  meetings  interruptions  decisionmaking 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Mule Design Studio’s Blog: The Chokehold of Calendars
"Meetings may be toxic, but calendars are the superfund sites that allow that toxicity to thrive. All calendars suck. And they all suck in the same way. Calendars are a record of interruptions. And quite often they’re a battlefield over who owns whose time.

In my experience, most people don’t schedule their work. They schedule the interruptions that prevent their work from happening. In the case of a business like ours, what clients pay us to make and do happens in the cracks between meetings, or worse, after business hours.

I’ve yet to see a résumé—and I hope I never do— that lists “attends meetings well” as a skill. Yet attending meetings ends up being a key component of many jobs. And it’s stupid.

The problem here is two-fold. Part of it is software. Part of it is human behavior. You can’t fix the software without adjusting the human behavior. And there is no point to addressing the human behavior if the software won’t support it."
via:robinsloan  meetings  productivity  time  work  cv  gtd  management  calendars  administration  tcsnmy 
october 2010 by robertogreco
TodaysMeet
"TodaysMeet helps you embrace the backchannel and connect with your audience in realtime.

Encourage the room to use the live stream to make comments, ask questions, and use that feedback to tailor your presentation, sharpen your points, and address audience needs."
backchannel  twitter  onlinetoolkit  classideas  conferences  meetings  teaching  presentations  discussion  collaboration  communication  technology  chatroom  backchanneling  todaysmeet 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Kill The Meeting - Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Education
"I've got a pretty long-term fascination with the way Ideo work, simply because their outputs are so fascinating, and the means of getting there more so. I've worked in enough organisations that call themselves creative to know that few match the pace and flow of Ideo.

The Week In Two Minutes clip above shows a key reason why. Look at the variance of team work - people working alone, in pairs, in threes or fours; spot the different members by their t-shirt colours, showing how the makeup of the team changes over the course of a day.

What we do not see is any form of 'routine' meeting, some kind of default everyone-in-one-room, one-hour-on-Outlook, meeting-for-the-sake-of-meeting meeting. Take two minutes out to see it, and then email the video to a friend or colleagues to spread the lesson."
meetings  organization  ideo  ewanmcintosh  productivity  business  tcsnmy  leadership  management  administration 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Why You Can’t Work at Work | Jason Fried | Big Think
"With its constant commotion, unnecessary meetings, and infuriating wastes of time, the modern workplace makes us all work longer, less focused hours. Jason Fried explains how we can change all of this."
jasonfried  37signals  bigthink  interruptions  meetings  communication  business  distraction  gtd  office  management  design  leadership  productivity  process  workplace  work  tcsnmy  creativity 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Nonformality | The quality of dialogue
"The nature of our conversations determines the quality of the ideas we share, and therefore it’s worth reflecting on the ways that we talk to each other – check out this infographic on dialogue by Peter Stoyko:"
communication  dialogue  groups  meetings  roles  organizations  conversation  tcsnmy  peterstoyko  learning  conflict  infographics  dialog 
june 2010 by robertogreco
R.J. Cutler: What I Learned From Anna Wintour
"I work in the film business, where schmoozing is an art form, lunch hour lasts from 12:30 until 3, and every meeting takes an hour whether there's an hour's worth of business or not. Not so at Vogue, where meetings are long if they go more than seven minutes and everyone knows to show up on time, prepared and ready to dive in. In Anna's world, meetings often start a few minutes before they're scheduled. If you arrive five minutes late, chances are you'll have missed it entirely. Imagine the hours of time that are saved every day by not wasting so much of it in meetings."
meetings  leadership  management  productivity  business  learning  via:kottke  administration  tcsnmy  annawintour 
february 2010 by robertogreco
All Hands Meetings « High Tech Coaching [I'm wondering what this implies for classroom situations like ours.]
"Getting everyone in one room together is a tradition that starts when a company is small, and often it continues in the same format well past the point that it's an efficient use of everyone's time. For a tiny startup, you can go around the room and have everyone talk about what they're up to, and coordinate who's doing what. It has a kind of charming informality, and since there aren't too many people there, it's not going to take too long. As a company gets bigger, that format starts to break down, usually at around 10-15 people."
management  meetings  organization  growth  projectmanagement  administration  tcsnmy  leadership  lcproject  classsize  groups  via:migurski 
january 2010 by robertogreco
How to Lead and Run a Meeting | The Art of Manliness
"People hate meetings...[they're] not inherently pencil-in-eye inducing, it’s how meetings are run. Without a real leader, meetings can become unproductive & inefficient, not only wasting time & money, but sapping office morale...doesn’t have to be this way. A man knows how to lead. He knows how to run a meeting that starts on time, ends on time, & gets things done. Here’s how. Establish whether the meeting is absolutely necessary...Set an agenda...Type up an agenda for the meeting with a specific list of what items will be discussed and in what order...Make sure key people will be in attendance...Talk one on one with people to resolve pet issues before the meeting...Bring bagels or donuts. [I disagree]...Set up the chairs in a U-shape...Start on time...Begin with what was accomplished since the last meeting...Get to the heart of the matter...Come up with a tangible solution...Control the discussion...Summarize the meeting...End on time...Follow up and make sure things gets done. "
meetings  productivity  business  howto  management  leadership  administration  tcsnmy  via:cburell  morale 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Mr Bojangles: Worshipping workshops
"The main problem is that brainstorms must have been invented by extroverts. They are a source of at least dismay and at worst downright fear amongst introverts.

As an introvert myself, I speak from experience. If I want to get into a problem, I want to think about it. Then discuss it a bit. Then read. Then ponder. Then talk again. It's a long, thoughtful process. No hurry. It's the "Tai Chi" style of brainstorming. It's the quiet force of a flowing stream wearing down the problem, cutting a new path...As usual in business, as in life, there is not a right or wrong way to tackle problems. There are just different ways. And lively, boisterous brainstorming sessions are certainly one of the tools in the kitbag for executives to use. But for introverts they can be a real pain and extroverts need to be aware of that before they go galloping off down that path, shouting yehaar and dragging their depressed looking introvert colleagues behind them."
brainstorming  meetings  process  thinking  via:preoccupations  introverts  extroverts 
november 2009 by robertogreco
The Way I Work: Jason Fried of 37Signals
"If anyone ever writes us with a complaint, our stance is it's our fault -- for not being clear enough or not making something work the way it should. I'm constantly keeping an eye on the problems that keep arising & then we address them. But I don't keep a list of all the complaints, because that's too time-consuming. We also get 1000s of suggestions. The default answer is always no. A lot of companies lie and say, "Sure, we'll do that." We never make promises that we can't keep, so we say, "We'll keep that in mind." Some customers don't like that...We rarely have meetings...huge waste of time...costly...chop your day into small bits...Creative people need unstructured time to get in the zone...We don't have big, long-term plans, because they're scary -- & usually wrong. Making massive decisions keeps people up at night...The closer you can get to understanding what that next moment might be, the less worried you are. Most of the decisions we make are in the moment"
37signals  productivity  planning  collaboration  entrepreneurship  strategy  jasonfried  business  work  administration  leadership  management  tcsnmy  meetings  complaints  bloat  featurecreep  features  lcproject 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Beware managers with free time - (37signals)
"There’s nothing more dangerous than an average manager with free time on his hands. When your work is solely coordinating and assigning other people’s tasks, topping off a slow day usually means making up more (needless) stuff for others to do. This is in part the tyranny of the 8-hour work day paradigm. When the work is progressing as planned and the core issues have been addressed, the right move for the manager is often to step back. But if all you know how do is “manage”, there’s no fallback. Nothing else to fill your time with.

What you’re left with is net-negative management. That the presence of a manager actually detracts more value than not having one at all would do.

The alternative for many smaller teams or shops is the combined idea of managers of one and working managers. That management can be less than a full-time role, it can be a responsibility that people who also does the work can take upon them when needed."
management  leadership  administration  meetings  work  productivity  culture  downtime  37signals  office  bullshit  jobs 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation | Video on TED.com
"Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward."
danielpink  google  motivation  psychology  rewards  autonomy  management  leadership  innovation  work  education  science  economics  incentives  purpose  creativity  business  meetings  productivity  mastery  tcsnmy  grading  grades  behavior 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Why Craigslist Is Such a Mess
"The long-running tech-industry war between engineers and marketers has been ended at craigslist by the simple expedient of having no marketers. Only programmers, customer service reps, and accounting staff work at craigslist. There is no business development, no human resources, no sales. As a result, there are no meetings. The staff communicates by email and IM. This is a nice environment for employees of a certain temperament. "Not that we're a Shangri-La or anything," Buckmaster says, "but no technical people have ever left the company of their own accord."" AND "There may be a peace sign on every page, but the implicit political philosophy of craigslist has a deeply conservative, even a tragic cast. Every day the choristers of the social web chirp their advice about openness and trust; craigslist follows none of it, and every day it grows."
via:kottke  meetings  entrepreneurship  community  business  socialmedia  management  craignewmark  craigslist  startup  strategy  advertising  technology  internet  culture  web  social  journalism 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Paul Graham on meeting time
"Pre-industrial work ... was task-oriented: whether you worked in the fields or town, the rhythm of your working day wasn't determined by a clock, but by Nature and the work you needed to get done. With the rise of the factory system, and the growing specialization of labor within factories, the rhythms of work were defined not by organic tasks, but by machines and the factory itself: you worked a certain number of hours a day, and then you stopped. Work was no longer task-oriented, but time-oriented.

Of course, there are types of work that have always remained task-oriented, even when we're measuring or regulating or standardizing them using time. Cooking is one. Parenting is another. Babies are as demanding as any factory-owner, but as any new parent will tell you, they run very much on their own clocks. But today, when the two are at odds, task-orientation loses out to time-orientation: managers set meeting times for subordinates, some of whom are likely to be young mothers."
industrialization  time  work  taskoriented  meetings  paulgraham  alexsoojung-kimpang  specialization  industrialrevolution  parenting  timemanagement  specialists 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule
"When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That's no problem for someone on the manager's schedule. There's always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker's schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it."
scheduling  management  administration  leadership  creativity  organization  meetings  paulgraham  timemanagement  business  culture  software  productivity  programming  collaboration  work  development  time  schedules  makertime  makerstime  makersschedule 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Meeting Ticker
"Be sure to include overhead costs like facilities and benefits. If this works in Internet Explorer, it is purely by accident."
humor  meetings  money  productivity  management  administration  gtd  calculator  projectmanagement 
july 2009 by robertogreco
i-wood with blazing 3B technology
"a reaction to everyone using their i-phones/blackberries/other devices in the most irritating ways...to use when your friends/enemies/passing acquaintances are being jerks with their hand-held technology." Features: Web: "Hey, didn’t you need to check and see when the movie started? Now with the i-wood’s built in web connectivity you can not only check when your movie starts but when every movie starts ever. Or check when all future movies will start until the end of time because we all need more useless information at the tips of our fingers. In fact use the web for what it’s really for... porn, glorious porn. Go ahead and look at it in public there is no shame left in your soul anyway, just do it." Applications: Meeting ignore: "Now when you are in a meeting you have a reason to ignore everything that is being talked about. Who cares if they are telling you something important. The Meeting Ignore application gives you the right to be as rude as possible."
iphone  humor  sarcasm  meetings  society  etiquette  satire  iwood  technology 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Survey Says Baby Boomers Think Playing With Your Blackberry During A Meeting Is Rude
"The generation gap all too often expresses itself as a technology gap. A survey of white collar workers (most of them in the legal profession) commissioned by NexisLexis offers a glimpse at changing attitudes towards technology between Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Yers. ... My advice to anyone who finds Blackberry or laptop use during meetings rude or distracting: have fewer meetings or get to the point faster. Invariably, the conversations people are having on their laptops, iPhones, and Blackberries are increasingly more interesting than the ones that are going on in the room."
attention  genx  geny  netgen  boomers  babyboomers  generations  technology  communication  work  etiquette  laptops  mobile  phones  twitter  facebook  email  continuouspartialattention  meetings 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Stuart Brown says play is more than fun -- it's vital | Video on TED.com
"A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults -- and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age."
stuartbrown  play  learning  business  work  depression  psychology  ted  life  biology  innovation  tcsnmy  lcproject  deschooling  unschooling  schools  well-being  d.school  design  flow  meetings  cv  neoteny 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Preoccupations - Meetings Are a Matter of Precious Time - NYTimes.com
"As a general rule, meetings make individuals perform below their capacity and skill levels.

This doesn’t mean we should always avoid face-to-face meetings — but it is certain that every organization has too many meetings, and far too many poorly designed ones.

The main reason we don’t make meetings more productive is that we don’t value our time properly. The people who call meetings and those who attend them are not thinking about time as their most valuable resource."

[via: http://www.37signals.com/svn/posts/1536-it-is-certain-that-every-organization-has ]
meetings  administration  leadership  management  time  productivity  tcsnmy  organization  efficiency  workplace  business  culture  workflow  work 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Planning to Share versus Just Sharing at EdTechPost
"Contrast this with these formal initiatives to network “organizations.” In my experience, these start with meetings in which people first agree that sharing is a good idea, and then follow up meetings to decide what they might share, then, somewhere way down the line, some sharing might happen. The whole time, some of the parts of a network are already present and could have just started sharing what they have, heck they could have started before ever meeting, even WITHOUT ever meeting, but this never happens. (I say part, because if it’s a network it will grow to include many others not in any intial group.)"
education  learning  networking  sharing  blogging  knowledge  bestpractice  institutions  organizations  collaboration  community  control  deschooling  lcproject  administration  management  collaborative  meetings  schools  leadership  ples  tcsnmy  open  networks  transparency  bureaucracy  decisionmaking  fear  safety  unintendedconsequences  obsolescence  workplace  gamechanging  self-preservation 
december 2008 by robertogreco
ed4wb » Blog Archive » Institutions as Barriers, Organizations as Enablers
"Schools’ automatic immune response has been to try to control the ELN by creating boundaries & regulations aimed at “protecting” the institution & those within it...need to protect itself from obsolescence, thus bureaucracy in charge of creating rules & regulations...This type of safety net rests on top of the institution’s members–not under them, preventing a free flow of potentially useful information. In an age when the tools for sharing, collaboration, and collective action are ubiquitous and dirt cheap, a controlling paradigm can be quite limiting and counter-productive." ... "PLNs & ELNs function best when they form organically–not due to decree or lengthy planning; when they can tap into the power of disparate voices–often found outside of the institution; are need-driven, amorphous, self-organizing, self-policing, fluid, permeable & control-wary. In other words, when they are given access to everything schools pretty much hate."
education  learning  networking  sharing  blogging  knowledge  bestpractice  institutions  organizations  collaboration  community  control  deschooling  lcproject  administration  management  collaborative  meetings  schools  leadership  ples  tcsnmy  clayshirky  open  networks  transparency  bureaucracy  decisionmaking  fear  safety  unintendedconsequences  obsolescence  workplace  gamechanging  self-preservation 
december 2008 by robertogreco
10 Steps to Take Action and Eliminate Bureaucracy | Zen Habits
"I’ve worked in a few offices where the paperwork, endless meetings, and other bureaucracy was ridiculous — so much so that the actual productive work being done was sometimes outweighed by the bureaucratic steps that needed to be taken each day.

When the focus is on action instead of bureaucracy, things get done."
administration  management  leadership  bureaucracy  meetings  tcsnmy  strategy  time  productivity  work  efficiency  action 
november 2008 by robertogreco
2000 Owens Sutton - Meetings as Status Contests [.pdf]
"This paper develops a conceptual perspective describing the status orders that exist in face-to-face groups. We discuss the existence of status orders, how movement within them occurs, and how the presence of these orders affects what happens within a group and within the organization in which a group is embedded."
meetings  2000  study  status  administration  management  leadership  groups  groupdynamics  organizations  filetype:pdf  media:document 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Ross Mayfield's Weblog: Meeting Hell
"Meetings are a big productivity killer that you can control by working together better. Studies have shown the cost of meetings, you probably spend a week per month in meetings, and you can calculate your own cost of meetings. The issue isn't just where you spend your team's time, but how you spend it. ... In summary, I don't take the extreme position that meetings are wholly unproductive, and the issue isn't the cost of meetings, but how to increase their return by working together better."

[See also the list of related readings at the end.]
via:preoccupations  meetings  productivity  leadership  management  tips  advice  administration 
october 2008 by robertogreco
MeetWays - Find a point of interest between two given addresses - Lets Meet!
"Meetways.com was created to allow users to find a point of interest between two addresses. Let's say you need to meet a friend or client for lunch on the other side of town? Meetways.com ways will allow you to enter both addresses and the type of restaurant you are looking for and give you the exact halfway point and a list of restaurants in that area. Save hours trying to figure out the halfway point on a map and instead find it in one simple click!"
meetingplace  mapping  transportation  travel  maps  meetings  googlemaps  networking  social  halfway 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Productivity 2.0: How the New Rules of Work Are Changing the Game | Zen Habits
"1. Don’t Crank - Work With Deeper Focus. 2. Toss Out Meetings and Planning — Just Start. 3. Paperwork is out — automate with technology. 4. Don’t multi-task — multi-project and single-task. 5. Produce less, not more. 6. Forget about organization — use technology. 7. Out with hierarchies — in with freedom. 8. Work fewer hours, not more."
work  workplace  management  administration  leadership  focus  multitasking  singletasking  planning  meetings  efficiency  paperless  organization  productivity  qualityoflife  monotasking 
october 2008 by robertogreco
A Shrewdness of Apes: Tips for new administrators (or any bosses who want some honest feedback)
"1. Have meetings only if you have something to say. Holding meetings for the sake of holding meetings, or to show the higher-ups that you hold regular meetings, wastes valuable time for everyone. This is especially important in the days before the school year actually starts... 2. Telling a room full of people you appreciate them is very nice indeed. Telling five individuals on your staff you appreciate something specific they have done is far nicer...4. Hold all teachers (and students) to the same standards...5. Know the behavior guide. If there are rules in there you will not enforce, get rid of them. Then follow the behavior guide when dealing with discipline...12. Ultimately, it IS about the teaching. That is the thing you are there to enable...13. Finally, if you didn't like teaching, or if you weren't good at it, for God's sake, don't become an administrator!"

[via: http://joannejacobs.com/2008/09/02/tips-for-administrators/ ]
administration  schools  leadership  management  meetings  advice  education 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Meetings suck, but they don't have to | Steve Tobak's views on dysfunctional corporate behavior - CNET News.com
"In any case, 15 years ago, a consultant taught me his version of the rules for effective meetings. I've adapted those rules to my own style and used them to help management teams work together effectively ever since. And let me tell you, they really work. So here they are in two parts: The three rules of meeting etiquette and the five rules of engagement for effective meetings."
productivity  management  administration  leadership  meetings  etiquette  business  work 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Zapproved: A Lightweight Meeting Killer - ReadWriteWeb
"Want to go to fewer meetings at work? By making group decision making faster, easier and more accountable, new app Zapproved may help you avoid hours of painful face to face drudgery or endless email loose ends and get back to work. Zapproved is a lightweight hosted decision making service, it's essentially like Evite for approval processes."
meetings  onlinetoolkit  decisionmaking  groups  social  work 
august 2008 by robertogreco
How to Save the World - 12 Tools That Will Soon Go the Way of Fax and CDs
"9. Classrooms:...nothing that can be done in a classroom that can't be done using desktop videoconferencing with screensharing, for free. No travel costs/time/pollution... 10. Meetings: Same rationale as #9. 11. Job Titles: [Millenials] expect to have 12 jobs in their lives on average & work on varied projects with cross-disciplinary teams rather than in a defined role. 12. Offices: ...next generation works anywhere, anytime, anyway -- home, car, coffee shop, and there is "virtually" no reason to go into an office to talk on the phone and work on the PC
education  work  future  obsolescence  trends  communication  learning  careers  geny  millennials  meetings  classrooms  schools  titles  informationmanagement  classroom 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Seth's Blog: The TV dividend
"I don't watch TV and I don't go to meetings. You'd be amazed at the difference it makes."
meetings  tv  television  time  productivity  clayshirky  sethgodin 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Will your next meeting pass the "blizzard goggles" test? - (37signals)
"Phil had six meetings scheduled for that day that were canceled because everyone was having trouble getting to the office. When he returned the next day, four of those meetings were never rescheduled. One was resolved with an e-mail, another with a phone
meetings  productivity  organizations  management  administration  work  time 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Sleep | Brain Rules
"Around 3 p.m., 12 hours after midpoint of your sleep, all your brain wants to do is nap...nap might make you more productive...Don’t schedule important meetings at 3 p.m. It just doesn’t make sense."
sleep  meetings  productivity  administration  management  learning  naps  johnmedina  brain 
june 2008 by robertogreco
isen.blog: Another Reason Not To Teleconference(!)
"Teleconferencing must be getting pretty good for the airlines to be advertising against it! In fact, it is."
flight  future  travel  trends  via:preoccupations  sustainability  teleconferencing  meetings  conferences 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Seth's Blog: The new standard for meetings and conferences
"The new rule seems to be that if you're going to spend the time and the money to see someone face to face, be in their face. Interact or stay home!"
meetings  conferences  time  travel  events  unconferences  sethgodin  marketing  communication  collaboration  management  leadership  trends  workshops  work  sustainability  presentations  business 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Truthdig - Liberating the Schoolhouse [see also: http://joannejacobs.com/2008/05/06/young-teachers-save-school-lose-jobs/]
"She had turned the management pyramid on its head and taught the teachers how to take control. The school was not a machine that ground out results, but an uncommonly productive web of human relationships that had emerged from Infante’s vision and cour
leadership  administration  hierarchy  schools  management  politics  teaching  learning  work  business  democracy  ownership  control  power  decisionmaking  meetings 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Borderland » Blog Archive » The Mountains are High
"The top-down/bottom-up disagreement was explored recently in a fascinating story, Liberating the Schoolhouse. A researcher from UCLA, Wellford Wilms, documented the tenure of a new principal who took control of a troubled school in S. California, and managed by several measures to pull the school out of its tailspin, only to be replaced by a more traditional administrator. Her unusual approach to leadership was to require the school’s dispirited staff to run their own meetings and begin making significant decisions that would affect real change."
leadership  hierarchy  meetings  organizations  schools  management  administration  democracy  control  policy  politics  alternative  ricardosemler  education  work 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Seth's Blog: Let's skip the meeting
"Today's resolution: skip at least one meeting every day for the next two weeks. Watch what happens."
business  sethgodin  meetings  productivity  humor  management  leadership  administration  organizations  time 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Twitter / Johnnie Moore: Thinking meetings are terrible
"Thinking meetings are terrible largely cos education system programs us to put up with absurd levels of boredom & to repress our excitement"
boredom  education  meetings  schools  schooling  via:preoccupations  society 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Tips on how to work smarter from Ricardo Semler - (37signals)
"Treat employees like adults; Write less (short, direct memos, emails); Minimize your information intake; take time to think; Be confrontational in your presentations; How to run a meeting"
37signals  ricardosemler  management  work  productivity  business  organizations  leadership  administration  meetings  writing  lifehacks  communication 
april 2008 by robertogreco
On meetings | Decentralized Information Group (DIG) Breadcrumbs
"Meetingboarding: (n) the sensation of being unable to breathe arising from continuous immersion in meeting after meeting"..."The problem with email is that it has low emotional bandwidth."
meetings  email  work  organizations  communication  decisionmaking  administration  management  leadership  via:preoccupations  neologisms  words  phrases  language 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Doodle
"Doodle is a Web-based service for finding suitable dates for group events (e.g., an appointment, a conference call, a family reunion, etc.). Doodle is particularly useful to people who do not use a common calendar or groupware system."
via:javierarbona  applications  freeware  generator  projectmanagement  scheduling  management  meetings  community  coordination  collaboration  calendar  webapps  services  planning  productivity  groups  free  time 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Experiment (But Strategically) | Mission to Learn
"a lot of learning can be gained from experimenting just for the sake of it...most organizations benefit from having a general strategic framework in which experimentation takes place. Why? Among other benefits, it helps you know when to quit."
via:migurski  experimentation  innovation  meetings  failure  risk  change 
january 2008 by robertogreco
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