Coming to Austin in March is my talk ‘Organization Design is for Lovers.’ It was accepted for Future15, SXSW Interactive’s TED-style short-form solo presentation format. Below is the proposal that I submitted to SXSW. I’m going to have to pare it down quite a bit to fit into 15 minutes! What would you like to see most from this proposal?:
The importance of building an exceptional team is occasionally minimized by creative business owners. It is a “secondary task” unrelated on the surface to the work we deliver to clients, often triggered under duress by an event: a huge new client project to ramp up for, the opening of a new office, the exodus of a few great employees, or market events that force a restructuring. For this reason hiring often takes on an urgent tone and is executed with haste or fear. No decision can have a bigger impact on the direction of your work and ultimately your ability to push your ideas to action.
Hiring exceptional people allows a leader to set strategic direction and then hand over incremental decisions to a smart and creative team. In Linchpin, Seth Godin uses the example of the fast and complex Japanese transit system which operates on schedule and on budget, not by top-down directive, but by a large pool of empowered employees making the best decisions in the moment. “Letting people in the organization use their judgement turns out to be faster and cheaper–but only if you hire the right people and reward them for having the right attitude.“
The trick is attracting those smart and creative specialists–who increasingly independent and set their own terms–and keeping them interested.
This talk will focus how to organize around and execute on building a killer organization. It will touch on the nuts and bolts of recruiting and hiring, interview techniques, how to think about designing an organization, and methods for keeping exceptional people motivated and doing great work.
Let’s eat some BBQ!