Friday, August 07, 2009

Personal Initiative vs Business Hierarchy

As I've moved through jobs I've seen things I liked and things I didn't like. I decided pretty quickly that I don't like the hierarchical rigidness of big companies. I do however enjoy the large problems they have to solve.

So between wanting to tackle large and difficult problems, and wanting the flexibility to exercise initiative, I started to study entrepreneurship and startups. That lead me to study business management styles. I wanted to know what kind of company I would fit in with and what it was about big companies that made them so different from small companies. That was when I started to understand the rigid structure that forms inside most companies as they grow.

I took that rigid structure for granted until I read a book called Maverick. It's a book about allowing all levels of your organization to self-organize and self-manage. It completely changed my perspective about how businesses should be run. At the time, I didn't know of any companies that had incorporated any of these ideas.

Evidently not many do. Rob Patterson pointed me to a presentation about Netflix and said, "In a lifetime of studying organizational culture, I have seen nothing this clear or brilliant." For me it is really exciting to have more study material as I learn about cultivating personal initiative in businesses.

The presentation says that it is for reading more than presenting so dig in. It's a long one, 128 slides, but as I digest it I'm sure I'll have some new ideas to share.

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