By Barry Stern
Part Two: In Part 1 of this series, newly published author of The Work Revolution: Freedom and Excellence for All and Google alum Julie Clow made the case for why we need a workplace revolution. In this second part of our discussion, I asked Julie to provide some practical tips for revolutionizing the workplace. First, I asked her to comment on a very hot topic in the corridors of DDI and with many of our clients – innovation. I asked Julie for her perspective on what we can do to drive innovation.
The notion of creating an “idea-testing rather than an idea-judging culture” resonates strongly for me, and yet I am struck by how few leaders I’ve known through the years seem truly dedicated to creating the space for their folks to do just that without some fear of repercussion. And breaking down the walls between organizational silos, sometimes even between cubes, is something many leaders at all levels seem to recognize and seek to impact. Digging in further to the role of leaders, I was curious to gain Julie’s perspective on what leader actions it takes to drive a workplace revolution.
DDI has been espousing the notion of leaders “seeking” vs. “telling” for many years; however Julie’s words emphasize the aggregate strength in tapping into the collective energy and ideas of our employees. And to leaders in the “never-off” world to which she refers in her book, it is easy to see why Julie would turn to the notion of prioritization as so critical.
It struck me as our discussion unfolded that it would be interesting to get Julie’s take on what the role of HR might be in the Revolution, so that was where I turned to next.
So for Julie, it would appear the primary role of HR in this regard is to be the “culture carrier” and to put in place tools, systems, skills, and communications that support the more open culture she is asking us to create. And, speaking of culture, I couldn’t help but wonder about what it was like to be inside the presumably open culture of Google. Is it in fact that “revolutionized workplace” that we think it to be? We’ll get a peek inside the Google culture in the final installment of our discussion with Julie Clow coming up in the next week or so.