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  #101  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:17 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by bengangmo View Post
I want to be able to take my colleagues seriously.

I can't take someone coming to work in a star trek uniform seriously.

How much effort does it take to wear a pair of chinos and a polo? Is that so uncomfortable?
I'm so sorry that you are unable to judge someone's competence except through the clothes he wears.
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  #102  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:27 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
And even Academy Award winning actors have to be able to perform on cue when the camera and lights and sound are ready. You don't get to say "I'm really not in the mood today" if you want to stay in the business.

What makes geeks so much different than writers or actors that they feel they don't need to be held to a professional standard?
Ever been on a set? Actors get judged by how they perform when the camera goes on and the sound is up to speed. These people should be judged by how they generate code, which is like the camera being on, no how they act in the dressing room.

Maybe you think that code production is a direct function of hours worked, like assembly line work. Not hardly. I don't know about other people, but I don't write code by typing it line by line, I write it in my head and then dump it onto the screen. Most of my stuff works the first time, and I am a lot more productive than industry averages. I write code while reading the Dope. I write it while taking a walk. Places with top intellectual performers have very relaxed atmospheres because they know that intellectual work is not done in obvious ways.
I had a guy working for me who often fell asleep in the afternoon. He developed some revolutionary algorithms, and implemented them also, and I figured he was more productive asleep than a lot of people were awake (and I had good people.) You think he would have been more productive if I yelled at him for napping?
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  #103  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:32 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Originally Posted by black rabbit View Post

. . .

I had to become less of a translator, and more of a couples counselor. If you get my drift.
Elegantly stated. Thank you.
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  #104  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:40 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
"Talent"? The guys on my staff are getting paid to build data feeds using SQL. They aren't Academy Award nominated actors. We have people who I'd describe as "talent" but they are disconnected from customer interactions. They are the product developers and mathematicians who design our software and it's algorithms.

In fact, the general direction of my company is apply some Henry Ford style automation and that would require less "talent" from these guys. Although that actually begs the question of a much larger, long-term career development issue.
First, if you can automate what these guys do, you will, and should, and their future is not going to depend on what they wear at work. Can they do something more creative, something that cannot be automated? If not, too bad.

Second, talent and connection to the customer are not at all equivalent. I did a lot of technical marketing support, and the sales guys seemed to like me to talk to customers. But we had some very good engineers who were disasters doing demos for customers. Part of our trade show prep was figuring out which engineers could be trusted on the floor and which could not be.
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  #105  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:53 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is online now
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
The question isn't why writing SQL queries is different from writing fiction, the question is WHETHER these SQL writers are different from your novelist friend. He needs that structure in order to produce a sufficient quantity of work. Do these SQL authors?

If they do, then by all means their manager should supply it. If they don't, then barring some other reason for supplying it, he shouldn't.

The other difference, of course, is that your friend places these limits on himself. They're not going to lower his morale or alienate him from his work, causing him to seek a different boss. They're limits he knows he needs. He presumably doesn't place unnecessary limits on himself (e.g., he doesn't require himself to work in a cubicle, if he knows that's not what he needs). A manager imposing limits on employees runs the danger of placing unnecessary limits on the employees and thereby lowering their morale or encouraging them to go work for someone else.
However, if you talk to successful writers, the vast majority set themselves up with this sort of discipline. Now the question becomes, are SQL writers a different population (not as individuals, but as a population) that they don't need this discipline? If they are, great, but if, like most human beings, most of them require the discipline in order to do the job, then setting up an undiciplined corporate culture is going to be one In wHich most people fail.

Moreover, if tech folks don't want external discipline, they can go into business for themselves, like my writer friend has. Or like many, many consultants I know in the IT business (I used to be in the IT consulting busisness). But these guys are choosing to work for The Man, and The Man gets to set parameters around how they work.
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  #106  
Old 05-07-2012, 01:43 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
But these guys are choosing to work for The Man, and The Man gets to set parameters around how they work.
Of course The Man does; if you think I'm saying otherwise, I'm not making myself clear. I'm speaking to The Man and offering guidelines for figuring out whether specific parameters will lead to The Man getting what He wants out of the situation.

Here's the thing: I don't see anyone denying that some highly productive workplaces (Google, Pixar, etc.) have very untraditional workplace cultures. I haven't heard anyone suggest that those workplaces succeed in spite of their untraditional culture. So the question becomes not whether an untraditional culture CAN succeed, but whether an untraditional culture can succeed in this particular instance.

msmith hasn't given any specific reasons why it can't; instead, he's called that culture childish and abnormal, which makes me think it repels him for irrational reasons, and that he ought to take stock of his own prejudices and figure out how to set them aside before making any decisions.
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  #107  
Old 05-07-2012, 02:27 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is online now
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Google and Pixar aren't exactly "average" companies in terms of who they hire. In both cases, they get to cherry pick employees, and in both cases, they select for extraordinarily driven individuals who have a lot of self discipline. Both are profitable companies, so they can afford some inefficiencies. If msmith's employees are Google or Pixar caliber, I'd be shocked. Moreover, his company isn't profitable and therefore can't afford inefficiencies.

Netflix is another company that does this...and their managers are told to coach out anyone who isnt a top 10% performer, so you'd better be pretty fantastic to get by with their casual atmosphere, most people have their nose to the grindstone despite their casual policies just to survive. Apple is, and they expect minimum ten to twelve hour days. If you want any time away from work, you work at work.
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  #108  
Old 05-07-2012, 02:33 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
Google and Pixar aren't exactly "average" companies in terms of who they hire. In both cases, they get to cherry pick employees, and in both cases, they select for extraordinarily driven individuals who have a lot of self discipline. Both are profitable companies, so they can afford some inefficiencies. If msmith's employees are Google or Pixar caliber, I'd be shocked. Moreover, his company isn't profitable and therefore can't afford inefficiencies.
Then this is how to address it: explain that, as long as the company isn't profitable, the work culture needs to change. That's no-harm, no-foul. Again, I'm not saying the work culture there is perfect; I'm saying that if msmith regards Google's employees and Pixar's employees as being spoiled children (along with his own) simply because of their dress standards and their recreational activities, he's way off-base. Instead he needs to be evaluating them on relevant criteria like the ones you mention: are his employees driven? Are they self-disciplined? Are they producing a lot of wonderful stuff?

In other words, the questions I posed earlier .
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  #109  
Old 05-07-2012, 02:59 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is online now
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and as I posted earlier, "talent" needs to be aware of those pesky pointy haired boss concepts like cost and efficiency or standard processes..or they may be shocked when the reduction in force happens.
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  #110  
Old 05-07-2012, 03:04 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
Moreover, his company isn't profitable and therefore can't afford inefficiencies.
msmith537 didn't day why his company was unprofitable. I doubt it has much to do with how much SQL these guys turn out. He also said that the powers that be were going in the wrong direction.
Unprofitable companies don't become profitable by taking away coffee or limiting potty breaks. Who knows - maybe the CEO taking a 10% pay cut might do more for the bottom line than all of these. More likely the right products and processes will.
Anyhow, it is not clear that the bulk of workers are the problem - only the one underperformer who seems to have been forgotten.
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  #111  
Old 05-07-2012, 03:13 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post

Netflix is another company that does this...and their managers are told to coach out anyone who isnt a top 10% performer, so you'd better be pretty fantastic to get by with their casual atmosphere, most people have their nose to the grindstone despite their casual policies just to survive. Apple is, and they expect minimum ten to twelve hour days. If you want any time away from work, you work at work.
Hmm. I learned that managers should coach everyone, including top 10% performers. Even really good people deserve feedback on presentations and the like. Even the best of athletes have coaches.

My friends at Apple haven't complained about 12 hour days all the time. Before a deadline sure. I've done a column about a paper which shows that continual 60 hour weeks don't actually make you more productive than 40 hour weeks. When I was at Intel we did 12 hour days. We weren't forced to, but they served dinner and they took names (just to track consumption, of course) and one person who left at 6 for a car pool wound up with a bad rating. It didn't do anything to make the project more successful, and half the people weren't doing anything productive after dinner anyway.
Maybe if they hadn't been working such long hours they wouldn't have screwed up the antenna.
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  #112  
Old 05-07-2012, 06:52 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is online now
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Hmm. I learned that managers should coach everyone, including top 10% performers. Even really good people deserve feedback on presentations and the like. Even the best of athletes have coaches.

My friends at Apple haven't complained about 12 hour days all the time. Before a deadline sure. I've done a column about a paper which shows that continual 60 hour weeks don't actually make you more productive than 40 hour weeks. When I was at Intel we did 12 hour days. We weren't forced to, but they served dinner and they took names (just to track consumption, of course) and one person who left at 6 for a car pool wound up with a bad rating. It didn't do anything to make the project more successful, and half the people weren't doing anything productive after dinner anyway.
Maybe if they hadn't been working such long hours they wouldn't have screwed up the antenna.
Not coach...coach out. i.e. 90% of the employees at Netflix are told that their futures are not with Netflix and they shouldn't count on Netflix being their long term employer.

My husband just interviewed with Apple and was told 10-12 hour days were expected. He chose not to follow up.
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  #113  
Old 05-07-2012, 07:05 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is online now
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
msmith537 didn't day why his company was unprofitable. I doubt it has much to do with how much SQL these guys turn out. He also said that the powers that be were going in the wrong direction.
Unprofitable companies don't become profitable by taking away coffee or limiting potty breaks. Who knows - maybe the CEO taking a 10% pay cut might do more for the bottom line than all of these. More likely the right products and processes will.
Anyhow, it is not clear that the bulk of workers are the problem - only the one underperformer who seems to have been forgotten.
No, but they do become profitable by cutting labor costs. i.e. if I have ten SQL guys who are at work ten hour days, but have five hours of productivity in a day, with five hours of meals, internet surfing, chatting, and playing games, I get 50 hours of productivity out of the group of them in a day. If I can get a little more than seven productive hours out of each of them, I can cut my labor costs by 30% by getting rid of three of them.

And maybe msmith is in a position to give the CEO a 10% paycut, but I suspect his only sphere of control is to get cost control for his own team. Although it sounds like it really doesn't make a difference, these guys are going to be proceduralized into a much smaller department sooner or later if the company survives - I'd look at the writing on that wall and start looking for another employer with a pool table and beer in the fridge where I don't need to wear pants. Or I'd decide I wanted to be one of the last out the door and I'd work my butt off to make sure when I did leave, it was on my own terms or because they were turning off the lights.

By the way, I was just at a company that saved itself from bankruptcy by laying off 20% of its staff and giving the rest of us 10% paycuts. A year later, the company was back, we got our pay back, and old faces started showing up again. And they took away free coffee. Having just gone through this - if the fundamental business model is sound and you are in a tight spot because of debt covenants and a sudden loss of revenue - cutting expenses, including labor, can work short term
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  #114  
Old 05-08-2012, 03:02 AM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
Not coach...coach out. i.e. 90% of the employees at Netflix are told that their futures are not with Netflix and they shouldn't count on Netflix being their long term employer.
So Netflix admits they screwed up on 90% of their hires? Interesting.
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  #115  
Old 05-08-2012, 04:35 AM
Obsidian Obsidian is offline
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Working at Apple is like Fight Club. You don't talk about it. So the only people who do talk about it seem to be disgruntled ex-employees and former job candidates. It leads to a distorted reputation at times. (Disclaimer: you're not actually allowed to be without clothing of some sort on the lower half of your body. Though I wouldn't be surprised if "no naked ass" was the only entry in the dress code, from some of the getups I've seen).

I will in general echo Voyager's description of coding and/or creative tech work. It's very non-linear. Creativity, for whatever reason, doesn't seem to function well in a gray box between the hours of 9-5. Engineers have a particular environment they prefer. So do designers & creatives. Not because we feel like being a pain in the ass, but because it's what makes us most productive.
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  #116  
Old 05-08-2012, 04:55 AM
Obsidian Obsidian is offline
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Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
Or you may be so talented as a coder that it won't make any difference if the timing of the demise of this one hits with another spike in unemployment because you have recruiters pounding on your door and you can easily get a job while interviewing while not wearing pants and asking if the group you are joining has a WoW guild and if the firewall is open for raiding.
I realized I can't resist this. My team at work plays an MMO together (off hours) as a team-building activity. My boss, and the guy I share a cube wall with discussed WoW during his interview process. I know someone who asks interviewees for an opinion on the Enterprise vs. the Death Star. Clearly, you need to meet more geeks.
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  #117  
Old 05-08-2012, 05:05 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
I have a friend who is a published novelist. He works for no one but himself. But he is disciplined. He does not hang on the Internet or go grocery shopping or hang with friends until he gets his daily word quota in. Some days the words flow and he is done by noon. And some days he is still struggling at six pm. Granted, he can write wearing no pants, but he gets dressed every day, it's part of the discipline. Wearing no pants encourages him not to view his work as a job....and then he doesn't do it. Now, why is writing SQL queries different?
Ah see, my writer uncle has some days when he "gets in the zone" and pumps out a dozen poems and four chapters for three novels, and other days when he goes to walk up and down the nearest hill, munching on ideas but not putting anything on paper.

He never left his "day job" (hey, four kids...), but he was making more from the writing than from the other job the last twenty years before he retired.
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  #118  
Old 05-08-2012, 06:34 AM
Acid Lamp Acid Lamp is offline
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Ah see, my writer uncle has some days when he "gets in the zone" and pumps out a dozen poems and four chapters for three novels, and other days when he goes to walk up and down the nearest hill, munching on ideas but not putting anything on paper.

He never left his "day job" (hey, four kids...), but he was making more from the writing than from the other job the last twenty years before he retired.
My process in the visual arts is similar. There are days when I get up and have my ideas and sub processes clear and laid out in my head, and others that require contemplation. The best ideas spring from activity that is not directly related to the work, so I'll take a shower, or play my guitar, play with the dogs or watch a bad movie on netflix while my hindbrain works out the details. I have days where I can work for 12-14 hrs and produce well over a normal weeks output in one go. On the flipside I have days where the creativity simply isn't there and forcing myself to work doesn't bear any good fruit. Oh I could force myself to doodle or sculpt little heads or something just to "look busy", but they amount to nothing. I have to wait for the ideas to form up, and that goes a lot faster if I turn my focus to something non related. That's why I work for myself when it comes to art, I haven't found a company that is willing to understand that creativity and quick production of high quality work is not like a faucet that you simply turn on and off. I always bring my work in and on time, but I need the process to be hands off.
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  #119  
Old 05-08-2012, 06:39 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is online now
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Originally Posted by Obsidian View Post
I realized I can't resist this. My team at work plays an MMO together (off hours) as a team-building activity. My boss, and the guy I share a cube wall with discussed WoW during his interview process. I know someone who asks interviewees for an opinion on the Enterprise vs. the Death Star. Clearly, you need to meet more geeks.
You have no idea how many geeks I know. I used to run SF conventions. I spent a couple of years in the SCA and more than I care to admit doing Ren Faires. I played WoW for a long time, sometimes with coworkers off hours, and have been playing City of Heroes since its release (being more obscure, I haven't yet met a coworker who plays it - but a short female project manager I know plays Call of Duty). I own dice which I roll every other Friday night in 4th edition D&D. I've been to Star Trek weddings - note the s at the end of wedding. I've made my living in IT for 25 years. The last two concerts I've been to are They Might be Giants and Jonathan Coulton (though admittedly, I don't get out much for music) That writer friend writes Fantasy.

You know, it IS possible to wear a suit to work in the day and a Witch Hunter Robin t-shirt on Saturdays.

When you are the boss you get to ask questions about the Death Star in interviews or determine if your interviewees WoW class is something needed in your raid group. When you are the interviewee, you don't mention these things unless cued to. This is something a lot of geeks don't get. Its great to be a geek - but work is not necessarily the place to let your geek freak flag fly. And if it has and your group has just gotten a new boss who can't name any members of The Justice League, the company is having profitability issues, and things appear to be changing, it might be time to lower it a bit.
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  #120  
Old 05-08-2012, 06:42 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is online now
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
So Netflix admits they screwed up on 90% of their hires? Interesting.
Yep. Hellish environment. Very casual and loose though, you don't have to show up for work on any given day.

I'm not holding them up as an example of where I'd want to work. I'm holding them up as a place where they have the carrot of a very loose professional environment, but high performance expectations that mean you'll have to have a lot of discipline to succeed.
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  #121  
Old 05-08-2012, 08:26 AM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Well first, it looks like the employees being described are basically just standard IT development staff doing fairly mainstream, "farm hand" type tasks. If all they are doing is data access and such then that's a pretty established thing, and it's probably not accurate to talk about these guys in the quotation-mark surrounded term "talent."

Not all development is created equal, there's a lot of developers out there who do tasks that are pretty mainstream and not really "novel" but still require technical expertise to implement the specific solution.

So there is no intrinsic reason to treat these guys like they are the team that developed iOS or something like that.

That being said, if they are IT people who work in a loose environment with a loose schedule but get things done correctly and on time, as a manager I'd see no reason to change things up.

It does seem like some people in this thread are honing in on the fact that the OP talked about the unprofessionalism and nerdiness as if it was "anything other than positive." As long as the OP is a professional manager there's absolutely no reason he can't (correctly) label their work habits unprofessional and their personal characteristics "nerdy" and still treat them as he should and manage them as he should. I didn't get the impression he was bitching at them about playing Magic: The Gathering or that he was making fun of them for being nerds, if he was then I'd agree that's a management problem.

No, instead it looks like he has an issue with a single employee, who apparently, unlike his peers, is not succeeding in this environment. Not all IT shops are so loosely organized, and to be honest some people have trouble succeeding in a loosely organized environment. It could be that this team member is someone who needs more structure than his peers to succeed.

As a manager one of your most important roles (if not prime role) is to help your employees get their jobs done. In this case the loose culture has created a scenario in which the one team member who cannot succeed on their own feels like you talking to them at all is "harsh" and etc.

Do the tasks this guy have come with specific deadlines? If not, I'd try to establish some sort of internal deadline, just casually let him know "let's see if we can get this done by 5/25 for me to review." Check in with him periodically throughout the week in a very non-confrontational (and as private as possible) way, with questions like "so how is xx doing? Do you need anything from me on that? Just let me know if there's anything I can help with." Obviously your help wouldn't be in the technical sphere but just anything you could help expedited, any procedural or organizational snags he's hitting you could smooth over etc.

If he misses the deadline, I'd try to talk to him about how we can change things to get them in time. Maybe adjust the deadline some, maybe assign more help etc.

I think what this does is hold him accountable but without actually directly criticizing him. Once you've set up a framework like that over time if he doesn't recognize he's being held accountable and needs to step it up, then I think you have to start maybe getting a bit stricter with him, but you should ease into that if possible.
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  #122  
Old 05-08-2012, 01:23 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Yep. Hellish environment. Very casual and loose though, you don't have to show up for work on any given day.

I'm not holding them up as an example of where I'd want to work. I'm holding them up as a place where they have the carrot of a very loose professional environment, but high performance expectations that mean you'll have to have a lot of discipline to succeed.
Do you have a reference to an article about this? I'm curious as to how they justify it. As a hiring manager, interviewing and recruiting take up a lot of time and effort. If I were spending this time with this low a success rate, I would wonder. Bringing someone in is expensive also, since the person needs to be set up and trained, and isn't going to be very productive the first few months.
Now I've seen companies with policies that there are always 10% or so unsatisfactory performers, but 90%? Unless they hire off the street and winnow when the person comes in, but that is just stupid.
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  #123  
Old 05-08-2012, 01:26 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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I know someone who asks interviewees for an opinion on the Enterprise vs. the Death Star. Clearly, you need to meet more geeks.
I'd so use this, but I rarely interview people old enough to care about this topic!
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  #124  
Old 05-08-2012, 02:38 PM
Obsidian Obsidian is offline
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I'd so use this, but I rarely interview people old enough to care about this topic!
He'll ask it of people right out of school, too. He says there's no real wrong answer, other than a blank stare. It's a Shibboleth.

Btw, Dangerosa may be referring to this (and/or related articles): http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-2009

I googled 'cause I was curious. It's actually a very interesting read. I think the culture sounds awesome, actually (and familiar). But I can totally see how that would look horrible to many people.
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  #125  
Old 05-08-2012, 09:00 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Originally Posted by Obsidian
Btw, Dangerosa may be referring to this (and/or related articles): http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-2009

I googled 'cause I was curious. It's actually a very interesting read. I think the culture sounds awesome, actually (and familiar). But I can totally see how that would look horrible to many people.
It sounds horrible because it sounds like a cult. I've worked for companies just like that. What it really means is they expect you to devote yourself completely to the company 24-7. And if you don't devote yourself with enough passion or if you somehow don't meet one of their other criteria, they will immediately eject you from the company. Our idiot HR manager told us "our people crave feedback!" No they don't. They crave being told they are the best and brightest and most creative people on the planet. They don't want to be told their output is wrong or their analysis is flawed or their personality somehow doesn't jibe with the culture. Because they know they will be a "get well program" away from termination.
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  #126  
Old 05-09-2012, 03:05 AM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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It sounds horrible because it sounds like a cult. I've worked for companies just like that. What it really means is they expect you to devote yourself completely to the company 24-7. And if you don't devote yourself with enough passion or if you somehow don't meet one of their other criteria, they will immediately eject you from the company. Our idiot HR manager told us "our people crave feedback!" No they don't. They crave being told they are the best and brightest and most creative people on the planet. They don't want to be told their output is wrong or their analysis is flawed or their personality somehow doesn't jibe with the culture. Because they know they will be a "get well program" away from termination.
It sounds pretty good, if the place really works the way the slides say. I like the no vacation policy policy. Almost everyone where I work gets close to maxing out stored vacation, so it is nice to respect employees enough to not assume that they are out to rip off the company - and get rid of them if they can't produce.

I, as a non-HR person, was on a bunch of committees setting performance review policy at one job. We talked to a lot of people, and you couldn't be more wrong. They do want feedback. Helpful, accurate feedback, but feedback. They wanted to have their bosses understand what they did, which was not always the case. If a review is a surprise to someone, then the boss screwed up.

I didn't notice 90% of the people being laid off, by the way, so I don't retract my comments. It is true that the right people can out perform average people by orders of magnitude. Almost any manager knows that. Really great performers are a bargain. We'll see how they do when they start losing money, though. I suspect these slides came from before they screwed up.
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  #127  
Old 05-09-2012, 07:24 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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It sounds pretty good, if the place really works the way the slides say. I like the no vacation policy policy. Almost everyone where I work gets close to maxing out stored vacation, so it is nice to respect employees enough to not assume that they are out to rip off the company - and get rid of them if they can't produce.
It "sounds" good on paper. As I said, I've worked for companies exactly like that. They all pull that same crap out of the same management play books - Jim Collins "Good to Great" or "Built to Last", The Mckinsey Way, so on.

The basic premise is that the company IS much like a professional sports team. They want people who want to work for the company much in the same way a little kid wants to play for the Yankees when he grows up. But it will also "trade" players or "send them down to the minors" (ie counsel you out of the company) if you aren't a start performer. And in terms of performance, "teamwork" is everything. Which means they do not tolerate anyone who does not conform to their stated core values. They will constantly remind you of this with their 360 feedback. It IS very much like a cult and that is by design. "Why aren't you following the core values? Aren't you a team player? Do you even want to be here?"
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:47 AM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
It "sounds" good on paper. As I said, I've worked for companies exactly like that. They all pull that same crap out of the same management play books - Jim Collins "Good to Great" or "Built to Last", The Mckinsey Way, so on.

The basic premise is that the company IS much like a professional sports team. They want people who want to work for the company much in the same way a little kid wants to play for the Yankees when he grows up. But it will also "trade" players or "send them down to the minors" (ie counsel you out of the company) if you aren't a start performer. And in terms of performance, "teamwork" is everything. Which means they do not tolerate anyone who does not conform to their stated core values. They will constantly remind you of this with their 360 feedback. It IS very much like a cult and that is by design. "Why aren't you following the core values? Aren't you a team player? Do you even want to be here?"
There are some places where people do actually have pride about their company. (Though there are always a few grousers.) Bell Labs, before Bob Allen screwed it up, was a fantastic place to work.
They understand that slogans are not reality, which is why they had that Enron slide. Now if their slogans equal their reality is unclear. You can't tell until crises.
There are different types of people and there are different types of company cultures. When I started at Intel the first thing I did was take a little class, which was usually taught by a high level exec. The first thing I heard was that people who liked the military fit in well at Intel. Uh oh. But some people loved the place. The next place I worked had a culture of just do it and don't ask for too much permission, which they actually followed. That place I loved. Some people didn't.

So, does this group meet its goals and how is this problem performer getting on?
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