We at Stratlab are growing a “Starfish” organization, stolen from Ori Braffman’s the Starfish and the Spider, the story of leaderless organizations.
I don’t believe the future is in an organizational chart that dictates a clear divide between management and employees. The future is a leaderless organization. An organization that doesn’t need constant management, an organization where you’re free to make decisions on your own, we hope they are good ones but we know we can’t control that.
What we can control is how StratLab grows as a Starfish, by taking on bigger and better (more impossible) problems. To do this structure is a hindrance to true creative brilliance hence why at Stratlab we have as few rules a humanly possible.
The current way to organize a business with Executives, Management and Employees dates back to the 1600’s
In Ricardo Semler’s Maverick he tells the story about the first few times he came in on a weekend. The first thing he noticed “people dress differently when they come in on the weekend, why is that?”. They did it to be more comfortable. But don’t we want everyone to be comfortable when they are working all week long?
The dress code era at Semco was ended.
The executive dealt with the obvious backlash. “What if someone doesn’t want to do business with us because of the way someone is dressed in a meeting?” Ricardo’s answer; “if someone doesn’t want to do business with us because of the way one of our employees ‘looks’ then that’s probably someone we shouldn’t be doing business with”. Wow, that’s leadership.
Isn’t that simple? Why do you try to make your staff conform? Because you’ve always done that? That’s not a good reason why. Ask your staff, what they think, you may stumble upon a smart way to make your company culture better.
….is to give you my recommendation. It’s not to pay you, it’s not to hire you, it’s not to give you an A+ on an assignment, it’s to tell someone in my life how I honestly feel about you.
Isn’t that the best thing anyone can do for us? Give their recommendation of us to someone they know?
Think about it. An old Manager talking to a business owner who offers you your dream job? An interview while in school for a co-op placement and your Volleyball coach give you a rave reference? (This happened! Jeremy who worked with us for a little while and who I coached with for a couple years had me as a reference for a job placement over the Summer, I had so many positive stories about that boy they HAD to hire him after talking to me).
The best thing anyone can do for you is to give an honest recommendation of you to a peer or colleague. There’s no higher honour than someone saying, “oh, you want good cupcakes? You MUST talk to Jeph, he makes the BEST cupcakes!”. No advertising could ever be better than honest word-of-mouth.
One of the worst parts of my younger years was ironically during the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics. I say Ironically because unless you’re a close friend of mine, you’ve never heard this story. And it really wasn’t that bad looking back, while I was there I was going through utter turmoil .
My videographer friend (Riley Moynes) and I were hired to be the online video bloggers for the Saskatchewan pavilion during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics! What an unbelievable experience I said, you have to do it I said to my self, at any cost. At any cost.
And boy did it cost a lot, but my trade off was I learned so much while being there, a once in a lifetime experience I’ll never forget.
When we agreed to do it we thought we could have a lot of fun doing Rick Mercer style interviews while producing Vice style video blogs. That’s wasn’t what we were hired to do. The Government representative flat out did not want this to come across as fun, no no, she had a much different idea. We were to report back to her with all video ideas before we were to shoot them. She’d send the ideas about to her counterparts in Saskatchewan and decision by committee made our lives pretty shitty for a while. Talk about micromanagement! I loathed it.
On top of terrible working situation I was staying in an apartment with a friend that was a bus, then train ride away to and from the Sask Pavilion. We didn’t have a fridge, 45 minute commute on a good day, a hour and a bit on a bad day. It was hell on earth. I know why people in big cities are miserable a lot of the time, it’s draining to commute so much. Every day the same, every day no more fun just shitty videos. I had to eat out every day on the same budget I was used to in Regina. I ended up using my credit card way to much. But I had no choice, it was a once in a lifetime experience, you don’t give up during those experiences. You bite your tung, you lie to yourself, you say everything will be alright.
I got home sick. So home sick my friend Derek asked if I wanted him to fly my girlfriend out there. It was a nice gesture, I declined.
My saving grace was Riley. He talked me off the ledge several times there, one day I had my head set on leaving early, but he convinced me to stay. We Sushi’d lots, went to a couple Olympic events, and one morning we almost lost him to a riot downtown Vancouver. He edited the videos we shot every day, he was a machine, I really don’t know how he did it. He had to work way more than I did, but that’s why I’ve always looked up to him. That’s why I still look up to him, he did everything I had to do without complaining. Incredible.
Towards the end of the Olympics we started just shooting our own thing. We thought “what the hell! They can’t fire us now, right?!”. Ironically those are the videos you won’t find on Tourism’s Youtube channel. HA! My favourite video to shoot was when Riley convinced me to wear green tights, a green cape and a watermelon on my head, we were going Rider fan hunting!! By far the funnest day. We had people from all walks of life yelling at us, heckling us with most of it in good fun.
Now I look back on it and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. A once in a lifetime experience that’s for sure. Most days we had a blast! We went to a curling semi final, women’s hockey game, and got busted one night for bringing a Mickey of rum into the pavilion. (beers were like $100, you can’t blame me, blame Vancouver!).
I’ve only known Maple for a few years, but in that time she’s taught me a life time of lessons on how to treat people. We used to work up above Coda Clothing and shoes. Maple would be working on the floor of Coda when we’d come into work. We’d have to walk past her as we shared an entrance. She was always excited to see us no matter what. She genuinely wanted to get to know you better, it wasn’t fake or contrived, Maple is actually one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. She could keep a conversation going with a mute person!
The highly anticipated conversation that fans have been waiting for, the hotshot in the office, the young gun hailing from North Regina, Braedon McLeod interviews the Strategy Lab co-founder Brandon wu. We recently added a couple folks to our “About Us” page. They’d been hanging around the office long enough so we felt it was necessary to explain what they’re doing before people start asking too many questions if ya know what I mean. 😉
This will go down in the history books as the conversation that changed a generation! Well not exactly, it did uncover some of the secrets to Brandon’s working style and Braedon does make you laugh when he talks sometimes.
Their comedic banter in the Strategy Lab office is nothing short of amazing. Braedon knows how to get under Brandon’s skin, and well everyone is really hard on Braedon ANY time he makes a comment that isn’t exceptionally brilliant. A day doesn’t go by without a lot of laughter. We really make a great team.
Most days Braedon just sits there and codes singing Shakira, and other days he just sits. The way those two talk about designing a website is truly remarkable. A seasoned vet getting grilled by the rookie just to ensure our name is associated with a top quality product. When you care a lot about what you’re doing you tend to get opinionated about your work. Ahhh, the life of a creative.
Watch the video, it’s pretty, pretty, pretty, funny.
I just finished what I think is one of the best books written on Branding I’ve ever read. It’s called Brand Delusions. It teaches you what branding is by telling a story of company in trouble and how they saved their brand. It’s an entertaining way to learn about branding and the counter-arguments you’re going to get when you try to adapt a new culture in your company.
Your Brand is a widely held set of beliefs and expectations about what you deliver and how you deliver it, validated by customers’ experiences.