From Communication Nation, by Dave Gray: The Connected Company
Back in the early 1980’s, right after the revolution in Iran, Shell Oil was concerned about the future of the oil industry. What might Shell look like after oil, they wondered? So they commissioned a study with some very interesting parameters:
1. First, they looked only at large companies with relative dominance in their industries, companies similar to Shell in that regard.
2. Second, they looked only at companies with very long lifespans – 100 years or more.
3. Third, they looked at companies who had made a major shift from one industry or product category to another.
In other words, they looked at the immortals: the companies that didn’t die
Fascinating article (and a couple of links which will likely make it to your Amazon wishlist). Observations on the importance of ecosystems, identity and listening to the market. On the limitations of the ‘org chart’ (the divided company) and the importance of ‘hub people’.
Some of the comments are also worthwhile:
this is the type of macro-level thinking that creates a “corporate culture” worth working in.
Every venture I have been involved with has involved other people. Finding roles for everyone is sometimes difficult and not just because you may have difficulty slotting them in, but because they themselves may have difficulty with your culture. Knowing your role in the world is important.
Now that we know who you are, I know who I am. I’m not a mistake! It all makes sense! In a comic, you know how you can tell who the arch-villain’s going to be? He’s the exact opposite of the hero. And most times they’re friends, like you and me! I should’ve known way back when… You know why, David? Because of the kids. They called me Mr Glass. – Elijah Price, Unbreakable
Freedom within a company involves responsibility, not only to yourself to deliver back to the company more value than they are paying you in salary but also the need to pay back the costs of those who are yet to come. At your big software company, you’re working now to pay for the hapless new graduate to walk in the doors and spend 6 months annoying you. For those in the public sector, we all toil to make sure you and your successors continue to perform the work that society needs.