Teams make lots of decisions. Important decisions. Trivial decisions. Urgent decisions. Wide-ranging decisions. But teams very rarely ever think about HOW they decide. Startups generally start with consensus and either keep relying on it as they scale which slows them down OR they fall back on a single leader who, as the company grows, becomes less and less equipped to see all aspects of the business. We made this team decision making tool to help […]
I stayed up late and compiled a list of every link we’ve ever included in our NOBL newsletters since we started the company in 2014. If you like reading about the future of work, leadership, and transformation, you’ll dig this. Also, check out our revised Resources page with all of our past newsletters, talks, interviews, and essays.
2×2 matrices map extremes. That’s their function. So as drawn, they obliterate nuance. And yes, they are overused. The measure of a 2×2 matrix isn’t in how well it captures reality, but in the quality of conversation it produces in response to its narrow-mindedness. As you feel out where it fails to accurately depict you or a situation you find yourself in, does it force you to meaningfully examine the underlying factors and forces that […]
We try a ton of things to spread the word about NOBL. Last year, we tried a cold email campaign. We emailed complete strangers that we thought might be trying to make radical change in their organizations. Email No. 1 – We can help, Megan Megan! I found you via LinkedIn and I promise I can make this email worth your time and attention. Work as we know it isn’t working. 67% of employees are […]
Back at Amazon headquarters or the trailer inside Gold Base, they really care about you. My auditor asked me a lot of questions about my work habits, my life, and family. As it turns out, I need more bias for action. Compromising for social cohesion only stymies progress. Oh, also, I have to disconnect from you. It’s okay, Jeff Bezos says you have to “maintain the culture,” and my auditor said that you are “antagonistic […]
Catmull describes a turning point that occurred during the making Toy Story 2. People at Pixar worked long hours, seven days a week over a grueling nine-month period to complete the movie. By the end of the nine months, one-third of the staff had repetitive stress injuries. On one occasion, an exhausted artist forgot to drop his infant son off at day care and left him in his car parked in the broiling Pixar parking […]
Bezos’s guiding principle for Amazon has always been to start with the needs and desires of the customer and work backward. But when it came to the Fire Phone, that customer apparently became Jeff Bezos. He envisioned a list of whiz-bang features, and the Tyto team started experimenting with a slew of promising technologies: near-field communication for contactless payments, hands-free interactions to allow users to navigate the interface through mid-air gestures, and a force-sensitive grip […]
The results were definitive: Friends outperformed acquaintances on both tasks. The reason? Friends were more committed at the start of a project, showed better communication while doing the activity, and offered teammates positive encouragement every step of the way. They also evaluated ideas more critically and gave one another feedback when they were off course. The impact of having a friend at work. I’ve been asking that question as part of a survey in most of my […]
Why has Strive made progress when so many other efforts have failed? It is because a core group of community leaders decided to abandon their individual agendas in favor of a collective approach to improving student achievement. More than 300 leaders of local organizations agreed to participate, including the heads of influential private and corporate foundations, city government officials, school district representatives, the presidents of eight universities and community colleges, and the executive directors of […]
Rent the Runway today operates the largest dry cleaner in the country in a 160,000 square foot facility and has built software that manages the inventory, delivery, and fulfillment of 65,000 dresses and tens of thousands of accessories across its millions of members. Source.
If you find yourself in need of an ounce of liquor, just ask your barkeep for a pony. Plan on driving home for Christmas break? Say 230 miles? That’ll increase your risk of dying by one micromort. And that enormous 7-layer dip your auntie makes, how many Royal Albert Hall’s is that? How long will a user wait for a webpage to load? Generally, a nanocentury. How’s that parcel of land you just bought? Did the realtor give you […]
You deserve to work with folks with little tolerance for politics and posturing because it undermines the culture that can drive success. You deserve leaders that welcome mistakes but hate needless surprises. Jesse Hertzberg.
Pixar Founder, Ed Catmull, shares his secret to improving creative works and fueling the most prolific hit-maker of our times: The Braintrust. You may be thinking, How is the Braintrust different from any other feedback mechanism? There are two key differences, as I see it. The ﬁrst is that the Braintrust is made up of people with a deep understanding of storytelling, who usually have been through the process themselves. While the directors welcome critiques from many […]
I hypothesize that the management overhead which makes corporations grow sub-linearly is due to the limited information processing capability of individual humans. People at the top do not have local on-the-ground information: how are individual products performing, what are customers’ complaints etc. And the rank-and-file folks on the ground do not have the relevant high-level information: how does what I’m doing translate to the value that the corporation as a whole seeks to maximize? In […]
Finally, at the end of the meeting, Donahoe came to a decision: “Alright,” he said, addressing Abraham and Palmer, “you guys have carte blanche to do this. Any resources you need, any money, any human capital, you’ve got it. The only thing that I ask is that you don’t tell anyone about what you’re doing.” […] Within moments, the two of them were at a laptop, scouring eBay’s internal site for offices around the world […]
First of all, everything we do is in service of a single goal: transparency. We’ve discovered over time that most of our difficulties arise when a project becomes murky or goes dark. Design is a holistic practice and we can only truly design for the entire product when we can see across it with ease. In addition to making our own work easier, transparency also gives designers a chance to cross-collaborate on projects that they’re […]
Most entrepreneurs still think that just because their technology is superior it will inevitably be widely adopted in the marketplace. But consumers don’t work like that. Next time you come across an engineer aiming to commercialize a superior new technology, ask if his industry meets the criteria described above. If not, he’d do much better to focus on low-end disruption by encapsulating the technology in a product that is in some way simpler, more convenient […]
Three former executives said the old regime seized on the bad numbers to cast Hanson’s tech-focused ambitions in a dubious light. They said Markfield, in particular, felt that Hanson cared too much about developing AE’s web and mobile operations, and feared that expanding in outlets and internationally, while lucrative, might dilute the core brand. Markfield was also no fan of Hanson’s emphasis on personalization — for example, curating merchandise in stores based on the type […]
Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous. They can be entrepreneurial. And if we have a company that is entrepreneurial in spirit, we will be able to take our next “(wo)man on the moon” leap. Ever […]
You don’t create a culture. Culture happens. It’s the by-product of consistent behavior. If you encourage people to share, and you give them the freedom to share, then sharing will be built into your culture. If you reward trust then trust will be built into your culture. Artificial cultures are instant. They’re big bangs made of mission statements, declarations, and rules. They are obvious, ugly, and plastic. Artificial culture is paint. Real cultures are built […]