Risk and unmarried CEOs, Don’t f*ck up the culture, Talent or engagement? Larry Page’s incredible comeback

The best of the week…

To start with, there’s been a lot of attention around Brian Chesky as CEO of Airbnb. Late last year he sent a fascinating letter to the entire team – appropriately titled “Don’t fuck up the culture”. There’s some great insights for thinking about culture in fast moving organisations. This is also an interesting reply from Scott Berkun, who adds some nuance and historical context to the argument.

Some interesting research out of Wharton, investigating the difference in CEO risk appetite by marital status. It turns out that married CEOs are significantly more risk averse than their single contemporaries.

This research from Gallup is worthwhile. Two researchers investigated whether talent or engagement are more important for job role performance. The answer: Ultimately, talent is accelerated by engagement.

As always there’s some great fantastic insights tucked away into articles that you might normally miss. Notable mentions this week to the Adidas blog on rethinking Learning and Development, and Whitney Johnson’s 6 tips for reluctant negotiators

And If you only read one article this week It’d have to be this piece on the return of Larry Page to Google. This story of Page’s time spent in the wilderness is a CEO epic. Don’t miss the numerous parallels to the return of Steve Jobs at Apple.

This week in Management

Don’t fuck up the culture (@bchesky)
“After we closed our Series C with Peter Thiel in 2012, we invited him to our office. I asked him what was the single most important piece of advice he had for us. He replied, “Don’t fuck up the culture.” Link

A critique of “Don’t fuck up the culture” (@berkun)
“Every CEO is in fact a Chief Cultural Officer. The terrifying thing is it’s the CEO’s actual behavior, not their speeches or the list of values they have put up on posters, that defines what the culture is. The people with the most power to fuck up the culture are simply the ones with the most power.” Link

The origins of office speak (@emmaogreen)
“Over time, different industries have developed their own tribal vocabularies. Corporate jargon may seem meaningless to the extent that it’s best described as “bullshit,” but it actually reveals a lot about how workers think about their lives.” Link

What’s more important: Talent or engagement? (Jake Herway, Nate Dvorak)
“In the quest to maximize performance, businesspeople and academics have asked Gallup, “What’s more important — people’s natural fit with a role or how engaged they are in their job?” The answer: Ultimately, talent is accelerated by engagement. Link

Better communication, not just more communication (@SkipPrichard)
“Want better communication? Stop talking. Think technology will help? Expect less from technology and more from people. Want to go forward? Start by backing up. Think being yourself is the answer? Think again—it’s an excuse for Neanderthal behaviour.” Link

Physical locations for the new way of learning and future workplace (Christian Kuhna)
A detailed corporate blog on how Adidas is creating physical spaces and pop up kits to support their vision for a different way of employee learning. Link

Beware the next big thing in management thinking (@JBirkinshaw)
“So how can managers effectively look beyond hype to make sense of the ever-changing landscape of management innovation? Broadly speaking, there are two ways to borrow from innovative companies: observe-and-apply, and extract the central idea. Each offers benefits, and each has its own challenges.” Link

4 Ways the Best Sales Teams Beat the Market (Daniel Birke, David Sprengel, Jochen Ulrich and Michael Viertler)
“Top performing sales organizations have the same percentage of sales staff in sales management roles — around 8% — as lower-performing companies. However, they have about 30% more sales staff in support roles.” Link

This week in Leadership

The untold story of Larry Page’s incredible comeback (@nichcarlson)
“Just as Apple’s investors threw Jobs out of his company, Google’s investors ignored Page’s wishes and forced him to hire a CEO to be adult supervision. Both then underwent a long period in the wilderness. Steve Jobs’ banishment was more severe, but Page also spent years at a remove from the day-to-day world of Google.” Link

Risk and the unmarried CEO (Nikolai Roussanov, Pavel G. Savor)
“A CEO’s inclination, or aversion, to risk is a key issue for corporate boards… bachelors (or bachelorettes) tend to be more aggressive in their behavior, while those who have walked down the aisle are often more cautious.” Link

Your scarcest resource: Organisational time (Michael Mankins, Chris Brahm, and Gregory Caimi)
“An organization’s time,in contrast, goes largely unmanaged. Although phone calls, e-mails, instant messages, meetings, and teleconferences eat up hours in every executive’s day, companies have few rules to govern those interactions.” Link

6 tips for reluctant negotiators (@johnsonwhitney)
“To be successful professionally, you need to command respect – and this involves the ability to negotiate effectively. However, negotiating for oneself makes both men and women less likable – but more so for women.” Link

This week in Strategy

Businesses have digitized, but not transformed (@dhinchcliffe)
“Despite decades of largely automating existing processes instead of fundamentally rethinking what they do in digital terms, our organizations are now facing a horde of native digital ‘gazelles’ — and now a growing bow wave of collaborative economy startups — that are threatening not just disruption, but even potential elimination altogether.” Link

I scream, you scream (But only when the price goes up) (Matt Palmquist)
“In a study comparing consumers’ reactions to price hikes and package sizes, shoppers responded far more negatively to paying more than to getting a little less—providing firms with a mechanism to dilute their rising costs without passing all the charges on to their customers.” Link

Why corporations fail to do the right thing (@christinebader)
“Six reasons why international business remains dangerous to workers and the environment, even when its leaders genuinely want to do better” Link

Management.Disrupted is a blog about management beyond the production line. Thoughts on better management, leadership and strategy for knowledge work from Steve Pell. 

Visit the website at www.managementdisrupted.com or follow me on Twitter @stevepell.

Share your thoughts. Be kind & play nice.