Hope, Processes, and Fear in the Workplace with James Goebel, part 1, Episode 49

The next four episodes are with James Goebel, COO and Co-Founder of Menlo Innovations. Menlo is a software development firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan that has the mission of “ending human suffering in the world as it relates to technology™.”


Part 1 highlights:

  • Hope
  • Are your processes/systems building people up or crushing their spirits?
  • Fear in the workplace

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Vital Smarts Influencer – https://www.vitalsmarts.com/products-solutions/influencer/

Patrick Lencioni – 5 Functions of a Dysfunctional Team – http://www.tablegroup.com/books/dysfunctions

Morningstar Tomatoes – http://morningstarco.com/index.cgi, Video on Morningstar Tomatoes – https://youtu.be/qqUBdX1d3ok
Notes during editing of part 1:

What inspires a company/manager/owner to come to Menlo after learning about how they run their company? James answered with, “Hope.”

Menlo Innovations' Open Workspace
Menlo Innovations’ Open Workspace

It’s easy to assume that people don’t work hard or don’t care. However, what’s really happening is that organizations have built systems that beat it out of you. Most people arrive inspired. However, if you make it impossible for them to achieve to to put their inspiration to work, then they have to fall back on to self-preservation.

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It’s easy to replace relationships with processes. Are your processes designed to enforce behavior or to reveal when something has gone wrong so that a group of people can work together to solve the problem. No one can write enough processes to cover all the edge cases.

Giving someone respect can be harder in practice. Think about respect for another person. True respect will mean there will be tough conversations. Avoiding conflict is not respect.
What’s the difference between Menlo and all the other good companies. Look at the processes and systems. Some companies handle advancement and review of their work. Other companies have nice processes for this. However, they don’t necessarily present the feedback in a way that makes it usable.
If your company talks about teamwork – do your annual review questions and focuses also look at teamwork, or are they mainly individual focused? Are your missions aligned with your processes?
Where do I start? Start small. What could you do with your current team to help empower them to make better quicker, smarter decisions.

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