Jamie NotterConsultant, Speaker, and Author at JamieNotter.com
Bio

People don't leave companies; they leave cultures. I help companies strengthen culture and improve performance. I started my career in the conflict resolution field, working initially in areas of ethnic conflict internationally (mostly in Cyprus). I then transitioned into working with organizations on conflict, diversity, and leadership. I've run my own consulting practice twice, and also spent five years leading the consulting division of an association management company, where I also served as Executive Director of three different nonprofit associations. I've worked with all kinds of clients--nonprofit, corporate, and local and federal government agencies (examples: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Goodwill Industries Inc., National Association of Home Builders, Young Entrepreneurs' Organization). I love to write, and I've had dozens of articles published in addition to three books. In 2006 I wrote We Have Always Done it That Way: 101 Things About Associations We Must Change with four colleagues of mine in the association community. In 2007 I wrote an ebook exploring the issue of generational diversity (Generational Diversity in the Workplace: Hype Won't Get You results). And in 2012 I had my first hardcover published: Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World. With the success of my books, my speaking career also grew. I regularly deliver keynote addresses and workshops on issues of leadership, social business, conflict resolution, and generational diversity. And in the midst of all that, I love to run and ride my bike. I ride about 1500 miles a year, including a really fun four-day charity ride from Pittsburgh to DC every October.



Recent Answers


I think the framework or thought structure on this one should be your culture. Your culture should be directly tied to what you think will drive success for the enterprise, and the structure should flow from that. Unfortunately, that means there is no one, single, right answer. The bottom line is there are plenty of structure solutions for the problem, and they are ALL good in the abstract. I think you're better off choosing one and then adapting it over time than trying to find the perfect structure ahead of time. As you said, with no staff now you have "no restrictions," but of course once you hire people, the structure might then not make sense given the new people you have on board. Do check out the resources over on www.holacracy.org. Holacracy is a very decentralized approach, so it may not be for you, but they are doing some of the best thinking about structure these days in my opinion. Give me a call if you want to talk more.


Personally, I think there needs to be one, anchor Twitter account, and it has to be YOU. Not the blog, not the company, but you the person. You can (and should) still tweet about the blog, the company, and the industry (because that's part of who you are), but if I don't see some authenticity, I won't follow. That's where you should build the relationships and the following. Then you can create some other, more branded twitter accounts that you use to automate dissemination of posts and other information. My two cents from a non-marketer but early Twitter adopter!


A lot of industry and professional associations I think would argue that they offer this through their membership and online communities and/or email listservers. It's not the same thing as Clarity obviously (I like Clarity better, frankly), but they certainly position it to be a place where you can get trusted advice from colleagues who have deep expertise in a particular industry or profession.


I did both (jamienotter.com and humanizebook.com), though that was for just one book. And I already had a consulting business on my own, so both sites are both different and necessary. To some extent it's a duplication of effort, but once the books are out there you'll start to see which site is really getting the attention and energy and then further develop that one.


Personally, I think we're in a transition away from the "mechanical" approach to leadership of the last 100 years and a more "human" one based more in decentralization, transparency, and collaboration. That's what my book is about (www.humanizebook.com). Honestly, I don't know if the ideas in my book are the ones that will perfectly impress your funders, but I agree you should be clear and intentional about how you want to run the business. Sliding by default into traditional management I think is a mistake. As you grow, culture is going to be a key piece of your competitive advantage, so create it on purpose. Other authors to read: Dan Pink (Drive, Whole New Mind), the Heath brothers (Switch, Made to Stick), Les McKeown (Predictable Success, Synergist).


Probably the number one symptom is "triangulation." That is, I have a problem with Person A, but I go complain about it to Person B. Every management team should be aware of this dynamic and all agree on nipping it in the bud (which means Person B has to STOP the triangulator, and help them deal with the conflict directly).

Another sign is silence. If team conversations are usually lively but suddenly go quiet, there may be conflict. The number one response to conflict is avoidance. So have your radar tuned for the silence and learn to probe some when that happens.


It depends on how strong your culture is, quite frankly. If you've really nailed the culture--connecting what's deeply valued there to what actually drives the success of the enterprise--and this person really doesn't fit, then I'd lean towards helping them find a new job. If they don't value what the system values, it's usually really hard to change that.

On the other hand, it may be an opportunity to look at your culture if you haven't in a while. "Doesn't fit the culture" might be an indicator that the culture is in need of a shift more than that individual.


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