A couple of days ago I was on the party where I could find a lot of people from the first company I worked for. CDN (that’s the name of the company) no longer exists – it was acquired and assimilated by a local corporation. There are new teams, new people, and new organization. Over the time people, who didn’t accept new corporate rules, left and now are in different companies. But in some way we still form the group. We meet on events like that party. We always have something to discuss. We’re always happy to see those well-known faces.
I don’t know another company, which built something like this. Some kind of environment which was dragging “good souls.” I wish I knew the recipe to achieve that. I was wandering why it could happen. Why good people stuck to the organization while bad apples were out soon. I guess there’s a bunch of reasons.
Szymon, who co-owned the company, points very low rotation as one of main reasons. It helps to build more informal relation between people and that’s definitely improves cooperation at work and, when multiplied, builds a kind of social network covering the organization. Keeping rotation at low levels is a quite difficult task (and subject for another post), but CDN was successful in that area. However I think that wasn’t the only important reason.
The company was fairly lucky with middle management – those people who stand between the board and worker bees making real work. There were a couple of manager who made the difference. The kind of people you’d always like to work for. The kind of people you’d always like to learn from. Middle management is important because these are the people who create reality in teams. Their influence on our everyday work can be very impressive. In most cases CEO’s couldn’t get even close in that area, even if he wanted to.
Another thing was CDN’s growth. Over 5 years the company has grown from about 80 to almost 200 people. This meant that people could grow with the organization. I became a manager there not only because I wanted and I had some predispositions but also because guys up there decided they needed to create another little team in the company.
That one is vague. I can’t define it clearly but I consider CDN as people-centric company. Sure, there was business down there, but it didn’t look like a rat race. We didn’t do anything special – some integration events, nice atmosphere, willingness to help, flexible approach to employees. A series of little things which built a bigger wholeness.
I think there might have to be some magic element in that mixture, because these all are quite simple things. There are a lot of companies which are almost all compliant to the list, but they give different output. Maybe in that case “almost” makes a great difference. Hopefully I will check it in my current company and let you know soon.