The Challenge: Make Work Work Better


Wow, let me first say that we have sucked lately at keeping our conversation going on this blog.  Perhaps we are seeing each other too much in person, or maybe we are just lazy or otherwise preoccupied.  Either way, we need to get our asses in gear and throw down some nonsense here in the hallowed walls of the online, intergalactic headquarters blog of the Talent Anarchy movement.

One of the qualities we share in common is that we are both pretty cynical when it comes to talking about how organizations are using and abusing their talent.  It’s easy for us to talk about what’s broken and point fingers at the perpetrators.  But, I’ve been thinking about the other side of the equation lately.  The question in my mind is this: where is the greatest leverage to accelerate change?  When we think about organization change or, perhaps a step larger, changing the very nature of how work gets done, it pretty quickly gets overwhelming.  So many variables, so much history, so much inertia.  But, change has to start somewhere.

So, I pose this question to you and those readers who are hanging with us despite our recent silence.

If you had a magic wand and could change any single thing today that you think would have the greatest positive effect on making work work better, what would it be?

There are no limits on this question.  We are taking magic, so you can change anything you think will make the most difference.   I present this question to you and any one reading this as a challenge.  I will respond to this challenge as well.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.



  1. We need a magic courage pill. You take it once in the morning, and then throughout the day, any time that you get paralyzed by the least bit of fear, the pill magically causes you to take action despite your fear. From giving that colleague some feedback, to sending that email asking for help, to addressing that conflict while it’s still small, to letting that employee know it’s not working out, to quitting because you can’t fully be yourself in that position…it’s all about taking action in the presence of fear. And I think it would transform the workplace.

  2. I’d love for a world that dramatically limited both meetings and email (literally! via corporate mandate) and allowed time for leaders to think, strategize, and connect with their people. I try desperately to block time off to achieve these simple (maybe not so simple) goals, but the easy excuses of “I have a meeting” or “I’m behind on email” take precedence over people. Without the people there is no product, sales quota, innovation, or world-class patient care delievered.

    A new way to work for me, is simply allowing leaders time to actually work.

  3. That would be great, Jamie. Fear is definitely a barrier to progress. There has to be a way to accomplish this without magic, doesn’t there? Perhaps if we could train our leaders on how to actually make it safe to fail?

  4. Great thought Jay. I have heard of companies that mandate a “no meeting/no email” Friday policy. It requires that you use the phone and get out of your desk more frequently, but you certainly seem to waste less time. It doesn’t completely solve the problem, but it does show people that you can get work done without all the added noise.

  5. I think it would be great to have a politics-free work zone where egos are banned and back stabbing hurts only the backstabber. Work is accomplished because it’s the best thing to do for the organization (and it’s employees and customers) and not for any one individual’s gain. It would also play to Jamie’s notion of no fear.

  6. Susanna – Great point and wouldn’t that be a fun place to work. The ugly side of politics wastes so much time and emotional energy in the workplace. It creates drama and drama kills results. An altruistic, open workplace free from posturing, positioning and general nastiness is a great aspiration. Thank you.

  7. Pingback: Making Work Better

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