One of the positive side-effects of the pandemic is that many employees are no longer willing to put up with how dysfunctional traditional organizations are. Our expectations have evolved – we want a job that offers more than just a paycheck. We want to have a sense of fun, meaning, and belonging at work and we are not afraid to ask for the flexibility we need to enjoy life on our own terms. 

But the reality is that many organizations fall short of these expectations. They are riddled with numerous problems that make work unbearable: paralyzing lack of trust and psychological safety, bottlenecks, silos, zoom fatigue, meeting and email overload, tiresome budgeting, and short-term thinking.

And so the question that we are grappling with in this episode of the CultureLab podcast is:

Is there a better way? 

My guest, Rodney Evans, the partner at The Ready, has not only found a better way but implemented it in her own company. Plus, she has taught new ways of working in dozens of complex environments—including Airbnb, Macy’s, GE, Cooper Hewitt Museum, Intuit, and Johnson & Johnson—to slay bureaucracy, unleash talent, and modernize traditional workplaces and practices.

Below you can see some of the highlights from this conversation.

Episode Highlights
  • What is a  check-in round and why is it important to have one at the beginning of your meetings, especially virtual ones.
  • The key shift that needs to happen so that we can be successful in the brave, new world of remote and hybrid work – from top-down management to decentralized leadership and self-managed teams. 
  • The importance of continuous participation of employees in decision-making, problem-solving and collectively steering towards your organization’s purpose. 
  • How The Ready successfully used some of the principles of holacracy to create a modern and engaging workplace where people have fun, a sense of meaning, autonomy and belonging. 
  • How “circles” work and what it means to “energize” a role. 
  • What happens when employees set their own salaries. 
  • How to move your organization towards self-management. 
  • Making participatory governance structure work – starting small and understanding that consent is not the same as consensus. 
  • Outcomes-based culture – the difference between outcomes and objectives and the importance of focusing on the impact that we are trying to make. 

Listen to the interview in the player below or on iTunes. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, and it may be featured on a future episode.

More about Rodney Evans

Rodney Evans is a pioneer in adaptive organization design and the future of work. With 20 years’ experience in all things transformation.

She draws her expertise—on strategy, leadership, and adaptiveness—from various former roles at KPMG Consulting, Deutsche Bank, as principal of her own consultancy (acquired), and Chief Innovation Officer of McChrystal Group. Today, Rodney is Partner at The Ready, a self-managed change agency helping companies of every shape and size discover better ways of working.

Beyond consulting, Rodney regularly teaches and speaks about such topics as cultivating

self-awareness, creating a team of teams, designing for self-management, and navigating a working world designed by and for men. She co-hosts the podcast “Brave New Work” to empower people with the principles and practices needed to get change rolling. She believes the future of work is now and that new approaches to old problems are key to our survival as a species.

Rodney lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband, Ed, and dogs, Banjo and Rosie.

Books and resources mentioned in this episode

The Ready

Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Effortless – Make it Easier to Do What Matters by Greg McKeown

Brave New Work by Aaraon Dignan

Additional resources 

CultureBrained Community – a one-of-a-kind virtual community for Heads of People and Culture, founders, and leaders who want to up their culture game. 

Scaleup’s Guide to Creating a Culture Playbook 

Personal Core Values Discovery Guide

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