Virginia Bianco-Mathis
University professor, author

Virginia Bianco-Mathis

Business department chair of management programs at Marymount University and author of two books on executive coaching.


Self-selected success

Q: Wasn't it just yesterday that Google was the coolest company on the planet? The New York Times says the online giant is now seen by techies as a lumbering behemoth, and employees are starting to leave for more nimble companies. Is it possible for an innovator to stay in the lead indefinitely, or is there always a "hungrier" competitor right around the corner? Do large companies offer the same shot at success, or do workers usually have to break away to seek the greater rewards?

Like the stages of man, companies go through cycles.

Through strategic planning (good strategic planning), organizations make conscious choices concerning size, culture, and growth. Companies can build the infrastructures needed to be successful within the competitive niche they choose.

Thus, the small and nimble Google of yesteryear is growing up. It has more people, desks, memos, and layers; consequently, there is more structure and more processes. Without such controls, a growing organization suffers redundancy, unclear roles, and erratic outputs.

Fortunately, Google's leadership acknowledges this stage and has implemented certain pieces of the upbeat and entrepreneurial spirit of its younger days: smaller workgroups, incubator projects, high bonuses, personal work time, etc.

Without personally knowing Google's strategic goals, it seems they have decided to get bigger while trying to keep the organization hip, moving, and action-oriented. This emerging "quasi-entrepreurial" Google will attract certain people who want to work within this kind of exciting environment. No worries. Google of today will not be attracting long-standing employees from IBM or General Electric.

In turn, some of those who loved and grew up with the emerging Google will find themselves moving on -- yearning for the feel, chaos, flexibility, and rewards of other start-ups. It's in their blood. The rewards are bigger and so are the risks -- and perhaps that is part of what they seek.

It's a self-selection process. Those key players leaving Google are doing themselves and the company a favor. Success happens for both a company and an individual when there is a match between an employee's values and a company's culture. Company cultures attract certain kinds of people, provide varying rewards, and offer different versions of success.

By Virginia Bianco-Mathis  |  December 6, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Success in the workplace Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Grow and stay hungry | Next: Lessons of aged icons

Post a Comment

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company