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Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

A recent conversation with a colleague about a company’s 401(k) contribution matching strategy triggered an interesting reflection on how equity (fairness) is handled in different company benefits.

Many companies, caring for their employees’ long-term financial well-being, incentivize employee contributions to their 401(k) plan by offering to match their contributions up to a certain percentage of their salary (3% and 6% seem to be the most common ones).

That incentive can lead to some interesting outcomes. Consider 3 employees of AcmeCorp, making $75K, $150K and $300K respectively. AcmeCorp matches its employees 401(k) contributions up to 6% of their salary. …


With as little bias as humanly possible

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source: repeatforever.substack.com

As I’ve defined elsewhere:

Culture is our shared set of beliefs and mindsets, reflected through our behaviors and supported by our organizational systems (processes, protocols, etc.)

A cohesive organizational culture is honest, clear and reinforced.

A cohesive culture imposes constraints on our decisions. Therefore, it comes with a cost that we must pay in order to maintain it. One of those costs is not hiring candidates who don’t share our values and don’t exhibit the behaviors that we view as essential for our success.

I’m not saying that we should hire people who are exactly like us in every way…


Be clear on where you stand, regardless of where that is

Corporate activism, or companies taking a stand and acting on social issues, has been a hot discussion topic in the US since the BLM protests in the summer of 2020.

There is no single right answer to whether and to what extent organizations should take a public stand and action on various social issues (though some disagree even with this statement. But what all right answers have in common is that organizations should be clear and consistent in the stance they take. Not taking a stance is also a stance.

When organizations don’t clarify where they stand, they foster a…


Is organizational structure the best solution?

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Source: Amazon.com

A recent post I read and shared about the challenges in using the Chief of Staff role in companies brought me back, full circle, to a post I’ve written more than five years/300-posts ago about the VP of Business and People Operations role.

I’ve intentionally invited several colleagues holding Chief-of-Staff (CoS) roles in companies to critique Kovacevich’s post, to learn from their collective experience. I learned from those conversations that some of Kovacevich’s arguments can be dismissed as issues with specific implementations of the role, or issues that can exist in all corporate roles and therefore don’t stem from the…


Reinforcing behavior without dependence

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Photo by Kirill Sharkovski on Unsplash

I’ve written quite a bit about the critical role that the organizational environment, and specifically, its processes and structures play in driving behavior change, and reinforcing the culture.

Recently, I came across an interesting edge case that I’m not sure how to solve yet. I hope that a clearer articulation here, and any dialogue that may ensue as a result, may help shed some more light on the shape of the potential solutions.

It happens when the behavior that we want to reinforce becomes dependent on the structure that we’ve put in place. Let me give a couple of examples.


What management *should* be doing

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Photo by christie greene on Unsplash

Time to pay down some “writing debt” and cover some good articles I came across last year, that stood the (short) test of time between now and then. Starting with this BCG piece, I made reference to in my 2020 wrap-up:

How the lockdown unlocked real work

I have my qualms with some of the framing and word choices. Specifically, the careless use of terms like complexity and complicatedness just because they sound less judgmental than what they’re really trying to describe: bureaucracy. But I digress.

The core piece of value in the article is its “side box”, which highlights…


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This is my 6th full year of posting on OrgHacking and continuing my annual tradition of writing an end-of-year wrap-up post (previous reviews: 2019, 2018, 2017: 1 & 2, 2016, 2015). I’m going to stick with last year’s 3-part format in a slightly abbreviated form.

And what a year it was. Pair the global pandemic that’s been raging since March upending traditional ways of working, with a couple of major life events: starting a new full-time job and getting married — and 2020 became a year of many “firsts”.

Part 1: 2020 reflection

At the end of last year, I highlighted org governance and…


A polarity lens on change

“The Paradoxical Theory of Change. … change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not… By rejecting the role of change agent, we make meaningful and orderly change possible.”

This quote by Arnold Beisser opens up the core chapter on change and transformation in Barry Johnson’s new book “And — Making a difference by leveraging polarity, paradox or dilemma.” …


Terminations and compensation changes at Holacracy One

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Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

Ever since I read Brian Robertson’s book five years ago, one of my deepest qualms with Holacracy has been the gap it created around People practices such as performance management, compensation changes, and terminations.

Five years ago, I wrote:

Dealing with “human spaces” problems such as hiring/firing, compensation, growth, etc. is not part of the Holacracy “operating systems” but mere “add-ons/apps” that each business should figure out on its own, once they adopt Holacracy. …


Netflix’s No Rules Rules — Part 2

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source: erinmeyer.com

Every good plan changes when it meets reality, and my plan here is no different. While this was intended to be part 3 of the series, I decided to cover it now and leave the specific Netflix practices for later.

Chapter 10 of No Rules Rules discusses the work that Netflix has done to adapt its unique culture to its multi-national footprint. Since Netflix started off in the US, many aspects of its culture aligned relatively well with general US culture. In places where intentional differences were introduced, the degree of difference was small enough that behavior change and convergence…

Itamar Goldminz

I enjoy solving human puzzles

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