Up and to the right: organizational structure brand concept by Candi Luciano

Could this be the next generation of the flat org?

Before I accepted my last position I was asked to read, Flat, a free ebook by Chad Little. I embraced the request. It is a quick read, well-written, logical and I greatly appreciated the intentionally designed, digital only format. I read it over and over again. I could not put my finger on it, but my gut sensed something was off.

But I was not sure what it was. Coming from the role in Leadership Design, was it the title Flat - The eBook How to fuel innovation, speed, and culture without managers that had my brain in a bundle? Had I been overdosed with leadership training, was I choosing not to fully embrace this model?

Quickly learning a co-worker from my previous employer had gone to work for Chad, I was excited as I needed to know more. Over lunch, I learned more about the characteristics of a flat org. I was on the edge of my sushi sticks with interest for the deeper, rich, meaningful context. And then it all came full circle. He shared after years of living the flat org model, they had recently studied its impact and made the choice to abandon it. "People want leadership clarity and a progression path," he shared.

Silence, shock and a sense of relief. That's when my brand muscle kicked into high gear. I frantically took notes as soon as I landed at the nearest coffee shop. And I called my potential new employer, shared my story rambling with excitement (I am pretty sure she did not share it with the same vigor) and accepted the offer as VP of Digital Brand. Wait, what? An executive title in a flat org model? I quickly learned Flat was not practiced by the book there and this felt like a good thing to me.



Having been the Oreo cookie filling between a 600+ person leadership culture (but not really) organization and a 12 person flat (but not really) organization, I believe I have a unique perspective and gut instinct which says there is a formula / an opportunity somewhere Up and to the right.

I would love to hear from you. All of you—those I have worked with in the past, those I work with now, those who have lived in a leadership or flat org structure, anyone contemplating what's next for org structure innovation and anyone living and breathing and willing to engage?

Go on, please share this. Let's get this conversation started / #Up2Rt


9 Things Someone with an Ownership Mindset Would Never Say by Candi Luciano

Inspiring a culture of ownership is gaining attention of organizations everywhere. New models such as the one at I-ology grow owners, not employees. Everyone has the opportunity to learn all aspects of the business and there is a high level of accountability between our people.

No longer is the day of the CEO to do it all. We all do the big, hard stuff.

Financial reward is there for the taking if you put the work in, just like an entrepreneur. And the opportunity can be so great, inspiring long-term commitment and increased retention of your A-Players.

Let’s face it, we all get off at times or make a mis-hire. So, you can use this list of nine as a reality checklist as well.

In an ownership culture, these are 9 things you do not want to hear:

1]      That is not the role I was hired for.

Closed mindsets are not a fit. Owners know we must commit to constantly grow ourselves personally and professionally. We are willing to do the dirty jobs and lead with serving the greater whole before self.

2]     I am the only one who can do this.

Really? Owners know how to give ownership and let go. They delegate the work and look for opportunities to develop others.

3]     That is not my problem.

Oh, but it is. Performance goals are clear and non-negotiable. If something is off, we band together to solve it.

4]     Billy is not pulling his weight around here.

Then talk directly to Billy! That is what an owner would do. Owners learn how to give open, direct feedback and don’t gossip to others.

5]     Do it my way.

Owners know there is more than one way to skin a cat. An ownership mindset practices listening and is open to new possibilities and new ways of doing things. They inspire collaboration and give people a voice for fresh, innovative thinking.

6]     I’m right again!

Who cares, Ego. Mis-hire, maybe? Owners take responsibility for themselves and their actions. They check their ego, say I’m sorry and show their vulnerability with other team members.

7]     We’ve done it this way for years.

That’s nice. With the world and technology changing constantly, the way you have done it is no longer even relevant in most cases. Ongoing transformation required.

8]     I wish someone would fix this.

Owners don’t wish, they do. Solutions focused, problem-solvers and critical thinkers are signs of an ownership mindset.

9]     I was not hired to sell.

An ownership mindset sells their passion, naturally and without effort. If you are in an ownership culture, but not ‘all in’ on the mission of your workplace, an ownership spirit will not be found. Passion for the mission drives us to be the mountain with no top and create new futures. Not feeling it? It is likely time to find a new place to call “own.”

Do You Have a Favorite Interview Question? I do. by Candi Luciano

Oh, the things you can learn by asking one good question.

We all have our list of questions to qualify a person for the role we are hiring. Additionally, those to determine a values fit. Great, keep asking those. All with the desire to learn as much as possible when taking the journey to find our next hire.

After interviewing people for the last 20+ years, I still have not found a question better than this one. I’ll explain. It is now part of my regular interview line-up and I want to share it with you.

90% of people will respond with a deep breath and a, “That’s a good question.” or “Wow, I have never been asked that one before.” Then, one of 3 things happens:

1.     They get uncomfortable and say, "I don’t know.” If confidence and decision-making is critical to the role you are hiring, would this be an acceptable answer? Would they be a fit for open communication? Do they know or care how others perceive them? You get a chance to see (watch the body language) and hear how they respond to a potentially awkward and direct question.

2.     They pause, maybe ask a clarifying question and then answer. Hooray, they gave an answer! It’s always fascinating to hear if they respond with something positive or negative. Was the answer clear? Did it feel authentic? You will learn a lot here often leading to some deeper conversation and insights.

3.     They respond with more than you ever wanted to know. This is where the crazy comes out. And, the truth. This is why I love this question so much. They reveal to you others perceptions of who they are. Then tell you, “It’s just not true.” Oh yes, run! It's true.

Are you ready for the question? My favorite interview question is: If we were in a social gathering, what would be one thing someone would say about you to your face and one thing they would say behind your back?

Try it and let me know how it works for you. If we could save even one misfit from coming into our culture, we win. We are the guardians of our culture. Will you share your favorite interview question here? #InterviewQuestion #HireForFit

"Diva of Disruption" Label Inspired Me to Own It by Candi Luciano

When another leader I respect referred to me a "Diva of Disruption," my first reaction was, "Ouch." Then, I thought about it and made the decision to own it. I explored my why here and it all became clearer.

I do disrupt. Disruption with the purpose of care for people and performance. My work is my art and my passion is pushing others out of their comfort zone and well beyond the potential they see for themselves. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing I have made another person and their work more valuable through my influence and direct mentoring style. And every time someone communicates I have rocked their world for the better, I am driven to keep changing the world of performance-driven design thinkers.

Have you considered how others see your personal brand? What labels could you be owning?