How can you set yourself up to thrive in the workplace? We’ve wrapped up Dom Price’s (Work Futurist at Atlassian) best tips from his session at 9 to Thrive Summit in Sydney.
In the rapid rate of change we’re going through on the work front, it can be hard to know where to focus your attention.
The good news? “We each own our future,” says Dom Price, head of R&D and resident work futurist at billion-dollar startup Atlassian.
“But there are trends we can be aware of now, to help us better understand how we can navigate the future.”
Based on Atlassian’s values, which is built around a core structure of being “an open company with no bullshit”, Dom shares the following five factors that are key to career success – whether you work for yourself, for a boss, or for shareholders:
“I hate growing. It’s bad. Scaling is much better. I have gone to so many organisations that have grown and gotten big – and you wouldn’t want to work there. I also know people who have grown; they’ve read books and gained knowledge, but then they’ve done nothing with it.
When people like Simon Sinek talk about connecting with our purpose and why, we all know what that means – but we don’t do the work. Instead of growing, I like scaling – which as a human being, is about: how do we improve ourselves every day? How do we scale by providing better service, outputs, value and community?”
Takeaway: “Know why you are doing what you are doing. Find a way to evolve and learn and live every single day, so you can be the vest version of yourself.”
“I wish I’d trademarked this word a while ago! I hate the word transformation the same way that I hate the word growing – because if I’m honest, most of the organisations that I go through that phase of transformation are generally those ones that have been caught being static, conservative and complacent.
You want to thrive in modern day business, and to do that, you need to evolve. This is true agility, which is a process of learning and adapting. To build agility, there’s a practice called the 4 Ls, which I do personally every quarter for myself and with my team:
What did I LOVE about the previous quarter? Not what did I like. Like is a bad word. If you loved it you’re probably good at it and nailing it – it could be your super power.
What did you LONG for?
What did you LOATHE? You are full – you only have 24 hours in a day and they’re already maxed out. You can’t add something you long for, unless you take something out that you loathe.
What did you LEARN – and how can you share that with anyone who will listen?”
Takeaway: “Change a little bit in yourself or in your business every single day, rather than waiting for one static ‘transformation moment’.”
“Tenure is very different to initiative. It used to be very much about time served, in terms of earning that incentive, bonus or promotion. Now, it’s not about time – it’s about how good your ideas are and how good you are at following them through.
Cross-functional, cognitively diverse teams – this is the foundation of friction that creates innovation. Your idea by yourself is fine, but when you ask for challenges and questions, it becomes infinitely better. We should also aim to work towards inclusive meetings, which is a way to connect so that introverts and extroverts work well together.”
Takeaway: “There’s a saying: ‘Argue like you’re right, listen like you’re wrong’. I never used to do that, so now I set myself a challenge to never leave a meeting knowing the things I already knew going in. To instead, shut my mouth and open my ears, and just listen.”
“Bottom line: you are either being disrupted, or you are the disruptor. There is no grey area. You are one or the other.
The easy reference here is the Blockbuster/Netflix scenario. In the year 2000, Blockbuster made $800m in late fees. They were offered the chance to buy Netflix for $50m – and they said no.
But that’s not the part of the story I want you to remember. The key is this: Blockbuster actually invented streaming before Netflix did. It was called Blockbuster Total Access. They had a pilot and they had funded it and they were ready to go, but then they killed the project. Why? Because they thought it would cannibalise their late fees. They decided they couldn’t go without the revenue, so they decided not to do streaming. So someone else did.”
Takeaway: “Don’t let the barriers about what you know about your business, get in the way of innovating.”
“I want you to consider outputs vs outcomes. Outcomes are difficult, because they require a leap of faith. They require you to think about the impact you’ll have on someone else.
At Atlassian, our objectives are phrased in the words of the customer we are trying to delight, and our key results are how we are getting there, which is why we focus on outcomes, not outputs.”
Takeaway: “You must unlearn your old habits of ways of working that worked in the past, but that won’t work in the future. Rid yourself of that baggage to give yourself the chance to nail your future. You are the key to unleashing the potential of your organisation.”
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