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Geeks Versus Jocks: CIOs, Beware Your Culture
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Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 6:14:57 PM
Re: Monoculture
@Progman2000: Yahoo is the only recent example I can think of where a dispersed workforce was required to return to working in the office. From what I have read about it, that was the right move for that company at that time. In general, though, most people I know and most companies I have worked for in the past 10 years have allowed some degree of remote work and in some cases have fully encouraged it. I think this became especially important during the last recession, when companies could not offer salary increases, or in some cases had to cut salaries, and yet wanted a way to retain their top performers. Perks such as telecommuting, additional vacation time and other things that had no "hard cost" associated with them started to becomre more common and are now fully entrenched. I don't think we'll ever turn back the clock on this trend.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 6:11:29 PM
Re: Identity Crises
@sferguson10001: It could be that Google's lack of diversity is, in part, a reflection of the available labor pool especially when it comes to the tech-related job openings there. Although, as I recall, the Google report said that something close to 50% of its workforce was in non-tech related jobs. while much has been written about the lack of diversity in the overall STEM labor pool -- with no really good answers as to why this is the case -- I can't imagine the same argument could be made for the non-tech jobs at Google or anyplace else. It's a problem of human nature, and an organization has to provide the training and top-down culture that helps people avoid the "like-hires-like" default that so many of us may act upon, oftentimes without even being aware of it.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
6/6/2014 | 4:15:45 PM
Re: Monoculture
I thought we were past the era of companies wanting employees centrally located.  I'm also curious as to where you have seen differently lately.  I was actually starting to wonder if some companies were rushing too fast to utilizing a remote workforce.
sferguson10001
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sferguson10001,
User Rank: Moderator
6/5/2014 | 5:35:57 PM
Re: Identity Crises
@DavidWagner: What I think is most interesting here, and especially with the Google example you used to illustrate the point, is how hard it is for companies to create the kind of ideal culture you want. After all, if Google admits that its corporate makeup is not where it should be, how can other companies achieve what one of the world's best run businesses cannot? In the end, maybe the decisions are driven by expediency and need and not by strategic thinking. Thoughts?
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
6/5/2014 | 4:50:07 PM
Re: Monoculture
@David Wagner: Not too Zen at all. That's an apt description of harmony.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/5/2014 | 4:00:39 PM
Re: Identity Crises
@TerryB- I think you can claim multiple memberships. More importantly, well-rounded folks are the best to find for a department. The only "problem" with being a geek or a jock or anything else is if it prevents you from doing your job. And the only reason have too many of any of them is a problem is if it creates a problem in your department.

In terms of geeks, I'm like king of the athletes, too, so i totally get what you're saying. But i happily hold a dual passport. :)
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
6/5/2014 | 3:54:24 PM
Re: Monoculture
I completelly agree that it all depends on the team.  If the members of the team fit together and can cooperate.  This can make a great difference in the output of the team's results.   
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/5/2014 | 3:14:44 PM
Re: Monoculture
@jagibbons: I've worked in both situations, as a telecommuter with a dispersed team and in an office where all my team mates were there alongside me. My takeaway from these experiences is that it all depends 100% on the personalities involved. Given the right mix of people, either can be equally effective. The wrong mix of people can make either option a disaster. The dynamic, in my experience, depends much more on the culture and personality of the team members than it does on where they are based.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/5/2014 | 3:09:11 PM
Re: Monoculture
@jastro: I wish that were true of ALL teams. I'm not convinced it can even be stated across the board as regards to virtual teams, at least based on what I've heard from some women developers who work on remote teams. In fact, I know one who just had to leave such a position because the culture became too unpleasant for her. She's as Geek as they come, and so were her colleagues. It would be oversimplifying it to say she was in a boys' club culture there, though I do think that was part of it. It was the kind of place where she was always the one asked to keep the meeting notes because she was always the only woman at the meeting.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/5/2014 | 3:05:17 PM
Re: Identity Crises
@TerryB: You're the reason I hate putting labels on people. Most of us are complex and nuanced in our likes and dislikes, how we choose to spend our personal time versus what our work interests are. To answer your primary question, I'd label you a Jeek or a Gok.

:)
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