Sunday, June 14, 2009

will wright, game inventor, on the workplace

In an interview in the New York Times game inventor Will Wright presents some insightful observations about the nature of managing workplace culture and creating an atmosphere that fosters the best work from everybody. Here are a few of my favorite passages:

On getting the very best out of everybody, finding the zone where each individual can pour themselves into their work"

And this to me is one of the important points of working collaboratively with other people — trying to get a sense of what is the one thing that makes their eyes light up, they get excited about and they won’t stop talking about... I initially really noticed this in myself. If I was working on something I was really into, nothing was going to get in my way, no matter what obstacles came up in front of me. If it was a task that somebody gave me and I wasn’t that into it, it was more like you were just sitting there turning the crank and going through the motions.

On leveraging personalities in a team, making it a benefit rather than an issue to manage:

A lot of team members I consider glue within the team in that they disseminate things effectively, they motivate and improve the morale of people around them. They basically bring the team tighter and tighter... Other ones are solvents and, it’s just their kind of personal nature that they might be disagreeable. They rub people the wrong way. They’re always caught in conflicts. But, for the most part, that is as least as important as their competence in their role.

And this I love, on how to build autonomy in the people you manage:

One of the things that I have done with people that I work with is, they will always come to me for a decision: “Do, you think we should do A or B?” More and more I will ask them to guess which one we would pick. They’ll say, “Well, you know, we were thinking you would pick A.” And then you give them feedback. “Hey, you’re right: I would have picked A,” or “No, you’re wrong: I would have picked B, and this is why.” And the point of that really is to get them to develop an internal model of you.

And there is more - well worth a read, over at the New York Times

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