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IDEO, GOOGLE, Pixar Hiring and motivational models, Outliers, Good to great Companies

Hiring the right person for the right job is the challenge being faced by every organization. The challenge gets more intense when one is dealing with the reputed company like Google. Every year it is estimated that Google gets almost not less than one million of job applications. Sorting these applications and finding the best match for the available position is a real challenge faced by the company. However, Google has adopted a ‘non traditional’ approach of employees selection. Instead of focusing mainly on academic achievements and previous job positions and experience, Google is finding employees who posses certain personality or behavioral characteristics that are relevant for the success in the respective job opening. To achieve this purpose, Google is following a scientific approach in knowing the behavioral and personality traits of the employees. A survey is conducted that tries to probe the personality traits of the employees. These questions are then scored that are likely to result in successful job hire, based on the position in question.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’ published in 2008, very openly criticizes the traditional approach being followed by the companies in hiring people based on “top-down” selection method. This method of selection focuses on the cognitive ability of the employees (commonly known as “intelligence”).  He argues that at certain level additional cognitive ability simply is not valuable. Gladwell argues that it is historical advantages that bias scores on employee selection devices.

The crux of Gladwell’s talk is that there is no predictor of the future performance. Past performance cannot guarantee the future performance. One cannot tell ahead of time which job candidate will be a good match for one’s organizational culture and for the task at hand. The only way to know for sure is to hire them and try them out. Hence, by his approach we can infer that the future of hiring is hiring employees on contracts and then confirm them on satisfactory performance.

n IDEO, the employees are motivated to present and implement the ideas they have, no matter how wild they sound. Each year they are given additional amount of money to design their cabin as per their unique need. The overall ambience of IDEO depicts a well-motivated group of people who are maintaining their individuality.

The boss or project in charge encourages the fresh ideas whether it clashes with his own idea. IDEO believes that the basic ingredients of innovation are open mind, chaos that is considered to be constructive and a lot of teamwork. The groups are composed of seniors and juniors. All of them sit together and through brain storming session they come up with various ideas. There is no discrimination on the fact that who presented the idea rather through voting various ideas are dotted together. In such culture, the employees are motivated, as presence of each one is important.

The IDEO can be termed as following the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs motivational model. Infact, Maslow’s ideas surrounds the Hierarchy of Needs concerning the responsibility of employers to provide a workplace environment that encourages and enables employees to fulfill their own unique potential that is their self-actualization. In IDEO employee’s self-actualization is focussed above all other needs that includes the personal growth and fulfillment.

Daniel Pink has also presented important conclusion in Jhonny Bunko that relates to the IDEO motivational models. There is no definite plan of doing things. Rather, a lot of ideas are dotted together to reach a single idea that leads to the innovation. The strengths are given importance than the weaknesses. Group members who don’t even listen to their boss are encouraged to present ideas, as they are considered constructive in coming up with wild and unique things. The teamwork as mentioned earlier is the most vital ingredient of the job. It’s not about oneself rather it’s making contribution in the society. Persistence is important as it leads to innovation. Daniel Pink also focuses on making mistakes that is also essence of IDEO as coming up with awkward ideas helps in reaching a better stuff.

Many analysts attributed Pixar's success to its unique culture that marks an informal approach toward work and its Human Resource (HR) policies that has built a motivated and loyal employee base.

The culture of the Pixar as illustrated by ED Catmull, is to cultivate an ambience of open and honest communication. The culture motivates the teamwork that facilitates the basic work of Pixar that is movie production. Every employee has right to present its ideas and be heard. Ed says that the Pixar team ensures that the communication lines are open. Everyone is encouraged on trusting each other. This is achieved from attracting high quality people, and keeping the communication open. Secondly, another important trait dominating the culture of Pixar is being friendly ambiance. Keeping the environment egalitarian. The management emphasis that one is no way above the others whether its is artists and engineers. Also, Ed Catmull, emphasizes that the main purpose of all activities are making good movies. Everything else is a means to achieve that end. Another important characteristic of the culture is to maintain a good quality. This can be achieved by bringing good people on board. They will deliver quality in products and also bring better talent. At Pixar the trust on the people is the main force. Ed is strong believer that the creative people need to drive the innovation. When given the trusts, creative people work hard and facilities the company in delivering high quality product.

Given the friendly and unique culture of Pixar, Joe Simpson will very nicely get along the Pixar. The culture encourage the adaptability that facilities the people in easily adjusting within it.

David Kelly, founder of IDEO is also great vocal of employee’s ability to communicate freely. This is the essence of IDEO culture where the ideas are motivated no matter they reach to a successful conclusion. This is encouraged that results should not be evaluated beforehand, rather, focus of generating unique ideas and building on those ideas is emphasized. The culture of both organizations thus, focuses on open communication.

The companies who travel the journey from Good to Great companies adopt various changes in their culture. Jim Collins, explains that the company needs to develop Level 5 leadership quality to improve their culture. Level 5 leadership explains that the leader needs to be humble yet passionate in achieving their organizations goals. This encourages and motivates the employees in open communication of their ideas. This is also witnessed in Pixar and IDEO, that the seniors were humble to their juniors. A culture of equality was encouraged where everyone has right to speak and to be heard.

By being humble they eliminate the hesitations and encourage free flow of communication.

Another method of mitigating the barrier of communication is to have right people on the board. Hiring people who do not align the organization goals will ultimately encourage the negative wibes and will lead the company to disaster. Therefore, employees should be freely given feedback of their performance. And in case someone is falling short of expectations they should be immediately informed rather than lingering this matter. Giving employees the clear vision of the organizations business can also mitigate communication barrier. This can be done using the “Hedgehog concept” given by Jim Collins that means having a simple, extremely clear concept of what their business is.

Communication barrier can also be removed by adopting a culture of self-discipline. This creates an environment where people work within a defined system, and because they are aware of the confines of the system, it gives them more freedom to act within that system. This kind of culture is very common in the cases of The Making of Gollum, Pixar, Alive etc., where the groups were given projects with dead lines to ensure the whole work is completed systematically. Also, communication barrier can be removed by adopting “The Flywheel” approach, which refers to the idea of momentum. This approach keeps the employees pushing in one direction and facilitates in building up a lot of it that will help the organizations to overcome obstacles.

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