How To Survive & Thrive In A Big Company

These are my tips on getting by in a large organization. They’re intended for people who are working in less than ideal circumstances – you know, there’s no leaked “culture deck” or well-stocked snacks. For more than the five minutes above, there’s a longer version of the talk as well. Check out the slides as well.

Abstract

If you work at a small, cool company, you can skip this talk. The rest of us in large, slow moving companies that rely on meetings, email, and inbox 2,000 to get the daily work done need some therapy and advice for thriving in big, “dumb” companies. I’ve worked in such companies and figured out how to thrive in the “back to back meetings” world we’re taught to avoid. I’ll tell you my tactics. Ideally, you’d adapt the no manager GitHub dream, adapt the Spotify and Netflix cultures of awesomeness. Indeed. However, oftentimes there are good reasons to stay in the relatively dysfunctional companies you’re at. They’re big, slow moving, and seem to use Microsoft Office as their core innovation engine. If people at your work always talk about “aircraft carriers” this is the talk for you. For whatever reasons you’re there, why not make the best of it and learn how to get along and even thrive instead of letting your head explode in rage. This talk will go over what I’ve learned working in large companies from my strange adventure working with a bunch of MBAs in corporate strategy at Dell, to working with large companies as an industry analyst, to working with marketing and product people at large companies.

Recommended more’s

  • My write-ups of these and other BigCo patterns and anti-patterns.
  • The book Moral Mazes, an old, but excellent guide to understanding how people in company’s think and, therefor, how companies operate in the real world.
  • “War Stories from the God Pod: Strategies for killing high stakes Executive presentations” – Matt Baker’s excellent tips

2 Replies to “How To Survive & Thrive In A Big Company”

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