I’ve just finished reading ‘How Google Works’ by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg. It is an interesting book and certainly gives an insightful of the way the senior echelons at Google operate. While it is hard to disagree with some of the brains behind one of the greatest success stories of the ‘internet era’ I found I was uncomfortable with about as much of the advice and examples as those that I found inspiring.
I guess that says more about me and why I work for the Civil Service and have spent my career working in education, research and government rather than taking more lucrative opportunities in the private sector.
There were some things I found extremely interesting though. The whole section on recruitment and how important it is really helped open my eyes. I am not sure the Google techniques and processes are really transferable but certainly their focus and prioritisation of the issue is something I will learn from.
The stuff that chimed most though was the idea of ‘believing your own slogans’ and how really needed to become something that everybody buys into. You need to articulate a belief system that your organisation (or team) cares about. Your values are what guide your people to make good decisions and empowers them to be proactive.
I realised this is something that the Government Digital Service have been particularly successful at. ‘Delivery is the strategy’. ‘Users first.’ ‘Digital services so good people prefer to use them.’ These are just a few of the slogans that GDS team members reiterate at every opportunity — from the government Chief Digital Officer at illustrious conferences to developers, content designers and user researchers you bump in to in a pub or coffee shop.