The Decoded Company: Know Your Talent Better Than You Know Your Customers

Posted April 1, 2014 in Communication, Leadership, What We're Reading

The Decoded CompanyBy: Leerom Segal, Aaron Goldstein, Jay Goldman, Rahaf Harfoush

Reviewed by: Daneal Charney

The Premise: I am one of those HR geeks who closely follows management innovationalists like Gary Hamel and Don Tapscott. So when I picked up The Decoded Company I got excited. The book presents breakthrough ideas on how to leverage employee work data to personalize and optimize the employee experience (in the same way that Facebook, Netflix, Spotify do so in our non-work lives).

The Decoded Company presents three big ideas. Firstly, ‘Technology As a Coach’, personalizing processes to the individual based on experience and offering on-demand training interventions. Think of having checklists and recommendations presented to you just-in-time as you work on a new task. You may even get a watch out if your patterns change to help you course correct before you make a mistake. The Decoded Company provokes you to build your own telematics-type system for employees, bringing insights to them about their work on a real time basis.

Secondly, ‘Data As a Sixth Sense’, is the idea of codifying organizational battle scars using actual code that watches your blind spots and equips you to make good decisions. The Decoded Company introduces the rule of 5 degrees. A small course correction at the start of a task is much easier than a large one later.

The third key idea is how Engineered Ecosystems triumph the hierarchy, reduce red tape, increase transparency, and motivate your teams. This chapter is about consciously building the culture you want and shares case studies from Starbucks, Valve, Whole Foods and more.

The Bottom-line: This book is not one that can be consumed in one sitting. It needs to be inhaled slowly and tested out one idea at a time. I love the core assumption of The Decoded Company. Workplaces should be built around for the highest common denominator not the lowest. If our goal is really to bring the best out of people this totally makes sense. Instead of applying one-size-fits-all practices and policies (which often demotivate high performers and even get in their way), we should personalize the employee experience and give individuals what they need to thrive.

Rating: A breakthrough book in the world of human resources and technology in the workplace.

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