Friday, March 16, 2007

Thrill Seekers & Company Culture

Seth Godin writes that there are basically two types of employees.

1. Thrill Seekers love growth. They most enjoy a day where they try something that was difficult, or--even better--said to be impossible, and then pull it off.
2. Fear avoiders hate change. They want the world to stay just the way it is. They're happy being mediocre, because being mediocre means less threat/fear/change.

Of course there is a lot of variation in people along a spectrum from one side to the other, however it is the people on the thrill seeking side of the fence that will prosper in the new economy.

So why should Companies think about this?
> Thrill seekers will naturally migrate to smaller companies and startups. Small companies and startups are a natural fit for this type of individual. They often start in, or try large companies, but thrill seekers cannot be happy for long in most large companies today because the company culture is predominantly Fear avoidance. They will get frustrated and leave.
> Thrill seekers will avoid places where unions and/or union mentality exist. Unions and union mentality shops are a breeding ground for fear avoidance.
> Thrill seekers attract each other. Whether purposefully or unknowingly, they seek out individual within their company or colleagues that feed their fire. In an era of online communities this becomes even easier.

What can companies do?:
> Understand where your employees fall on the spectrum and seek to help thrill seekers feed their needs, and funnel their energy to growing the company.
> Create a startup culture in your team, division or company, that will help move people to the thrill seeker side of the fence. Some will move faster than others, but the key is that you actively engaging with them.
> Build opportunities for thrill seekers across your company to meet, and use their creative forces to help drive change in your organization through cross functional teams, that allow them to drive the discussion.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Tac Anderson said...

I think that you and I will spend the rest of our lives at start ups - and be very happy thrill seekers.