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Hacking Work

04.10.2013
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Six Ways Work is Changing and How “The Hacker Way” Will Help You Win

Work is changing at an unprecedented pace. To keep pace and succeed in the midst of all this transformation, we need to challenge traditional assumptions, reinvent traditional systems, and find a way to “hack” our way to new solutions.

But what does this mean, exactly?

Writing this week in Forbes, Rypple co-founder Daniel Debow explores all the ways work is changing — and how business leaders, managers, and individuals can set themselves up for success in this new world of work by embracing a “hacker” mentality.

Influenced by Facebook

The entrepreneur most responsible for embracing the hacker ideology at work is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In a letter accompanying Facebook’s IPO prospectus, Zuckerberg describes what he calls “The Hacker Way”:

“The word ‘hacker’ has an unfairly negative connotation from being portrayed in the media as people who break into computers. In reality, hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done…

The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo…

Hacker culture is also extremely open and meritocratic. Hackers believe that the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people.”

So how will embracing the hacker ideology help you succeed at work?

The Six Ways Work Has Changed

Debow writes that the way we work has changed in six fundamental ways:

  • Work is increasingly competitive
  • Work relies on technology as accessible and engaging as the stuff we use at home
  • Work rewards those who share information most efficiently
  • Work is more personal
  • Work values results over face time
  • Work respects influence over hierarchy

Hacking Work

A key entrepreneurial lesson Debow learned from Facebook was “how to infuse our company culture and values with the hacker mentality.”

 What would it look like if your employees could get in “three clicks” (or three quick pieces of feedback) what they once got in ten – or in a semi-annual review cycle? How could employees course-correct more quickly, close in more efficiently on desired results?

If HR could “hack” traditional cycles, I believe it could have an unprecedented impact on driving results and efficiency at work.

The Results

  1. Managers can create and manage feedback loops that encouraged positive momentum while redirecting less productive paths.
  2. Employees can create and build more quickly
  3. Team momentum can move in the direction of boundary-testing and achieving audacious results.
  4. Strong group or individual can be rewarded.
  5. Business leaders and HR have greater visibility, enabling them to evaluate more effectively what (and who) is working best.

Debow warns that organizations who choose not to adopt an innovative approach to “hacking” solutions to the challenges they now face at work do so at their own peril.

If you’re not innovating, and embracing new methods and technologies that support or accelerate innovation, you’re at risk of being disrupted – out-hacked –by the thinkers and companies that do.

To read the full article in Forbes, click here.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, David Austin.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)