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John Izzo

October 18, 2017 by Speakers' Spotlight

What I Learned about Purpose at Google HQ

Dr. John Izzo helps companies maximize their potential from the ground up. For over 20 years, Dr. Izzo has worked with thousands of leaders around the world, on employee-engagement strategies and brand transformations. He has been a pioneer in employee engagement, leading change, shifting employee and consumer values and corporate social responsibility, and is known for his hard hitting practical content, his inspirational storytelling and the lasting impact he has on organizations.

Dr. Izzo recently posted a fascinating blog on his experiences at Google HQ. Here are some highlights:

Last week I spent an amazing day at Google Headquarters in the Silicon Valley. Given their success and the fact that Fortune Magazine has named them the Best Company to work for in America eight of the last eleven years made my visit feel that much more important. In this blog I will share why I think Google is the best company to work for, why what seems new is old school and some great gems I got from Google on Thriving in an Age of Disruption.

Purpose is at the Heart of the Google Magic

Most of you know that Google offers free amazing food at all their sites which is true and we got to taste some of it. Apparently, some Googlers eat all three meals at work! They have great perks, are well paid, have generous sick leave benefits and get help paying for education and all that stuff. But it didn’t take long to realize that the BIGGEST benefit at Google is you get to be part of changing the world.

But Part of Google’s Magic is Old School

Reading this might make you think that to be a great place to work these days you need to be “cutting edge”, have great stock options, and be in the headlines every day. But here is the thing, part of the magic at Google is very old school. Twenty years ago, I made a visit to a relatively unknown bank named Synovus that had just been named the Best Company to work for in America. Less flashy and sexy than Google, they made the list because of their down home good values, the fact that it felt like family to work there, their commitment to make a difference for customers and because you got to bring your brain to work (and have your ideas valued).

While Google has lots of sizzle, team members talk about it feeling like a family, really feel they are part of the culture through town halls and open communication, and talk about lots of collaboration.

Of course, the Google team reminded us that no company can rest on its success these days and that disruption is always waiting right around the corner.

So here is some advice I got that helped me in my business and it just might help you too:

  • The most important question is: if you were starting your biz again from scratch what would you do differently? If you aren’t thinking that way your future competitors are so watch out
  • Fail Fast, Fail Often, and Fail Cheap. Test everything you do and stop if it isn’t working. Stop Fast.
  • Make sure you are building the right It before building It right. Most companies and most of us get wed to having the right It before we know if it will work. We invest money, energy, and time into doing “right” what may not be the right thing to do at all
  • Make it some people’s job within your company to disrupt your existing business. Tinder was born because Match.cоm picked some people and said disrupt our main business- make it your mission to put us out of business.
  • Almost all innovation is not new but the combination of existing things. The wheel (and horse cart) plus the engine was a car. A hotel plus a private home was AIR BNB. A private car plus a taxi was Uber. You get the idea. Maybe it’s not that hard put your mind to it.
  • And some good news: don’t worry about computers replacing human intelligence anytime soon. They told us that right now the smartest machine learning is about like a three year old- phew. Only now can a computer tell the difference between a dog and a cat.

Read Dr. Izzo’s extended post here.