one-year anniversary of YS reboot

a year ago tomorrow, YS set off on an aggressive path of organizational re-ivention (which we call our “reboot”). this stemmed from a growing sense that we were getting stale, and losing our innovative edge, even though the company was “healthy” by most external measuring standards. in the months leading up to that day, we’d tinkered and considered pursuing a few innovative ideas. but we got to a point where we realized that, unless we seriously address some internal, cultural, systemic problems, the best we could hope for was a few innovations, but no sustained innovation. so, the reboot has been (and still is) a wild and challenging process of rethinking who we are, how we work, how we’re structured, how departments interact, how new ideas get birthed, naming our roadblocks, and addressing personal growth.

we had an all staff meeting this morning, and spent some time going over the reboot milestones of the past year. it’s been quite a ride — and my hunch is that we’re maybe about half-way through the process. here’s the list of milestones:

May 04

    · Reboot day (an all staff day away to launch the change)
    · Learning from Adizes’ “Stages Of An Organization” theory (see here and here and here) (we set off on a course of re-invention, taking the middle of three opportunities for change. We’d already missed the first opportunity – creating a flywheel of change that starts before the necessity is clear. But we weren’t yet at the last opportunity – basically, selling off the assets to someone else who would bring the rebirth. Our chosen path of re-invention, however, necessitated a “departure from the shore of where we were” into the waters of change, without a clear vision of the other shore)
    · Naming of 5 re-affirmed organizational values and 6 “new values” that would be the initial (at least) focus of our reboot
    · Reboot org chart, v1.0
    · Reboot working teams formed

June 04

    · “Change Czars” (two God-given consultants) enter our world
    · Exec retreat #1 (personal and corporate identity; major break-throughs in trust; shift in thinking about employees)

July 04

    · All staff report on the implications of June retreat
    · Re-boot org chart, v2.0
    · Attempted shift in reboot working teams
    · All staff day away at Mission San Luis Rey

August 04

    · Consultant here to meet with marketing
    · “Accounting Irregularities” discovered
    · Lawsuit filed against YS

September 04

    · At all-staff, largest intro of new staff ever: David C, Holly, Brock, Kelsey, Alex, Sarah M, Ian, Jerilyn, Miriam (also joining us in the past year: Camille, Andy, Matt, Beth Mac, Phil, Jody, Gimena and Natalia)
    · Acknowledgement that “reboot working teams” are a false construct

October 04

    · Financial technology consultant spends his first week at YS (has been back two times since, plus attending the Atlanta NYWC)

November 04

    · Web and content management consultant spends his first week at YS (has been back two times since, plus attending the Atlanta NYWC)
    · Thinking about “seeing” our future, we started talking about these kinds of things are markers (this was a pre-cursor to the Jan exec retreat and “Yvonne Santos” – the name we gave the living organism that was our desired future):
    o Innovation
    o Freedom
    o Change/risk/good failure
    o Self-organizing teams
    o Accessible resources
    o Satisfaction from contribution
    · Mild revision of “new values”

December 04

    · Product, marketing and events department retreats with Change Czar, plus individual coaching for everyone else
    · Major office moves: tech upstairs, product and events trading spaces, marketing bulging across the hall

January 05

    · Organizational “Culture-Strategy Fit Profile” survey taken; extensive report compiled by organizational learning psychologist.
    · “Imagine if…” exercise with all staff
    · Exec retreat #2 (redefining our future – identification of Power and Communication as primary impediments)
    · Decision to stop hosting NPC/EC (primarily coming out of the discussion on power and identity)

February 05

    · Innovation Bunker, a neutral creative space for self-organizing teams to work (and white-board dominant conf room) open for cross-departmental creativity
    · Re-boot org chart, v3.0

Feb/March/Apr 05

    · A wad of opportunities appear on the horizon, darn close to simultaneously
    · Lawsuit concluded

2 thoughts on “one-year anniversary of YS reboot”

  1. I know there has been some flack for the stuff you guys do, but from one blogger to another (and God lover) keep up the good work, be encouraged and sit still enough to hear God’s whisper.

  2. Pingback: ysmarko

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