Derek Sidebottom

Scaling Through Workforce Development

TBOP2017 ⋅ 2:49 ⋅ Filmed May 11, 2017

You’re a small startup: you don’t need to worry about org. Structure yet. Right? Wrong! In this clip, HR guru Derek Sidebottom explains how companies from tiny startups to behemoths like Amazon thrive with the right org. Structure and culture. Does your business need a cluster or node style environment? What sort of workforce networks need to be in place to prevent silos and promote skill sharing? It might not be the most glorious of topics, but take it from Derek: you need to think about structure if you’re going to scale.


Now you end up with this question. OK, great. I got the players. I got the purpose. I know why I'm here. I'm going to start adding people. Whether you like it or not, you got to deal with structure.

[00:11] On the left here, are some various organizational models — I'll leave my email address here at the end and anyone that wants this presentation, I'll send it to you — you got this classic Amazon hierarchy. And you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Really, does this matter? I just got funding?’ Yes, it does because if you end up with 17 Vice Presidents because you gave the title away, what are you going to do afterward? How are you going to organize this? I'm normally on the cleanup side of this. In my role, in the consulting role, head of HR, I usually get there a little bit later and I'm like, if only someone had had a time machine to go back and say, "think about this first".

[00:47] Google's got this interesting nodes and divisions but they can all talk to each other which is kind of cool.

[00:56] Facebook is definitely a node-oriented culture.

[00:58] Microsoft, I don't know if it's still like this, but this is the common joke. Anyone work for Microsoft? Oh (laughing), is it still like that? (side conversation w/ audience member of Microsoft) So, for those of you watching, a slight acknowledgement that it may have once been like that a little bit. Different groups siloed off which is very difficult when you think about it. A collaborative culture and I understand that's still a little true.

[01:24] Apple, this is kind of what happens, very sad with the change of leadership at Apple but in some ways this is entrepreneurial culture that never really outgrew the founder. I see a lot of this and it's something that if you don't deal with it, you end up with the Apple structure and you're incredibly dependent on one or two or three people. Doesn't scale. My job here today is to talk about Scaling.

[01:53] Oracle, just kind of fun - Legal department and Engineers. Whether that's true or not, I haven't actually been able to validate it.

[02:02] More and more, as you get your capital and you get your product working, you're thinking to yourself I need to scale. Does it need to be through employees? We live in a gig economy. How would you structure a particular, or potentially structure, different nodes? Different clusters of people? Different workforce networks? There are all sorts of wonderful people that you can leverage on demand. Think about how you want to approach getting things done through structure.

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