When Work Works

It’s easier and more fun to criticize and discuss negatives, but let me describe what work is like when it’s going well, so we can remember what our goal as managers is, and why it’s worth it.

  • You look forward to going to work every morning. You already know what you’re going to accomplish today, and it’s something that’s going to make you proud.
  • You like the people you work with. You trust them and you know they trust you. You know they’re not going to try to look good at your expense. You trust their competence, their commitment, and their integrity, and you know they trust yours. You feel like teammates on the world’s greatest team.
  • You have confidence in the larger picture, in what you’re all accomplishing together. And you look forward, with pride and confidence, to the next release.

It’s a great experience, and it’s also quite rare.

If that vision speaks to you, then commit yourself to experiencing it. If you can’t live that on the company level, then start by making it happen on a department or team level. Life’s too short to not feel great and be great at work.

Have I mentioned that I’m proud to be part of the world’s greatest product management team, working closely with great engineering, content and community teams, in a great company?

That’s one of the things I like about Joel Spolsky’s account of starting Fog Creek Software:

“We didn’t start with a particular product in mind: our goal was simply to build the kind of software company where we would want to work”

Their initial product idea failed. But the team they built would eventually succeed.