(Photo via facebook.com/tappnetwork)
This guest post is a part of Technical.ly's Women in Tech month.
Recently, the company where I work, Tapp Network, went through a reorganization.
This is nothing new in the world of entrepreneurial companies that are experiencing growth. We are constantly working to refine our processes and better support our clients to do good in the world. Our reorg process on paper was pretty typical of what I’ve experienced in my career: We looked across our current client list, talked through a pipeline, and met to plan and finalize the roadmap.
That’s where we pivoted from the norm.
Tapp’s innovative approach shifted to put its mission where its mouth is and focus on aligning each business unit with the purpose and passion of the employees leading each division. We then approached those employees that would lead this new restructure to obtain buy in. Finally, we revealed the new system with a step-by-step walk-through.
That’s what I want to share. Our reorg consisted of aligning our accounts into business units. No big deal. Actually, it should be no big deal, but four of our five business units are led by women. And even in 2019 that’s still notable. It’s actually kind of fun to state that to people, watch their eyebrows shift and hear them say things like “How interesting,” or the great universal question, “Why?”
The why-centered organization
The why is because these people made sense for our organization. Should the why be about the fact that the majority of the leadership is women? No. That shouldn’t matter.
The important part of this “why” is that Tapp Network decided to hire subject matter experts — the Why Teams — that had experience in specific areas — in our case, nonprofits, healthcare, community impact, technology, global finance and economic development — and have demonstrated incredible commitment to the company and the clients we partner with. We then paired them with our How Teams, experts in digital strategy, app development, social media, content marketing, website development and marketing automation.
Now, the majority of us happen to be women — women who may or may not have been labeled “challenging” in other positions primarily because we all like to do multiple things and we care about making a difference. (Personally, I’ve lost enthusiasm over the years when someone tells me that I am only allowed to complete the tasks as outlined in a given job description.)
Opportunity and optimism
The unique component of our restructure is that our new business units are actually wrapped around those leaders — meaning, part of the decision-making process was to look at our talent and ask them, “What are you most passionate about?” and then figure out our client base and where we wanted to succeed in 2019, and add it to the spreadsheet.
We’re a company built on passion. If we’re all really passionate about who we are emailing, calling, texting and creating for, what does the work look like? What does the world of Tapp Network look like? It looks like something that has depth and personality. It’s filled with opportunity and optimism.
Can you really build a company on employees’ passion and purpose? You bet. Founders and entrepreneurs everywhere have it in their DNA. But how do you ensure that it soaks into the core of the people that make a decision to join the team? Ask them. And then let them fly.
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