Episode 145.5 – Green Apple Slice


5 Blueprints for Organizational Success



The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss his notes from attending the Culture Summit in San Francisco and how one of the sessions discussed an Undercover Recruiter article, “5 Blueprints for Organizational Success“.


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    Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday. It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices. On the other line is Rachel Fisch. Rachel, how are you?

    Rachel: Good. How are you doing, John?

    John: I’m doing great. The accountant’s group, leader for Canada, for sage tomorrow is Sage Sessions New York City right there in Time Square. I’m excited to be speaking to everyone there. But I actually just got back from the Culture Summit. It was a conference in San Francisco and it was really great, just learning about corporate culture, kind of how it applies to a lot of different places, a lot of dot coms and things like that.

    Rachel: Yeah. I was wondering, we often go to events and I work at a software company. So I’m often a sponsor or a speaker and you of course, Mr. keynote.

    John: There was some really cool things that I took away from it. It’s like Helen Russell is the head of people person at this company called Atlassian. She talked about, there’s three kinds of corporate structures. So there’s what attracts people to your firm, how you select them and then how you “control them” if you will.

    Rachel: Oh, that’s interesting.

    John: And then that’s the blueprint. If you’re dealing with a startup or a small nonprofit that’s really passionate about something, people are working there because they’re really passionate about the purpose of the organization. You’re building something new, it’s exciting. I’m here and I’m part of this. You select them because they fit culturally. We can hit the ground running with these people. And then you don’t really have to put in much control because it’s mostly peer driven. It’s basically, just act like us and do what we’re doing and make this happen. That’s the commitment model, and then you flipped that over and the exact opposite of that is pretty much I think how accounting firms work because the attraction is not the purpose of the accounting firm. The attraction is money. That’s why people are working there because they’re getting paid. You select them based on their technical skills, not on the culture if at all. You control them by direct authoritative coming from the top.

    Rachel: Past driven.

    John: Yeah, and that’s the autocracy blueprint. There’s another one that’s kind of in the middle where they’re attracted to the work because it’s interesting. You select them based on their potential. So not on what the skills they have right now but on what their potential is. And then the control is kind of a peer driven model that’s in the middle. The thing that’s really fascinating is that a lot of companies that go public, 100% success rate for companies that are in that commitment model where people are really driven by the purpose and choose them by the culture. But after they get to a certain size, then you need to flip over to that star model which is attracting people because of interesting work, and you’re hiring them because of their potential. That’s where the most successful highest market cap comes. It’s ironic that the accounting firm model is really the worst.

    Rachel: Worst of all the models.

    John: The whole time I was sitting there was like when — what about the autocracy model? Yeah, no, that’s not good for anybody ever. It’s not successful. And you’re seeing it play out I think with the engagement numbers that are low and high turnover and things like that. A certain level of turnover is healthy, but —

    Rachel: But accounting firms are still profitable and these businesses are still successful and you’re not going to see accounting firms like the Deloittes and PWCs of the World shut down or implode on themselves or anything like that. So then how are they able to maintain that if this is the complete opposite to that ideal model.

    John: It’s not saying that your company is going to go under. It’s just that the success rate is not as high and you’re not achieving your maximum potential. I think that the bigger firms are able to do it because of just sheer volume. Its numbers. Yeah, sure. We had 20% turnover, but we have all these college kids that are coming in right now. So it doesn’t matter, but it really. Think about if the turnover rate was half of, that how much greater things would be? Just the consistency of client service and the consistency of things. And I think that they’ve built around that to be like well, that’s how it is and then they build in bridges to make sure that things don’t completely fall apart when people leave. But what if you didn’t have to do that? What if you could spend your time and money and resources on something maybe a little bit bigger and better?

    Rachel: I think that this is almost why your message goes over so well within that area, because it’s so normal to so many other companies and industries in the way that so many other people work, and yet it still feels new to all of the people that you’re talking to. It’s like, no, this is actually normal.

    John: Yeah. It’s not a millennial thing at all. It’s how humans are built.

    Rachel: Yeah, totally.

    John: I found out about some that are really fascinating then I’ll start incorporating into the keynotes and stuff by Google and some professors at Stanford and Harvard that have done some things. But basically, I think the big takeaway is have interesting work and that’s completely possible in an accounting firm. It’s completely possible because you just have clients that people are interested into that industry and really passionate about that industry and find clients in that.

    That work is interesting to them and then hire people based on their potential. Don’t look at what can they do for me now. Can we be their second and third job? That’s what the reference point was, was you know rather than leave and go to somewhere else for their second job, how about we rehire them if you will as they’re within the firm, as the second job and a third job and be thinking of their future and how do they fit in long term as opposed to where are they going to fit in right now today. That was a big take away from that I’d say. There weren’t a lot, but yeah, it was really cool.

    Rachel: Oh, my goodness. We learned something.

    John: I know. Someone might even drop some of these knowledge bombs tomorrow at the sage sessions.

    Rachel: Awesome. Well, have awesome day tomorrow. I know you can do great and the message always goes over really well. It’s great to hear when people start talking about what their hobbies and passions are and you can feel the buzz in the room which is awesome. So have an awesome day.

    John: Great. Well, thanks Rachel. Have a good one.

    Rachel: Yeah, you too.

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