For nine years, Karen Wickre managed the Google blogs product and everything that goes with it as senior media liaison. This month, Wickre announced on her personal blog that she was leaving Google and heading to Twitter where she’ll take on the role of editorial director.
However, before she heads to Twitter, Wickre shared her insights about Google’s culture and success on her blog and it’s a great read (follow the preceding link to read it). For anyone who has wondered what makes Google not only a coveted place to work but also so successful, Wickre’s blog post is a must read. To sum it up, here are the things that Wickre talked about in her post:
- Wisdom of the crowds. Wickre writes, “There’s also crowd-wisdom to be found in teams, where everyone is free to have thoughts and suggest ideas that get serious consideration. And no small number of these succeed.”
- Questions are valued. Wickre explains that at weekly Google All-Hands meetings, employees are encouraged to ask questions about anything and everything. She explains, “Questioning product development or strategy (even about what’s already underway) is fair game. The point of asking is to understand better, raise unconsidered angles, improve on something or bring it to light. The assumption is: asking > information > exploration > greater intelligence > better outcome.”
- Humor is strength. Wickre writes, “There is a humorous sensibility that makes much of the work more pleasurable and improves the output of ~30,000 people.”
- Creativity is encouraged. Wickre explains that Google encourages its employees to have outside pursuits. She writes, “Many avocations are celebrated with company exhibits, talks and meetups.”
- Agility is key. Wickre cites Google’s flexibility as one of its most valuable assets. She says, “It would be easy for an unbelievably successful company to start codifying The Playbook and refer to that and that alone for all future roadmaps.”
Wickre’s insights are spot on and show that she truly “gets” the Google environment. Twitter is fortunate to have her joining its team. I’m constantly amazed at how poorly the Twitter blog is maintained with nothing more than product news and updates published. The Twitter brand should have a powerful and distinct brand voice, and hopefully, Wickre will be given the opportunity to develop that voice.
In the meantime, review the five factors of Google’s success listed above. Are they integrated into your company culture? And looking at this story from another angle, does your brand have someone like Wickre leading the charge to build your brand voice? If you don’t you need to get started right now!