Cube Rules Interview: Scot Herrick (Part 1)
by David Zinger
This is part 1 of a 2-part interview with Scot Herrick. Scot created Cube Rules, an informative and helpful site for knowledge workers.
His topics often embrace elements of employee engagement. I asked Scott 6 question and he offered a wonderful range of responses. Here are a few tidbits from the two part series:
In order to differentiate your work and have a successful career, you need to consistently improve your skills, perform well in your work, and understand opportunities that are presented to you. Working in a cube is not a sprint, it is a marathon.
Destroying things is easy — you stop the function, layoff the people, take the write-down and move on. Building something is creative, requires persistence, requires budgets that reflect reality, needs support — it is hard, but much more satisfying.
Find time every week to distance yourself from your work and analyze what is working, what could be improved, and answer whether this is still the right position for your work.
1. How did you come up with the name Cube Rules for your site?
When I started looking for career management advice several years ago, what I found was advice for managers or modifying resumes for everyone else. There wasn’t consistent, overall career management advice for knowledge workers. Knowledge workers work in cubes and, to do well, there are rules that need to be followed just as there are management rules. Combining Cube and Rules seemed to make good sense because it specifically did not address management, leadership, or overall business sites. The focus is on career management for knowledge workers.
2. How do the words cubicle and warrior fit together?
If you look out over most large office floors, you can see a hundred cubicles. Sometimes more. In order to differentiate your work and have a successful career, you need to consistently improve your skills, perform well in your work, and understand opportunities that are presented to you. Working in a cube is not a sprint, it is a marathon.
Consequently, you need to elevate your game. You need to be a student of career management and your industry while still producing tasks every day. This takes devotion and focus. I thought that of the hundreds of people working in cubicles, some would understand this and thrive in a cubicle. These would be the warriors of the work world; the people you would want working with you as you worked in a department for a company. Wouldn’t you love to have a group of focused, delivery oriented people — cubicle warriors — working on your stuff? I would.
3. How do we foster engagement of ourselves and others in a cubicle — from surviving to thriving?
As you can imagine, I’ve done a lot of reading on employee engagement (but not a lot of writing as it isn’t the focus of a career management site). Of all that I’ve read, I am still drawn to the work in “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job.” And while the title is a bit negative and the book is oriented to what managers can do to engage their staff, the three signs also point to what we ourselves can do to be engaged in our work.
The first principle is measurability. We, as knowledge workers in a cube, need to know that we are or are not being successful on our own through our measurements. This means we independently can figure out our success against business goals and not rely on a manager for the validation of our worth. If you have to wait six months for a review (or a review of any sort) to know you are doing OK, it’s not engaging.
The second principle is anonymity. If we are personally unknown at work — our interests, hobbies, the things we like about work — then we won’t be engaged in the work. So knowing the people on your team, your manager, and those that you work with is critical to engagement. We are social creatures and need the connection to be engaged.
The third principle is relevance. Your work must be connected directly to other people or groups. Note: relevant to people, not goals. Not the business. Not the mission. Relevant to people. Connecting your work with helping other people gets you engaged.
I also think you need to like what you are doing, but given that, these principles are the core of employee engagement.
The next post on Employee Engagement Zingers will have part 2 of the interview with Scot. Click here to learn more from Scot and Cube Rules.