This video, done by the fine people at RSA animate, was doing the rounds a few months ago but it really strikes a chord with me so I thought I’d re-share it here.

When I rule the world this will be mandatory viewing for anyone in a management position.

Company culture is set by its founders, and this can be one of the hardest things to get right. As a company grows the culture and humanity of a company tends to get diluted, and hierarchy and middle management put in place. Companies which have a failing culture (which I define as a company whose employees by and large hate going to work), have among their many failings a number of things in common.

Firstly, they all tend to have fairly deep hierarchies with layers of unnecessary abstraction between those in charge of strategic planning and those doing the actual work. Secondly, those at the coal face, so to speak, don’t feel as though they have any control of their own destiny and that their ideas don’t matter.

Companies which seem to do well, certainly those I’ve worked with where I’ve got the most enjoyment out of the interaction, listen to those in their employ and empower them to act on their own initiative to solve problems. They have flat hierarchies, value and give credit publicly to those that made a contribution.

While it is often raised as being a primary issue when workers are dissatisfied, money is generally a proxy for other issues.

This is a quick post about the simplest hack I’ve made which has boosted my productivity immensely. Simply turn off all notifications, email notifications and previews, IM Popups, Eclipse Mylyn task notifications, in fact anything which will interrupt your flow. Turn your phone to silent and put it in another room.

These notifications interrupt your flow and demand that they’re dealt with right away. Even if you ignore the notification the damage has been done, your flow has been interrupted and you were forced to make a decision as to whether to respond.

Turning off these notifications means you deal with them when you have the spare mental capacity to deal with it.

So, turn them off.