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Monday, April 26, 2010

BEYOND THE CUBICLE – CORPORATE CULTURE: Brick & Mortar Vs. No Boundaries, Part 1

Beyond the Cubicle – Corporate Culture with Teri Aulph

Take a look around. Companies are launching without the traditional "brick & mortar" boundaries. Impressive street addresses are being replaced with .com addresses. Boardrooms are being replaced with online meeting venues. Employees can work from anywhere they have wireless access and cell phone coverage. How is this shift in "how we do work" impacting the culture of a company?

Let me introduce you to Jeff Garber, CEO, and Dan Fedrizzi, COO, founders of In response to the recent devastating job losses across they country, they founded 360JI to provide affordable career services to job seekers worldwide. 360JI connects job seekers to 300+ top HR professionals representing over 55 industries for PERSONAL one-on-one career/interview coaching, as well as resume services. This array of services is provided live via Skype. The mission: to help job seekers get noticed and get hired.

Prior to, Garber and Fedrizzi spent over 20 years in marketing and communications. Jeff has emerged as a spokesperson for job search challenges with recent interviews for national media, including:, The Washington Times, Baltimore Sun, Atlanta Journal Constitution, ABC-Baltimore, Huffington Post, FOX Baltimore, Syracuse Post Standard.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to discuss with Jeff and Dan the cultural differences between "brick & mortar" companies and ‘’companies without boundaries." Below please find part one of my interview with Jeff Garber and Dan Fedrizzi.

Q. How does the culture in a company without boundaries differ from a traditional brick and mortar company?

Jeff: Our company,, has many of the same organizational and interpersonal challenges any company has, as well as a set of unique challenges. Brick & mortar companies attract and collect all types of employees, some motivated and some not. Some employees in traditional companies need a taskmaster to make sure they show up on time and stay on task. In a traditional environment, some employees respond to "big brother" very well. If left to their own devices, they could be very lazy. Companies without boundaries attract people who are self-motivated; it is not a place for lazy folks. You must be focused and self-motivated to succeed.

Companies without boundaries require an entrepreneurial type of employee. Offices in companies without boundaries are environments each person creates for themselves. They must be able to work in a certain amount of isolation. However, with Skype, cell phones, and wireless technology, the connectivity is no different than if they had colleagues in the next cubicle.
This environment also requires people who are passionate about what they do. If you hate your job, you aren’t going to be good in this environment because people who hate their jobs need to look at a clock. They come in at 8:00 o’clock and count down the hours until 5:00 o’clock. We work all hours of the day and night, depending on our personal preference.

Dan: There are various levels of constraints in a company without boundaries. I don’t feel there is a defined culture, yet. We are blazing a trail with no defined patterns, as opposed to a traditional company, which has very structured patterns.

Working in a company without boundaries is still in its infancy and too new to make a good comparison. It is constantly changing. However, being a part of the beginning of new type of work environments is very exciting. It allows everyone to stretch his or her talent and ability to innovate. The environment itself fosters the need to look at things in a new way.

Q. What are the biggest challenges/advantages to a company without boundaries?

Jeff The advantages are:
You get highly motivated colleagues who are passionate about what they do
Our employees appreciate the freedom and flexibility they have. If they aren’t a morning person, they may plug-in a little bit later. If a person is a night owl, they may work well into the night. People tend to work longer hours, more days of the week and their response rate to communication is far better than traditional companies. The reason is, in traditional companies, most employees check out mentally at 5:00 o’clock. They may check their phones and Blackberries, but they are not as responsive as those who work in our environment. Companies without boundaries value employees more highly than traditional companies. This is the result of being a more progressive type of company. You are asking people to think out of the box and you are much more receptive to what they bring to the party because it is not structured in the same way traditional companies are.

I would compare it to coloring a picture on a page. If you don’t have an outline or border, you don’t have the constraints to color inside them and you will be much more creative. In our world, this approach results in new products and services.

One of the greatest advantages is the ability to leverage the latest technology. For instance, you and I can have a conversation via Skype, be discussing a client and have the ability to add the client to the conversation. The technology allows an immediacy in communication and people tend to be much more accessible. As a result, we are much more productive.

The challenges are:
It isn’t for everyone. If someone needs structure, this probably won’t work. However, we create our own structure. You and I may be talking via Skype, having a cup of coffee, we just don’t happen to be in the same room.

As a small company without boundaries, we are very agile and can operate on a bigger platform cultivating relationships through networking beyond our local boundaries.

Dan, The advantages are:
More free thinking takes place due to the flexibility and creativity of this type of environment. This environment also breeds growth, change and opportunity. You can work anywhere, any time in the way you choose. People who thrive in this environment tend to be much more productive, as well as open to new ideas and ways of working. The lack of structure opens people up to be much more creative. People are inspired and self-motivated in this type of environment.
A company without boundaries opens your ability to employ people anywhere in the world, as opposed to recruiting people from your own backyard. This easily increases the talent and expertise we have access to.

There is no need to travel to meetings. With Skype, you can be face-to-face anytime anywhere. This allows you to remain face-to-face without the financial cost and time of travel. You can be anywhere without unplugging from your work and still work on your own schedule. Face-to-face communication may never be replaced completely, but the need for it is much less in this environment.

The Challenges are:
Working with people in various time zones takes an adjustment. You must be aware of where people are when scheduling meetings. You must be more flexible when working in these types of environments.

People are still apprehensive about working in this type of environment. Change is the only thing you can count on. If you aren’t changing, you aren’t growing.

This is not the first time Jeff Garber and Dan Fedrizzi have pioneered a new landscape. They are known for setting their compass in directions beyond where others have gone. They had a vision that has taken innovative ideas to a place where society is positively influenced in tangible ways to address the needs of millions. will soon launch a new service that will revolutionize the way Human Resource departments work. Please check back next month for the rest of the story.

For more information, please visit Teri's TNNW Bio.


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