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Cufflinks Don't Mean I'm Cuffed

Dear Corporations,

On my flight to the west coast, I sat between two employees of the same health care company. If I was CEO, after the 5 hour flight, I would have known who to fire, who to promote, what divisions to grow, and which ones to eliminate. If I was CEO of one of your competitors, I would have known how to strategically bury your company within the next 3 years and who on your staff to hire to help me do it.

Your employees know everything!
1. They know who’s creating value and who’s not
2. They know why you’re hot and why you’re not
3. They know your customers and your customers know them

Why don’t you listen to them? The suggestion box in the janitor’s closet doesn’t count.

Where do you create space for employees to be entrepreneurial? Just because you’re in the black this year doesn’t mean that you exploited every opportunity available.

Why can’t you retain your best talent? There are cells of employees getting ready to leave because they feel as if you’re not open to their ideas.

Do you have the courage to facilitate the open honest conversations internally that only take place in the bathroom, at the water cooler, or at happy hour?

Do you want to own your employees or do you want them to own you?

You think the US divorce rates are high? haven't signed a contract with us. Just because we wear cuff links doesn't mean you've got us cuffed. It's not that we're noncommittal, we just value freedom and the ability to create, whether we're an entrepreneur or intrapreneur. We're nothing like our grandparents and our parents who sought the security of working for one company for their entire life.

It's time to explore new organizational models and accept the fact that the concept of life-time employment no longer exists and see corporations as talent development centers, kind of like colleges...but better. Corporations (and colleges) will no longer be valued for their financial packages. Instead, they will be valued for what their alumni achieve upon leaving. Look at PayPal's former employees that went on to found YouTube, Linked-In, and Yelp.

The answers to your success are within (your own company).



Inspired by Dee Hock, founder of VISA and author of One From Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaoridc Organizations


  1. Listening is key in any organization. I always appreciate it when people take the time to take five minutes to listen to another person and really consider what they have to say. Listening doesn't only discover the information but empowers the speaker.

  2. "It's not that we're noncommittal, we just value freedom and the ability to create, whether we're an entrepreneur or intrapreneur." so so necessary! jg ushering in the chaordic age.


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Jullien's Purpose Statement

My purpose is to help as many people as possible reach their full potential by helping them making a living doing what they love and in the process of doing so achieve my own. I want to do this through writing, speaking, and creating offline and online spaces that facilitate conversations around purpose.

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