Josh Allan Dykstra is an recognized thought leader on the future of work and company culture design. His articles and ideas have been featured by Fast Company, Business Insider, MSN.com, Under30CEO, and The Agency Post. He is a co-founder of Strengths Doctors, a consulting firm which helps leaders and entrepreneurs design energizing places to work. Josh’s eclectic background includes projects with organizations like Apple, Sony, Genentech, Starbucks, and Viacom/CBS as well as startups, nonprofits, and universities. He holds an MBA in Executive Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his new book, Igniting the Invisible Tribe: Designing An Organization That Doesn’t Suck, is available on Amazon.com.
Why does the world need a work revolution?
The way we’re working clearly isn’t working. No matter where I go or what kind of professional I talk to (corporate, education, nonprofit, etc.), they are tired and burned out. They are overwhelmed by the pace of technology updates and the incessant rate of change. Everyone seems to know that we cannot continue at this pace–it’s simply not sustainable. But what are we doing to change that fact? Very little.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
We are obsessed with how to design better company cultures, and we do this in two ways: 1) by impacting what people believe about the world and 2) providing better systems/structures/rules that reinforce more human and meaningful ways of working.
Why do you do what you do?
The great tragedy is that somewhere between two-thirds and 80% of people don’t really like their work. And yet, there is no other place we spend more of our lives. I do what I do because in my mind there is no better way to impact the wellbeing of humanity than through improving the way we work.
What kind of art do you like (any recommendations we should know about)?
I am a trained musician, so music is my art form of choice. Just a few of my favorite artists include The Weepies, Fun., Ben Folds, The Shins, Simon & Garfunkel, Brandi Carlile, and Billy Joel.
What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you?
I suppose I gave it away in the last answer. Without question, music has impacted me the most. The way I view organizational dynamics has been indelibly shaped by how music works–how bands play together, the give and take, the melody and the harmony, the mix of different instrumentations and arrangements. Good music is teamwork at its finest.
What’s your preferred work environment look like?
Sometime soon I’d like to have an office outside of my house that’s in a walkable area of the city and filled with cool people. I’m quite certain a good work environment has more to do with the quality of the people in it than anything else.
Tell us something surprising about you:
Although I now live in Los Angeles, I’m originally from a small town in the middle of freakin’ nowhere in South Dakota, and I lived there until I was 16.
What do you do for fun?
My work is remarkably fun, so I don’t have a ton of extra-curricular activities. Whenever possible, though, I do try to get to Disneyland with my wife. There’s something wonderful about forgetting that you’re an adult and acting like a kid for an afternoon.
How do you stay productive throughout your day?
I am learning to take regular breaks, to get up from my desk and stretch, or walk around the block. Sometimes I move my laptop to the top of a tall desk so I can stand and work for a while. I also always make sure I leave my house (which is my office) to get lunch. Another great productivity trick I use is to close my email program when I want to stay focused – I can’t pay attention with all that damned dinging.
What time of the day do you do your best work?
My best work is usually done either early in the morning or after siesta-time in the afternoon, oftentimes from a Starbucks down the street.
Where in the world are you?
Los Angeles, California
Josh Allan Dykstra
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