203 episodes

Rodney Evans and Sam Spurlin have helped teams around the world adopt more modern ways of working and on At Work with The Ready they’re sharing the inside scoop with you, too. Whether you’re struggling with a carousel of ineffective meetings, annual strategy sessions that go nowhere, or decision-making churn that never ceases, they’ve seen it all and are here to help. In each episode, they'll break down common workplace challenges and show you the moves—both big and small—to start making real, lasting change. (Formerly “Brave New Work” with Aaron Dignan and Rodney Evans)

At Work with The Ready Rodney Evans and Sam Spurlin

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 13 Ratings

Rodney Evans and Sam Spurlin have helped teams around the world adopt more modern ways of working and on At Work with The Ready they’re sharing the inside scoop with you, too. Whether you’re struggling with a carousel of ineffective meetings, annual strategy sessions that go nowhere, or decision-making churn that never ceases, they’ve seen it all and are here to help. In each episode, they'll break down common workplace challenges and show you the moves—both big and small—to start making real, lasting change. (Formerly “Brave New Work” with Aaron Dignan and Rodney Evans)

    10. RACI is The Wrong Answer To The Right Question

    10. RACI is The Wrong Answer To The Right Question

    The RACI matrix (as well its cousins DACI, DARCI, etc.) aims to neatly categorize stakeholders into roles—who’s responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed for every decision your team makes. We spend a lot of time filling out those RACI boxes, because it’s supposed to give us order and predictability—a single source of truth for all future choices.
    We’re all about achieving real clarity, but we often see RACIs treated as a one-and-done exercise, rather than something that evolves with a team. People end up in the “R” or “A” space without having the actual authority to execute a role, and then we make those roles the fall guy for a system never set up for them to succeed.
    In this episode of At Work With The Ready, Rodney Evans and Sam Spurlin explore the good intentions that lead us to make RACIs in the first place, where they fall flat, and why decision making is always more complicated than what can be captured on a chart.

    Interested in learning more about The Ready’s ocean metaphor? Sign up here to find out when it’s time to dive in.

    Mentioned references:


    Responsibility assignment matrixes (such as RACI, DACI, and DARCI)

    DARE model

    MacGuffin

    DRI (Directly Responsible Individual)

    SPOA (Single Point of Accountability)

    "traditional consulting ep": AWWTR Ep. 8


    "future tension": BNW Ep. 16 with Thomas Thomison


    "scenario planning": BNW Ep. 34 with Kevin Kelly



    We’re on LinkedIn! Follow Rodney, Sam and The Ready for more org design nerdery and join the conversation around episodes after they air.
    Looking for some help with your own transformation? Visit theready.com
    Want future of work insights and experiments you can try delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter.
    We want to hear from you. Send your thoughts and feedback to podcast@theready.com.
    Read the book that started it all at bravenewwork.com.

    • 49 min
    9. Ask Us Anything No. 1: You Asked, We Answered

    9. Ask Us Anything No. 1: You Asked, We Answered

    “Ask Us Anything” episodes were a Brave New Work tradition, and we knew they were going to live on in this next new chapter of the show. What we didn’t know was how much harder the questions would be this time around! Turns out, after nearly 200 shows our audience is pretty sharp and asking some very specific questions.
    On today’s episode of At Work With The Ready, Rodney Evans and Sam Spurlin look at what arrived in our inbox and tackle our listeners thorniest questions…and even tease a little something coming on the horizon.

    Sign up to become the first to hear when the thing Rodney teased in this episode is live!

    Check out the extended live video version of this episode on our Youtube channel or shoot us a message if you'd like a transcript.

    Questions answered in this episode:

    How do you give critical feedback without being seen as a threat?

    Any thoughts on orgs moving to eliminate excessive layers of management?

    What's a workplace project you thought would be easy but turned out to be hard, and vice versa?

    What's a starting point for orgs that want to work with someone like The Ready?

    Can you have an episode about the disconnect between senior leadership and where the work happens?


    Mentioned references:

    "high and low umbrella"

    "org debt"

    "how might we?"

    Chesterton's Fence

    Bayer's elimination of managers

    Humanocracy: BNW Ep. 47 with Michele Zanini


    Haier's elimination of managers

    The Ready's OS Canvas


    Liberating Structures: BNW Ep. 49 with Keith McCandless


    "anti-pattern"


    We’re on LinkedIn! Follow Rodney, Sam and The Ready for more org design nerdery and join the conversation around episodes after they air.
    Looking for some help with your own transformation? Visit theready.com
    Want future of work insights and experiments you can try delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter.
    We want to hear from you. Send your thoughts and feedback to podcast@theready.com.
    Read the book that started it all at bravenewwork.com.

    • 39 min
    8. Traditional Consulting Sold You a Great Idea. Now What?

    8. Traditional Consulting Sold You a Great Idea. Now What?

    For decades, traditional consulting (think “management” or “strategy” varieties now synonymous with the Big Three) has been a go-to move for organizations looking for a shake up. Need a bulletproof vision for the future or a new org restructuring that’ll win over the C-suite and shareholders? You can’t beat their analytical prowess, strategy design, and slick presentation.
    But too often clients wind up stuck with expensive change plans they can’t execute on their own. Without real coaching, structure, and experienced guidance, these efforts stand a high chance of fizzling out and collecting dust on a shelf. Facing that reality time and time again lead The Ready to study and understand how organizations actually work and evolve. Yes, we’re also consultants—but the processes, outcomes, and experiences we create differ greatly. And that can lead to a whole bunch of confusion.
    In this episode of At Work With The Ready, Rodney Evans and Sam Spurlin delve into the stark differences between traditional consulting and how future-of-work firms like The Ready operate. Because not all consulting is created equal.

    Prefer to watch instead of listen? Check out the extended video cut of this episode, with even more Rodney and Sam moments, on our Youtube channel.

    Mentioned references:

    VUCA

    "participatory change": BNW Ep. 43


    "cross-functional teaming": Future of HR Ep. 1


    "strategy pancakes episode": AWWTR Ep. 2



    We’re on LinkedIn! Follow Rodney, Sam and The Ready for more org design nerdery and join the conversation around episodes after they air.
    Looking for some help with your own transformation? Visit theready.com
    Want future of work insights and experiments you can try delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter.
    We want to hear from you. Send your thoughts and feedback to podcast@theready.com.
    Read the book that started it all at bravenewwork.com.

    • 50 min
    7. Sync or Swim: Riding the Waves of Async Work

    7. Sync or Swim: Riding the Waves of Async Work

    For decades, face-to-face working has been the default way of working. Launching a new project; untangling an OS problem; updating a team on progress made in the last week—our classic go-to for all those different kinds of work is blocking off time on a calendar. When in doubt, just corral everybody into a room, real or virtual.
    But this “one-size-fits-all” approach is coming up short as work evolves. And while almost everyone dreads having a meeting-stuffed calendar, ideas for what to try instead can be in short supply. Plus, when 85% of leaders find it hard to trust that their employees are being productive, async work can look like a risky free-for-all.
    In this episode of At Work With The Ready, Rodney Evans and Sam Spurlin explore how our attachment to synchronous work is hampering performance and why asynchronous work is a mindset, not a tool stack.
    Looking for other ways to asynchronously enjoy this episode? Check out our Youtube channel for the live video version, or email podcast@theready.com to get a transcript for reading.

    Mentioned references:

    Loom

    Rodney's article on org debt: How to Tackle the Biggest Threat to Your Team's Growth


    Red, amber, green (RAG status)

    Tanisi's podcast episode: BNW Ep. 88 with Tanisi Pooran


    Miro

    Pitch

    Pomodoro method


    We’re on LinkedIn! Follow Rodney, Sam and The Ready for more org design nerdery and join the conversation around episodes after they air.
    Looking for some help with your own transformation? Visit theready.com
    Want future of work insights and experiments you can try delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter.
    We want to hear from you. Send your thoughts and feedback to podcast@theready.com.
    Read the book that started it all at bravenewwork.com.

    • 48 min
    6. If You're Faking It, You Won't Make It

    6. If You're Faking It, You Won't Make It

    Every time something changes at work, someone’s bound to be upset. Digital transformations take resources from analog teams; restructuring a department can take authority from one group and give it to another; removing a step from a workflow can eliminate a role altogether. Any change, including those meant to make things better, will create winners and losers and that’s bound to kick up a hornet’s nest of feelings.
    Here’s the puzzling part: Despite years of research showing us that surfacing and processing these feelings is key to unlocking a company’s ability to be adapt, many workplaces often treat emotions as taboo. They’re messy, unpredictable, and nobody wants to touch them—even when ignoring them does more harm that good. Playing pretend isn't getting us anywhere.
    In this episode of At Work with The Ready, Rodney Evans and Sam Spurlin explore why we have negative feelings about big feelings and how it’s holding our organizations back from evolving into the places they could be.

    We're on Youtube! An extended video version of this episode (with extra Rodney and Sam moments) is available to watch there.

    Mentioned references:

    Tabea's Meet The Ready post


    "unconsciously protecting the status quo": Immunity to Change, 2009 book by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey


    "protection state": On Point of Relationship podcast episode with Frederic Laloux


    "complicated vs complex": Brave New Work keynote



    The unpaid emotional labor expected of women at work, 2024 BBC article

    What Rodney said at SXSW last year: BNW 162: Live from SXSW with Brian Elliott



    Love the show? Leave us a review and share this episode with your coworkers!
    We’re on LinkedIn! Follow Rodney, Sam and The Ready for more org design nerdery and join the conversation around episodes after they air.
    Looking for some help with your own transformation? Visit theready.com
    Want future of work insights and experiments you can try delivered to your inbox twice a month? Sign up for our newsletter.
    We want to hear from you. Send your thoughts and feedback to podcast@theready.com.

    • 48 min
    5. Silos Are For Corn, Not For People

    5. Silos Are For Corn, Not For People

    Ask anyone about organizational silos and they’re bound to tell you they’re bad. When we run Tension and Practice exercises with clients, “We work in silos” often shows up as Tension No. 1 holding a team back. Yet like a moth to a flame, we keep gravitating toward them, building walls that are higher and more insurmountable than ever before. What gives?
    In this episode of At Work with The Ready, Rodney Evans and Sam Spurlin dive into the bottomless ball pit that is organizational silos, exploring why we think they’ll solve all our problems, how they’re actually sabotaging organizations from being effective, and why trying to build bridges between them (rather than designing something new from the ground up) is one of the worst things we can do.

    Mentioned references:

    "Ready for Anything structure episode": BNW Ep. 23


    "Hollywood Model episode": FoHR Miniseries, Ep. 1


    The Ready's Tension & Practice Cards


    "the previous episode": AWWTR Ep. 4


    value stream mapping

    Spotify chapters and guilds video Sam promised


    "IDM consent-based governance": BNW Ep. 43


    "movies and studios"

    "retro": BNW Ep. 10 with Jordan Husney



    We’re on LinkedIn! Follow Rodney, Sam and The Ready for more org design nerdery and join the conversation around episodes after they air.
    Looking for some help with your own transformation? Visit theready.com
    Want future of work insights and experiments you can try delivered to your inbox twice a month? Sign up for our newsletter.
    We want to hear from you. Send your thoughts and feedback to podcast@theready.com.
    Read the book that started it all at bravenewwork.com.

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

unicorn ange ,

THE BEST

I think you’re awesome. I definitely share your podcasts all the time, because they are THE best out there on this work. The energy you bring to each episode, the intelligence… second to none.

kanguru ,

Brilliant and humane

Always insightful, often mind-blowing, taking a radical and informed look at organisations’ modus operandi, discussing more humane (to say nothing of more effective) practices and principles for arranging and thinking about work.
The Operating System paradigm offers a comprehensive framework for understanding existing organisational practices and re-engineering them, piece by piece (for existing groups) or as a whole (when you’re starting out) ultimately, for great justice (if you’ll forgive the meme).
Brave New Work has been my favourite podcast over the past year, thanks Rodney, Aaron and co.

LPinter ,

The way we work is broken. This show is full of ideas on how to fix it. In a human and adaptive way

Do you think the way we work in most organisations is broken, this is a podcast for you. Inspiring and full of practical tips. This is my number 1 podcast. Every time a new show comes up I’ll jump on it straightaway. Aaron Dignan and Rodney Evans do an amazing job at tacking topics on how to create more adaptive and human ways of working in our organisation. Very practical and inspiring. Each episode brings up the challenges but most importantly, a set of ideas and practices to help overcome it. Pure, blunt and energetic.

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