Episode Number 15Matt Ridings on Structure without Structure

As a strategist, speaker, and writer, Sideraworks CEO Matt Ridings keeps busy running an intensive and visual consultancy helping clients build social businesses. Adding to this is the fact that Ridings and his company are in two different cities, which comes with a unique set of challenges. During the New Media Expo in Las Vegas, Matt took some time to talk with DJ and Nick on structuring a business without the traditional structure most businesses have.

Show Notes

As a digital strategist and social media marketer who has worked with prestigious brands such as Levi's, Cisco, and British Airways, Matt Ridings knows how to to get work done today. Just over a year ago, he started his fourth company, the social business consultancy Sideraworks, with co-founder Amber Naslund. The interesting work fact? Siderworks is based in Chicago, while Ridings lives in St. Louis. Many would easily think of this as just another virtual team to coordinate and manage, however, Sideraworks is a very visually focused organization that develops workshops and clients engagements based in a visual approach to business strategy.

At first, Ridings and Naslund thought they had it worked out. Then they had their first in-person intensive strategy session. While together the "stuff in the gaps" and stray bursts of creativity that they were missing when not physically together, presented themselves. Once cognizant of these "over the cubicle" opportunities they were missing, they worked to replicate them virtually.

One example is that Ridings and Naslund leave Skype open when they're both at their desks and not necessarily on a call together. This makes water cooler moments easy to recreate. Structured meeting time is important, however, Ridings advises not to structure all of the time so that openings remain for getting off-track in a good way.

As far as tools such as Skype, Ridings and team don't necessarily use them to facilitate collaborative work. Rather, they are used for bringing others up to speed and performing process checks on work they've done independently. Ridings also uses the app Genius Scan to transform sticky notes, flip charts, and white boards into PDFs for sharing with the team. Beyond that, Ridings describes their best tools as still "very physical," echoing our earlier guest Daniel Coyle's sentiment that digital tools like keyboards can be "too fast."

Nick gave a shout-out to the visual thinking book, Back of the Napkin, by Dan Roam while DJ gave a double shout to future guest C.C. Chapman's new book Amazing Things Will Happen and past guest Gini Dietrich for announcing her new book. Matt invited us both to discover Dave Gray , founder of Xplane and leader of the visual thinking movement.

Until next week, see you on the Internet!

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