Tag Archives: organisation

Company Runs Without Managers

Fascinating article by Inc’s David Burkus. Holocracy, Does it work in practice? (read more at inc.com)

managers meeting

To most business professionals, the idea of  firing your managers sounds insane. However some of the most successful companies do in fact run manager-less, while others have found ways to push some of the management function down to the level of those who are being managed. In either case, more and more leaders are discovering that employees are most productive and engaged when they control their own destiny.

Employees at Valve Software don’t have to take orders from ‘the boss.’ That’s because, at the Bellevue, Washington-based company, there are no bosses to give orders.

As I write about in Under New Management, Valve is a company with no managers. They don’t believe in managers, or job descriptions. When new people join the company, they rotate around on various projects, talk to lots of people, and then decide which project (or projects) to jump into full-time.

Valve isn’t just a small handful of programmers working in a garage either. The company was founded in 1996 by Mike Harrington and Gabe Newell. The company grew organically and quickly based on the success of its critically acclaimed game series Half-Life. The company has grown dramatically from the original partnership to more than 400 people.

Ordinarily, that type of growth would require a fairly rigid hierarchy to manage everyone and keep them working in the right direction. But Harrington and Newell chose to ignore the traditional structure and to build something that would allow innovative and talented people to thrive.

In fact, what Valve employees work on changes so much each day that every employee’s desk is equipped with wheels and organized such that only two cords need to be unplugged before it can be rolled to wherever it’s needed in the shop.

There are lots of people, however, to tell them what they could do. Since Valve has no managers, all projects are started by an individual employee or a group pitching an idea and then recruiting a team. If enough people join the group, the project starts. Sometimes an individual employee is referred to as the ‘leader’ for a project, but everyone knows that this simply means that this person is keeping track of all of the information and organizing what’s being done — not giving orders.

There are also lots of people to tell employees how they’re doing. Valve may not have managers, but it does have a performance management system in place. A designated set of employees interview everyone in the company and ask who they’ve worked with since the last peer review session. They ask about their experiences working with each person. That feedback is collected and anonymized, and then every employee is given a report on their peers’ experiences working with them.

Valve also empowers all of its employees to make hiring decisions, which it describes as “the most important thing in the universe.” Valve attributes the success of its organizational design to hiring the smartest, most innovative, and most talented people it can find. The company’s handbook reminds employees, “Any time you interview a potential hire, you need to ask yourself not only if they’re talented or collaborative but also if they’re capable of literally running this company, because they will be.”

The leaders of companies like Valve have discovered something that researchers have known for decades: when individuals feel free to determine what they’re working on or how they work, they’re more motivated, more loyal and more productive. While Valve’s almost free-form structure may not be ideal for every company, the lessons learned here about improved productivity and engagement are of use to all.

read more at inc.com

Empower people and unlock productivity

Empowering people is such a key to unlocking productivity, yet so few do it well. Bill George of Harvard asks the question for Huffington Post.Rowing eights

 “Where is the spiritual value in rowing? It is in losing of self entirely to the cooperative effort of the crew.” — George Yeoman Pocock, boat builder, 1936 Olympic gold medal winner

Stepping into a Zappos Call Center is like walking into a circus. Phones ring, voices rise, and laughter bounces around the room. If you closed your eyes, you’d think you’d entered a loud family reunion, not a billion dollar company.

Zappos employees work in a fiercely proud culture. Only 16 years after founding Zappos, CEO Tony Hsieh has made the online shoe-retailer into one of best places to work in the world. Zappos employees not only love their work, they care deeply about others in the community.

How did Hsieh do it? He did it by empowering his employees to lead. In Eyewitness to Power, David Gergen writes, “At the heart of leadership is the leader’s relationship with followers. People will entrust their hopes and dreams to another person only if they think the other is a reliable vessel.”

There was a time when leaders thought their role was to exert power over others. No longer, today’s best leaders — people like Ford’s Alan Mulally, General Motors’ Mary Barra, and Google’s Larry Page — recognize their leadership is most effective when they empower others to step up and lead. That’s exactly what the new generation of Gen X and Millennials expect from their leaders, and they respond with great performance.

Tony Hsieh focuses on relationships first and business second. In good times and bad, Hsieh’s communications are authentic, funny, and informal. He speaks directly and personally to his colleagues. As Hsieh says, “if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff…will just happen naturally.”

Hsieh reflects traits of an “empowering leader.” These leaders have discovered that helping people find purpose delivers superior results than forcing subordinates to be loyal followers. By giving others the latitude to lead, they expand their own potential impact.

So, how can you empower others? In Discover Your True North, I profile five things great leaders do.

  1. Treat Others as Equals: We respect people who treat us as equals. Warren Buffett, for example, gives equal attention to every person he meets. He has the same sandwich and Cherry Coke combination with a group of wide-eyed students as he does with his close friend Bill Gates. Buffett does not rely upon his image to make people feel he is important or powerful. He genuinely respects others, and they respect him as much for those qualities as for his investment prowess. By being authentic in his interactions, Buffett empowers people to lead in their own authentic way.
  2. Listen Actively: We are grateful when people genuinely listen to us. Active listening is one of the most important abilities of empowering leaders, because people sense such individuals are genuinely interested in them and not just trying to get something. The leadership scholar Warren Bennis was an example of a world-class listener. He patiently listened as you explained your ideas and then thoughtfully contributed astute observations that came from a deep well of wisdom and experience.
  3. Learn from People: We feel respected when others believe they can learn from us or ask for our advice. The best advice I ever got about teaching came from my Harvard Business School (HBS) colleague Paul Marshall, who was one of HBS’s greatest teachers. He told me, “Bill, don’t ever set foot in an HBS classroom unless you genuinely want to learn from the students.” I have taken his advice into every class I have taught for the past 12 years, telling MBA students and executives, “I feel certain I will learn a lot more from you than you do from me.” The students find that hard to believe at first, but they soon see how their feedback helps me understand how today’s leaders and MBA students think.
  4. Share Life Stories: When leaders are willing to be open and share their personal stories and vulnerabilities, people feel empowered to share their own stories and uncertainties in return. On Thanksgiving eve in 1996, I sent an e-mail to all Medtronic employees, expressing my gratitude for the support Penny and I received following her ordeal with breast cancer and chemotherapy. We were overwhelmed by the number of people who spontaneously shared their stories with us.
  5. Align around the Mission: The most empowering condition of all is when the entire organization aligns with its mission, and people’s passions and purpose synchronize with each other. It is not easy to get to this position, especially if the organization has a significant number of cynics or disgruntled people. Nonetheless, it is worth whatever effort it takes to create an aligned environment, including removal of those who don’t support the mission.

Leaders of every organization have an important responsibility to articulate how their company contributes to humankind. At Medtronic, our mission was to restore people to full health and wellness. At Disney, it’s to make people happy. Even at the most “boring” business-to-business company, the business can play a powerful role in improving the lives of its stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, and community.

With leadership comes responsibility. As Clayton Christensen wrote, “No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement.”

It’s time to lead authentically. You can do so by focusing on empowering others.

Follow Bill George on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Bill_George

HERE IS HELP TO GROW YOUR KINGDOM BUSINESS

One of the organisations I wholeheartedly endorse is Business Greenhouse. This is the fourth video in the series by Wez Hone: it is on building systems in your business and getting out of debt . You need to watch all four. Be blessed.

Wez Hone has a gift and calling from God to help business people grow successful Kingdom businesses. What do I mean by a Kingdom business. It is one where the owner knows God, and whose business and working life is increasingly an outward manifestation of an inward walk of faith, motivated by God’s love. They are people who have been released from striving for success through their own strength. They are building their working life and business on the rock – Psalm 127:1 & Matthew 7:24-27.

Are you are longing to serve God in your professional life and see His Kingdom manifest through you?

Are you yearning to understand more of how to apply God’s word, His Yes and His ways and be led by the Holy Spirit?

Looking to gain a clearer prophetic understanding of our times, its agenda and God’s purposes?

If you are then you need to contact me and let me connect you with the people and organisations which can help you. May I also suggest you buy a copy of my book Build a Kingdom Business – Empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is available as an eBook on Amazon or trade paper back by sending me an email on ron@bakb.com.au – cost AUS$10.00 incl postage in Australia.

AVOID THESES COMMON LEADERSHIP MISTAKES

1. Offering No Reward System Or Praise For Employees

Worthy employees follow orders and work hard every single day. Nothing will demotivate them more than when their good work is not recognized or rewarded. Leaders must recognize the effort employees put into their work and show appropriate appreciation. A reward system not only improves the morale and loyalty but also the performance and productivity of team members.

2. Punishing Employees On Good Performance

The biggest mistake any leader can make is using the guise of promotion or advancement to increase an employees work load without offering any financial compensation. This is not the right way to treat your most loyal and productive employees.  As well, a good leader will address the longer hours or excess workload and help their employees manage it better

3. Lacking In Communication

Stay up-to-date with all the latest information and developments. Learn the skill of communication, and be the first to inform your team members regarding things that may help them improve and perform better.

4. Becoming Too Much Of A Friend

Employees desire to have leaders that they get along well with, but being too friendly may put a leader in an awkward position when it comes to taking tough decisions. Do not allow people to take advantage of how nice you are to them. Maintain a good balance between being their boss and their friend.

5. Not Embracing  Change

Another mistake is to think that you can control how all things happen in the organization. Sometimes it is beyond anybody’s control to stop a change. A leader needs to go with the flow in such situations, and use the change to the company’s best advantage.

6. Making Hasty Decisions With Recruitment

When you need more manpower to handle a huge workload, it is still essential, you carefully manage staff selection. Better to employ temporary staff to cope with the immediate problem until you have assessed long term personnel requirements. It is costly to employ and train full time staff members.  Will they be an asset to the company and a good fit with the existing team? Take the time needed to select a candidate that has the best qualifications for the position and right temperament for your organization.

7. Not Being Clear Regarding the Organization’s Goals

Job descriptions must be precise. Employees must know their job function and to whom they are responsible for their work output. They need to feel part of the team and know the company’s mission and goals. Regular work reviews are mandatory at which good work is commended but also unsatisfactory work addressed.

8. Copying Others Instead Of Being Original

Leaders need to be authentic. Don’t try to copy others. Sure adopt good techniques and strategies you have observed others use but adapt them to your unique business situation. Learn from others but find your unique voice.
“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.” – Ralph Lauren.

 

Be Organised to be Productive – helpful tips

The first step to improve your productivity is optimize your office to get the most out of your work.

Put your I/Smart Phone Away

Smartphones have come along with their own set of problems – namely, that they’re designed to be incredibly distracting so you’ll pay as much attention to them as possible.

Set your phone to silent mode and keep it in your jacket, desk, or somewhere else that’s out of arm’s distance.

Establish a schedule to check it e.g. every two hours.

Minimize Distractions from the web.

Your web-surfing habits are probably also causing you to bleed a lot of otherwise productive time.

Get rid of your “bookmarks bar” entirely.

Try a site-blocking application like Anti-Social that will block your browser from accessing certain sites for a set length of time.

Partially Quit Facebook

Very few people can actually get completely off of Facebook – it’s the new Web within the Web, and so many events, conversations and other social interactions take place on the platform that if you disable your account, you’re just going to run into trouble.

That doesn’t mean that you need to see a picture of every meal every one of your old high school acquaintances posts, though.

If you’re getting a steady stream of new updates, you’re getting a steady stream of new distractions.

It’s possible to partially quit Facebook by designating all of your “friends” as “acquaintances.”

You’ll continue to get updates from people, but you’ll only see between two and five new posts a day, versus the hundreds that are now clogging your News Feed and notifications bar.

If you have hundreds of friends that are currently blowing up your phone with inane comments and pictures of their kids (and you’re able to break your addiction to these constant distractions) you could end up saving a lot of time.

Dont’ Waste the Time You’ve Got at Your Desk.

Maximize the use of your I/Smartphone. You can handle email and many other tasks while you are on the go.

Protect Your Most Productive Time

Everyone has a few “golden hours” in every day where they get the most work done. You need to learn when yours are, and go into “Airplane Mode” during those times.

Use that crucial time to tackle the biggest, most difficult problem standing between you and your goals.

All of your other busywork and less pressing (and vexing) tasks can be accomplished on either side of your “golden hours.”

Clean up your work space!

A cluttered room leads to a cluttered life and a cluttered mind

Purchase an inbox, a tickler file and other organizational tools to get a system going that will help you feel more focused and less stressed out.

When everything is in its right place, your mind will feel at ease, and you’ll be able to focus more on what’s important – thus getting a lot more done.

Get Your E-Mail Set Up For Success

We all waste too much time reading e-mails, and most of us get too many of them to ever achieve the elusive goal of “Inbox Zero.”

First of all, go through all of your regular e-mails and newsletters and look for “ham.” Ham (sometimes also called “bacon”) is different from spam in that it’s e-mail notifications you signed up for, but no longer really read. Be brutal about going through and getting rid of all but the ones you really need to read. One easy way to see all of your subscriptions? Type the word “unsubscribe” into your e-mail search bar and it will bring up all of your ham at once.

Next, if you’re a G-mail user, consider using the G-mail Labs feature called “Auto Advance.” Essentially, the minute you archive an e-mail, it will automatically show you the next e-mail. This helps you get to “Inbox Zero” and also prevents you from reading the same e-mail more than once.

Follow the Two-Minute Rule

From David Allen’s Getting Things Done, the general principle behind this is that any task that comes up during the day that will take less than two minutes should be handled right away.

Don’t wait, don’t file it, and don’t let it clutter up your to-do box or inbox.

Do it, then forget about it and move on to whatever you were doing beforehand.

Of course, if something comes up during your “golden hours,” you should definitely hold off on two-minute tasks until you’ve got important project work out of the way!

Give Yourself Deadlines

Set a deadline for yourself on a specific task can help put external pressure on you to keep your focus sharp.

Of course, you’re not always going to be able to meet your self-imposed deadlines, but if you are consistent in trying to adhere to them, they’ll soon become a valuable source of motivation for you.

Prayer Time & Go Home Early

As you want to build a Kingdom business empowered by the Holy Spirit, I assume you commit all of what you plan to do and do daily to the Holy Spirit. “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thess 5:17. If you do, then this problem should not surface, but if you’re so far behind and you feel like there’s no possible way to catch up before you leave the office, go home early. Sounds counter-intuitive, but if you go home, spend time with family, get some good food, good rest and spend time in prayer, you’ll come in the next morning fired up and chomping at the bit.