Discarding the Rule Book
Name changes are nothing to get excited about, especially in this era of corporate gobbledygook and government obfuscation, whose goal seems to be hindering communication.
However, what caught my eye in a recent trade magazine article was the Seattle-area company being named one of America’s top 10 places to work, for the second consecutive year.
“We offer our employees more autonomy, less bureaucracy and more reason to be personally invested in the company,” says President Bob Pritchett. “Our fun and creative corporate culture has allowed us to build a stellar team of tech innovators.”
Good to Great
One always wonders if such companies are for real, if only because (even as a freelancer) I hear gripes occasionally from various employees. Such as the guy who told me how delighted he was to get laid off because of the increased pressure at his office.
Yet, I know they exist. In recent times several people have mentioned the value and influence of Jim Collins’ Good to Great. The study of excellent corporations and how they operate remains a bestseller after years on the market.
It is always encouraging to know there are places whose “walk” matches their “talk”—a quality more Christians would do well to emulate.
This story paralleled another I read recently in The Well-Played Life by prolific author Leonard Sweet. His book is the current subject of a long-term discussion in my weekly men’s group.
In commenting on the “work mind-set” that dominates too much of American life, Sweet writes, “A work mind-set creates Macy’s inch-thick rulebook. A play mind-set creates Nordstrom’s two-sentence strange attractor: (1) Use good judgment in all situations; (2) there are no additional rules.”
(Sweet credits the story to Richard Tanner Pascale’s book, Managing on the Edge. Ironically, 25 years after its publication, it retains startling relevance.)
I still remember the “buzz” when we lived in Denver over the prospect of Nordstrom’s department store coming to the city—ultimately it opened two locations in the area—because of its stellar reputation for customer service.
The examples of Faithlife and Nordstrom remind me of another I read once about a company that decided to scrap its strict sick-leave policy.
The powers that be got rid of a maximum number of days, telling employees if they were sick to stay home. No one tracked their days off or worried about employees abusing the privilege.
As a result, the average sick leave days didn’t skyrocket. Instead, they went down. Treating people like intelligent human beings and trusting them to do the right thing meant they lived up to expectations.
I think there’s a lesson in all of this for all businesses and other organizations. Treat people according to the Golden Rule and it may well pay dividends.
In the case of Faithlife, a company had a few developers working in a basement two decades ago now has more than 450 employees.
I have seen or heard of many places where the employer treated people like expendable commodities. They wanted nothing more than for people to do their work, keep their mouth shut, and never offer any suggestions.
Obviously, those who rise above the mundane see the results on their bottom line.