9 creative ways that leading companies use to maximize the power of people

Jul 8, 05

This Month

This month comes in a different format. There are many nuggets of great information that one comes across while reading. I have been thinking of compiling some of this information into a booklet.

This issue is to test out this idea.

I hope you all will enjoy this compilation.

I look forward to your feedback on what you think of this compilation. Ofcourse, I look forward to ideas on how we can improve and serve your needs better.

Warm wishes,


9 creative ways that leading companies use to maximize the power of people

1. Support and Accountability for New Recruits at Trilogy Software

Trilogy Software, Inc among the world’s largest privately held software companies pushes the responsibility of grooming new hires into the organization on their sponsors. As a result, if the new hires make the grade, the sponsors are paid a $1000 bonus. If the new hires fail, the sponsors are required to pay $4000. As most Sponsors hold stock options worth millions of dollars so the penalisation does not mean much to them. However, what happens is those who fail examine why their recruit failed and take steps to avoid those mistakes.

Source: From Noel Tichy’s Article, The Growth Imperative

2. Jeff Taylor, Founder and CEO of Monster on the Importance of having a good time with Employees

“We have a full breakfast bar at our company. We bring in 500 bagels and fresh cut fruit in the morning. We have a gym with a trainer. We have parties once a quarter, where we invite the employees to come and have a good time. If you want to bring your friends, you’re welcome to do that.

“They don’t have to bring a resume, but this becomes a great recruiting opportunity for us. I’m a DJ from a past life. I DJ my own company parties. There’s nothing better than saying you want to meet the CEO, come on up and I’ll introduce you to the DJ. What that’s done for me is it’s allowed employee buzz to take over for many of the traditional programs that you tried and put in place that never work.”

Source: From a speech given by Mr Jeff Taylor

3. Practice what CEO of SAS, Dr. James Goodnight calls “Management by Loitering”

“It’s just to be seen walking around and talking to people, and finding out what they’re working on, and basically being approachable.You know a lot of things that don’t really come up though the management ranks and some times you find out some very interesting things that people are working on. And you say,’Well maybe we ought to elevate the status of thing a little bit.'”

He credits management by loitering with helping to improve SAS graphics and with the development of a new algorithm for SAS demand planning software that’s “probably” 100 times faster than previous step-by-step mathematical procedures. “It really does give an edge on our competition,” asserts Dr. Goodnight.

Source: www.industryweek.com/CurrentArticles/

4. Fostering a Learning Culture the Granite Rock Way

Granite Rock, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Winner replaced performance goals for individuals with learning goals. The company gets each employee to set his or her annual objectives in the format “Learn _______ so that I can ________.”

In addition, “Granite Rock University” provides an entire curriculum of classes ranging from product training to computer skills to management skills and employees spend an average of about 43 hours of training outside of mandatory training like Safety. Individuals take responsibility for charting their own careers and professional development.

Source: www.quality.nist.gov/Granite_Rock_Co.htm and Jim Collins article The Learning Executive

5. Larry Page on automating Performance Tracking at Google

“We did a simple thing that in retrospect was brilliant: We wrote a program that asks every engineer what they did every week. It sends them e-mail on Monday, and concatenates the e-mails together in a document that everyone can read. And it then sends that out to everyone and shames those who did not answer by putting them on the top of the list. It has run reliably every week since we started, so for every week of our company’s history we have a record of what everyone did. It’s good for performance reviews, and if you’re joining a project team, in five minutes you can read what your team members did the last few weeks or months.”

Source: www.business2.com/b2/web/gallery/

6. Patagonia practises what it preaches

Patagonia has a company-subsidized Environmental Internship Program. For up to two months, any of Patagonia’s 1,000 employees worldwide can work at an environmental group of their choice and continue to receive their regular Patagonia paycheck.

Source: www.patagonia.com/enviro/internship.shtml

7. Andy Taylor, Enterprise Rent a Car on Relentless Customer Focus

“So we decided that we had to add some metrics to our customer satisfaction. We created a measurement called ESQi, which is the Enterprise Service Quality index. It’s a statistically valid sample of customers’ opinions taken monthly, at every one of our branches. The customer gets called seven to ten days following the close of the rental. We have an outside company collect the data, and there are basically two questions. The first asks about the customer’s satisfaction level, with five answers ranging from “completely satisfied” to “completely dissatisfied,” and the second asks how likely he would be to return to Enterprise. Beginning in 1996 we told all our employees, If you’re not at corporate average or above on your ESQi, you’re not getting promoted. And all of a sudden, customer satisfaction went to the top of the list. The ESQi has given us a greater sense of urgency, and I would consider that the greatest change that has occurred here. The process enabled us to go from being a nearly $2 billion business in 1994 to a $7 billion-plus business today.”

Source: www.fortune.com/fortune/smallbusiness/

8. Staying in touch at Walmart

“At retail giant Walmart, every Monday, members of the senior executive team head out to Walmart stores around the world, where they talk with managers, employees, and customers. To ensure that they get a complete picture, they also pay a few visits to competitors’ stores. On Thursday evening, they return to corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, armed with new insights about the market and their people. There, they discuss what they’ve seen and heard, thus allowing the organization to modify its strategies. On Saturday, thousands of store managers participate in a videoconference and the senior team shares their observations and provides direction for the coming week. Come Monday, they’re on the road again.”

Source: Leader to Leader, Volume 2005, Issue 35. Leading the way to double-digit growth, Robert P. Gandossy, Shelli Greenslade

9. Take Employee Feedback like IBM

IBM held a three day discussion via the corporate Intranet to debate and discuss about the company’s values, the nature of the organization and what it stood for. The Forum dubbed “ValuesJam” attracted about 50,000 of IBM’s employees and elicited about 10,000 comments about the proposed values.

Source: “Leading Change when Business is Good”, Harvard Business Review, December 2004.

Suggestion of the Month

This is the reading list recommended by Joel Barker of the “Paradigm Shift” fame to get an idea of the future.

1. Science News
2. Popular Science
3. Christian Science Monitor
4. The Atlantic Monthly
5. Business Week
6. Mother Earth News
7. Mother Jones
8. Scientific American
9. Technology Review


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