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Learn from other organizations

We often think “this is not for us”, “yes but in Belgium”,... but is it really like that?
On this page we list some examples of teal practices from around the world, shaking up our thoughts perhaps. This can help letting go of our limiting beliefs and it can perhaps inspire us to move forward and be bold.
“Corporate Rebels. Make work more fun”, Joost Minnaar, Pim De Morree
Everything is about the higher purpose: outdoor life, fitness, nature. This purpose is visible everywhere. “Build the best products, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crsis”
What can we do to make our purpose visible in our behavior, our workspace even?
Companies with focus on higher purpose perform up to 10 times better than the competition. Consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that focus on having a positive influence.
Have a bold purpose. Authentic, honest, fearless, real. Why does our company exist? Why do we do what we do? What is our added value? Who are we? Do we mean what we say? Who are we doing this for? What difference do we want to make?
Get the message to everyone. Apply purpose and values in all areas.
Hire for culture, train for skills. Six month probation to check if people fit the culture.
Measure impact, track progress, share it widely: metrics are very important. Tony’s Chocolonely measures how slavery develops withing the cocoa industry, and honestly and openly communicates that information. Patagonia reveals its pollution rates.
Put your money where your mouth is. Patagonia halted profitable lines to cut pollution and donated its Black Friday profits to worthy causes.
2000 self organizing units. With freedom to innovate, think like entrepreneurs. They resemble small autonomous companies, each around a product or service. 12000 middle management positions made redundant. Employees take almost all their decisions without consulting superiors or breaking protocol. Haier has started experimenting with shared ownership. Network of teams. Network of companies.
Svenska Handelsbanken
Power decentralized to local departments. CEO Jan Wallander started by refusing to unilaterally take any major decisions. Always input and consent of local branches. Giant was divided into smaller, more agile components. No more centralised budgeting processes. Local branches do budget, visions, strategic plans,... Only the branches had the right to decide which products would be offered to their customers. Complete authority on hiring and firing, salary levels, promotion. Head office: support only, not control.
Collective responsibility. Objective and equal parameters (customer satisfaction, billable hours, delivery times, growth, revenue, profit,...), so performance can be measured and compared one-on-one
Supportive leadership. One of their slogans: “Tearing down hierarchy by design”. Example: their redesigned offices; all managers taken out of their rooms. Managers who isolate themselves get less respect. Weekly town hall meetings. Management performance is evaluated by teams.
Practices for supportive leadership: Level1: beware of hippo’s (highest-paid person’s opinion) Level2: destroy the ivory tower (get rid of privilege and status symbols, such as parking places, corner offices) Level3: evaluate your manager Level4: split managers. It is not necessarily a good thing to promote people to management positions because they did great work in their normal competence field. Level5: choose your leader
"We aim to make mistakes faster than anyone else” “We place more value on innovation than predictability. Prediction can never be innovative.”
Key to success: experiment often, fail quickly, and keep improving. The most valuable experiments are the result of intense interaction between employees, customers and other stakeholders.
Level1: ruthlessly experiment. Action! Instead of analysis-paralysis
Level2: kill the budget cycle
Level3: create a “safe to try” environment. Hold “Fuck up events”, make sure the leaders tell their stories first.
Level4: crowdsource experiments
Level5: Rebel time
Policy about corporate travel: “Act in Netflix’s best interest”.
FOD Social Security BE
Focus on results, not on hours at work
Freedom to choose when to be in the office
Network of teams structure, with groups evaluating their representative
No more status symbols
Results: rise in productivity, lowest number of illness-related absences in BE, virtually no burnout, gender balance, able to attract fresh talent
Submarine Santa Fe, commander David Marquet
Walks around and asks these questions (interesting questions any leader can ask):
What would you do if you were in my shoes?
What works well here?
What are your biggest frustrations?
Why is this team performing well/badly?
What do you hope I will change?
What things do you want to keep the same?
What is the best I can do for you?
How can I help you to perform better?
Haufe-Umantis (Swiss HR Software company)
CEO is democratically chosen
More of a democratic micronation than an average commercial enterprise
E.g. democratic decision to take a collective pay cut to save the company
Ricardo Semler and Clovis Bojikian Experimental approach, taking steps further all the time. Amoeba plan, inspired by Kyocera: network of teams of max 50 people, operating independently. Head office shrinks with 75 percent. HR and Finance provide support only when asked. Weekly meetings where no subject is taboo. “Nobody can expect anyone to be fully involved if they do not have access to all the information.” Keep people in the dark and they tend to assume the worst. Employees can review, and even select, managers. Teams can set their own goals.
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