There is a percentage of it coming from the people and therefore, the wisdom of crowds kicks in and, you know, maybe you’re taking 1% of payroll, giving it out to the people to say, “Hey, when you feel you’ve seen great work, nominate your colleagues for an award with a certain value.” You can do that as many times as you want throughout the year. What happens is leaders can follow the money to see where that 1% of payroll landed. That’s how CEOs can use data to find out who your top performers are, who are the most influential people in company, who are the people who have kind of an informal power in an organization. It’s basically, you know, if you give them ammunition to your employees, they will basically vote with their feet and nominate the colleagues who do the best work for those awards.
You said that the era of the grumpy boss is over. Why do you think that’s the case?
It gets back to this old vision of what a manager is…a manager is this person who will dictate your every move and command and control. They will shout at you if you don’t do it right. You know, this whole kind of almost patriarchal view of management is just over. People just don’t respond to that anymore because… and companies shouldn’t want that style of management to work. Because that style of management, it basically oppresses people’s brains, their thoughts, their intelligence, it oppresses and tries to force it into a certain track to do the work that they’re being commanded and controlled to do.
The old grumpy manager just doesn’t have the capacity to change culture in the way that an energized workforce can. An energized workforce is so much more powerful than one grumpy manager. And if you want to compete [in the marketplace], you want to have the energized culture inspiring each other because you will be a much more productive company, a much more innovative company rather than relying on one person and that command and control style.
What advice do you have to your fellow CEOs as they’re looking to improve their engagement, get more out of their employees, and really amp up productivity?
I think my number one advice would be to enlist help. Don’t start from the place of I have to deliver all of those things on my own. Start from the place of I’m going to enlist the help of all of the people and together we’re going to get more productivity, more energy, more creativity. And then you want to strip away the friction that stops people from doing that. And the friction is things like formality and bureaucracy. And so, you start by enlisting help and saying, “We’re all going to do this together.” And then you continue with stripping away friction that stops them from doing it easily such as bureaucracy and formality.