As a management consultant, I work at a number of different companies throughout the year across different industries and of different sizes. Yet I continually come across the same themes and issues which hinder creativity, limit efficiency and lead to unhappy employees: lack of trust, burdensome processes, lack of honesty and antiquated policies. If I had a chance to design an organization and shape its culture, these are some guidelines I would implement:
1. If I ran a company there would be no such thing as approvals. If you work at my company you are a rational and intelligent human being, and you can be trusted to make your own decisions. That’s not to say you shouldn’t solicit input from those around you to help you make sound decisions, but it does mean that shit won’t get held up because an ‘approved’ button is waiting to be clicked. Most of the time the people doing the approvals aren’t privy to the details of the decision or frankly don’t care about your petty decision anyway.
2. If I ran a company your calendar would not let you book more than 3 hours worth of meetings in any 8 hour period. If you are spending your day sitting in stuffy conference rooms talking then you are not contributing to my company. Shut your trap and go do some work.
3. If I ran a company there would be no risk or compliance group. The company would be so damn efficient by not jumping through their ridiculous hoops, I and wouldn’t have to pay the salaries for an entire army of compliance people. The money saved would be more than enough to pay for whatever incredibly unlikely event may occur that risk group may or may not have prevented.
4. If I ran a company, intracompany transfers would be supported and even encouraged. If high-performing employee has the desire to do something else within the company, they should be granted that opportunity. If they aren’t given that opportunity, odds are they will find that position somewhere else. Either way, management is going to have to fill that employee’s current spot with someone new, and it is in the company’s best interest to retain that talent elsewhere, especially given their ramp-up in their new position will be quicker than that of an outside hire. Moving folks to a new position also keeps employees learning, energized and better educated about the various aspects of the business.
5. If I ran a company you would be fired on the spot for bragging about how many hours you worked. If you can’t get your job done in 40 hours a week then you’re too dumb or inefficient to work at my company.
6. If I ran a company you would have off on your birthday. Cause that’s just nice. Maybe even a half day on your half birthday.
7. If I ran a company leadership would be hooked up to a lie detector test when having compensation discussions. Employees would not be fed bullshit about how a mediocre performance review and raise is still good and something to be proud of. They will not be told lies about how they could have done more without giving concrete examples. How about this – we spent all our money to acquire a company so capital left for bonuses was minimal. Why doesn’t anyone just say that? Or how about – there were three spots for promotion, and you were not one of our top 3 performers. Honesty delivered kindly is refreshing.
8. If I ran a company my most overstaffed department would be IT. There would be an army of overqualified IT support ninjas just waiting for your laptop to dare getting a virus. Never again would someone not be able to work for a day or sit on a helpline all day because their laptop wasn’t functioning.
9. If I ran a company bonuses would not be paid at the end of the year in an attempt to sum up an entire year’s worth of work into one figure. Instead, the pool of money for bonuses would be available all year, with chunks of it available for capture based on performance throughout the year. For example, if you worked on a 3 month project, met the objectives and your deadlines, then you would receive a certain amount of the bonus pool dollars at the project’s completion. This way, employees would see the immediate effects of their work and be compensated for it rather than waiting until the end of the year to receive some portion of a bonus, largely based on the company’s performance (which they may have little to no control over).
10. If I ran a company employees who have to travel for their role would receive 50 cents per minute of flight delay. I know the times I want to quit my job most are when I’m trapped in an airport, not able to get home to my family and my own damn bed. With my company’s arrangement at least I’d make a couple hundred bucks for my pain and suffering and could treat my family to dinner with that cash to keep me out of the dog house.
I’m aware that more than one of these is in clear violation of regulatory requirements, but it’s the spirit of each that I’m after. If companies made trust and open communication tenets of their culture and made a conscious effort to evolve internal policies, I truly believe we would have much happier places to spend our 40 (max) hours per week.