People Operations: Are Your Work Rules Benefitting Your Bottom Line?

What would happen in your company, if tomorrow the Human Resource Department was replaced with a People Operations Department? Perhaps leadership might be taking the first step in transforming the culture by changing the labels and rules by which it hires and engages its employees. It might be taking on some of the best people practices that Google has innovated and field-tested.

Work Rules

Laszlo Bock, former SVP of People Operations, takes you on a journey of failures, successes, and celebrations within Google, as leadership tried to attract the best talent and ensure all its employees succeeded. The results? Hundreds of accolades including #1 Best Company to Work for in the United States and in 16 other countries. If you lead a business or any organization, you’ll want to study and learn from Google who delivers the latest research blending human psychology with behavioral economics.

Bock (2015) shares the people strategies and tactics that leadership can use to lead their employees and teams to higher engagement, productivity, satisfaction, and reward. Google’s stated mission is to organize the world’s information, and in this case, they decide to design, collect, organize, and interpret data using its own 55,000 employees spread over more than 70 countries. Several of the more well-known business conclusions Google was able to prove:

  • You can learn from both your best as well as your worst employees,
  • You should only hire people who are smarter than you in some way, no matter how long it takes to find them,
  • You shouldn’t rely on your gut but use data to predict (Some may consider this one controversial).

The three Google lessons that are not mainstream business thinking but may make a difference in how well your company performs include:

  • Taking away managers’ power over their employees: Hiring, firing, promotions, and salary actions should be done by a committee using transparent data with managers only held responsible for coaching their direct reports to succeed in their work.
  • Paying unfairly because it’s the fair thing to do: Employee performance typically does not follow a bell curve, but a power curve. Your best employees should be rewarded multiples over your average producing employees.
  • Giving your employees more freedom than you’re comfortable with: Trust your employees more.

You might be saying, “These concepts would never be put into practice in my company.” That may or may not be true, but the challenge for all leadership is to be thoughtful enough to make the hard decisions that can champion change and spur their employees to collectively produce at the next level. You’ve likely heard the old saying that idiocrasy is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. How does your organization need to change in how it leads people to get better results?

Is now the time to learn from actual field results and try to see how these concepts can work in your organization? I encourage every employee, supervisor, manager, and leader to pick up this book and find one or two concepts, rooted in research, that can be applied in life and in business to engage others more.  It’s easier and cheaper to learn from the successes of others who have paved the way.

Reference

Bock, L. (2015). Work Rules: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You live and Lead. New York, NY: Twelve Books.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales. She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

The Best of Global Leadership Summit 2017

GLS-BannerFor those who were not able to soak in the messages of the 13 outstanding speakers presenting at Global Leadership Summit (GLS), I share a few key messages from each leader. My hope is that one or more of these points spark an idea, ignite an interest, or passionately resonate with you and that you will pause long enough to explore how to expand on its impact in both your personal and professional life.


Bill Hybels

  • Humility allows leaders the ability to continue learning.
  • Leaders set the tone by showing everyone respect even in the midst of any lack of civility.
  • Leaders get behind a grander vision above delivering on the bottom line. How else can you make an impact?
  • Leaders plant leadership seeds in young people where they see leadership potential.
  • Ask yourself whether you are leading as well on the home front as in the workplace.

Sheryl Sandberg

  • Resiliency is learned through failure and a muscle you can build. Instead of thinking of failure as post traumatic disorder, think of it as post traumatic growth.
  • Hire people with bigger skills: (1) people you need for the future, and (2) people who will get you were you want to go. Employers make the mistake of hiring for what they need now and not for what they need to grow.
  • How come there is not a reference section in the bookstore called HELPING OTHERS? We need to show up for each other more.

Mark Lemonis

  • Business grows through connection which is built by understanding people’s backstory (personal history)?
  • Creating a connection is accomplished through vulnerability and transparency because they unlock the heart to trust.
  • People love it when you walk a day in their shoes even though you will never be in their shoes.

Fredrick Haren

  • 98% of polled workers state it is important to be creative in their jobs; 45% say they are creative, and only 2% say their company is helping them be creative.
  • An idea is just knowledge and information combined in a new way.
  • People need to make the time to allow themselves to be creative.

Bryan Stevenson

  • Effective leaders need to get close to what they need to achieve because answers come in proximity.
  • Leaders need to do uncomfortable things.
  • A change in narrative can liberate fear.

Andy Stanley

  • If you choose to study failure, you may never understand success. You need to perform an autopsy on success to understand success.  Ask, “What did your organization do to grow so fast?”
  • Business growth usually comes from having a “uniquely better” product. Uniquely better is on the frontier of your ignorance.
  • Uniquely better is rarely created within a company, but leaders need to develop a culture where it can be recognized versus resisted. Many top tier companies have taken a financial hit, because they failed to acknowledge “uniquely better” offered by their competition.
  • Be a student, not a critic; when you criticize you stop learning. Replace HOW questions (implied idea killers) with WOW: TELL ME MORE statements (implied idea developers).

Laslo Bock

  • In work, match joy with duty. Pursue passion and purpose.
  • Ask people what is motivating them.
  • Make work better for everyone: (1) give work meaning, (2) have and communicate a goal, (3) trust your people with information and the freedom to achieve the goal, and (4) hire people who are better than you in some way.

Juliet Funt

  • When people don’t have the time to think, business suffers.
  • The pause, otherwise known as “whitespace”, is where innovation and creativity grow, and yet, it is being squeezed out of our schedules.
  • When busyness overtakes whitespace, drive turns to overdrive, excellence turns to perfection, information turns to overload, and activity turns to frenzy.
  • Create whitespace by acting on your answers to the following questions: (1) What can I let go of? (2) When is enough good enough? (3) What do I truly need to know? and (4) What deserves my attention?

Marcus Buckingham

  • The opposite of failure is not success; it is non-failure. If you want to be successful, study success.  Leaders figure out what is happening on the best teams, so they can build on it.
  • The two most important questions a leader ensures his team affirms are: (1) At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me, and (2) I have a chance to use my strengths every day.
  • Leaders should be asking their team, “What are your priorities, and how can I help?”
  • No one really likes unsolicited feedback, but everyone wants coaching attention.

Sam Adeyemi

  • In leadership, you don’t attract what you want but rather who you are.
  • Leaders help people change how they see themselves, helping to break self-limiting beliefs.
  • Transformation starts in the heart. Leaders help people see and hear messages differently  on a consistent basis, so new beliefs can take root in the heart.

Immaculee Ilibagiza

  • Fear is your worst enemy.

Angela Duckworth

  • Grit = Passion + Perseverance over the long-term
  • People can increase their grit through deliberate practice.
  • Talent x Effort = Skill; Skill x Effort = Achievement; notice how effort counts twice
  • Don’t quit on a bad day. If you want to quit, quit on a good day.

Greg Haugen

  • Leadership begins with a dream, and fear is the ultimate dream destroyer.
  • Keep dreams alive by relentlessly and rigorously inventorying your fears.
  • Lead without fear; switch from playing defensive to offensive.

GLS provided meaningful leadership messages for the current times.  Reflecting on my two days invested in GLS, I propose we need to overcome our fears that tells us we “can’t” or “shouldn’t”.  We need to create whitespace to be creative and bring our dreams to life.  As leaders, we need to build teams with clear purpose and allow people to drive on their strengths. We need to trust our teams with information, so they can solve problems, do the right thing, and create value.  Sound simple enough?  Simple is not necessarily easy.  Leading others well can be frustrating and difficult, because at times it requires us to change our engrained attitudes, beliefs, and views as well as to release the fears that have us playing defensive and not offensive.

What message resonated with me the most?  None of the speakers did a deep dive into the impact of fear and leadership, yet the concept was weaved through some of the presentations.  In my opinion, fear is a powerful motivator in people’s decision-making. Fear paralyzes purpose, passion, and perseverance.  Fear undermines people from choosing to do the right thing.  Fear undermines great leadership. I believe leaders need to take an honest inventory of fears that are holding them back in growing in their leadership capacity and develop constructive mitigation strategies to overcome them.



HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all its employees.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.