An insightful book encouraging us to challenge established management practices and traditional conventions. The analogy at the end of the book was particularly interesting: an efficiency of a typical internal combustion engine is about 30%. We know that the engine is reliable and widely used, but finding a method to increase the efficiency above 30% would create a significant benefit. As our organizations are a combination of resources and people, increasing engagement of the people with non-traditional management approaches might make significant difference in success of these organizations.
The book mentions several already popular approaches, including sabbaticals and careful hiring, and some of new approaches are better analyzed to question conventional wisdom.
The author references Service-Profit Chain, which is gaining more attention in recent publications.
The author also refers to “Employees First, Customers Second,” a book that would seem revolutionary a decade or two ago. It is a pleasure to see how this approach becoming more main stream.
Interesting concept of “pre-hiring” vacation: an arrangement when the company gives two weeks of paid vacation to a new hire before the start day to assure that the new person enters the company well-rested and eager to learn.
A perspective where “sunk costs” can actually be beneficial: as companies offer “quitting bonuses” to encourage unsatisfied employees to leave, the idea of not taking the offer has an additional benefit. As people who did not leave the company “lost” the money, they consider the amount an investment into current job and “sunk costs” that are psychologically difficult to ignore. “If I did not take these money… I must really like that job…”
Research in office email and productivity – Some Companiess Are Banning Email and Getting More Done.
The company has reduced overall email by 60 percent, going from an average of 100 email messages per week per employee to less than 40. Atos’s operating margin increased from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent in 2013, earnings per share rose by more than 50 percent, and administrative costs declined from 13 percent to 10 percent. Obviously, not all of these improvements were the result of banning email, but the correlation is certainly strong. So is a growing body of research on the effects of email.
Research suggests that just limiting checking of email to certain time during the day would be helpful.
Another new point of view on a popular approach was a chapter on open office. Based on research, the main benefit of the open office is real estate cost saving. That is it. Open office has its own shortcomings, including noise, what may actually reduce creativity and productivity rather than encourage it. Open office can be as effective as a traditional one if employees have enough control (and enough space) to use the environment. Interestingly enough, information of success of open office experiments is more widely known than failures, resulting in return of the company to a more traditional office environment.
Excellent book to ponder “rules of business” that might not be as effective as we believe they are.