Shhhh! It's a Secret

The April issue of Business 2.0 has a great article on the “best kept secrets of the worlds’ best companies. There are some fabulous ideas in there. Here are some of my favorites (plus I posted one on the Association Renewal blog too):

  • W.L. Gore (inventers of Gore-tex fabric) has been highlighted in management books for both their success and their non-traditional structure and culture. For instance, all except for a few top executives have the same title: associate. Their secret idea? Peer-to-peer promotion. If you want to be a team leader, you don’t lobby the higher ups. You find a project you want to work on and form an alliance of other associates who will work on it with you (as the leader) and pitch THAT to the organization.
  • Egon Zender International (headhunting firm) has 900 employees in 38 countries. They generate $100 million in profits. But they do NOT distribute profits based on the individual performance of their partners. All partners have an equal share of the profits, except that for each year you’re there you get a seniority point, which gets you a bit more. Says the executive chairman: “The only way people can increase the profit pie is by helping colleagues please their clients. The system guarantees total collaboration.”
  • UPS uses three-minute meetings for its drivers. Some of the office workers have now taken to the practice as well. Announcements, safety tips, immediate tactical information. It’s not much, but the discipline of limiting it to three minutes (this company has a thing about being on time) is quite powerful. Why do we put up with rambling in meetings?