Does ROWE solve some Lean problemsBy
In next weeks podcast, I have David Kasprzak, of the popular blog, My Flexible Pencil discussing ROWE a concept developed by Jody Thompson and published in her book, Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: The Results-Only Revolution.
An excerpt from the podcast:
Joe: That’s a very interesting point, because that’s what always frustrates me is that when people get into Lean, they just say “Oh, it’s a cultural change.” They create this atmosphere that you have to have, that you’re supposed to have blind faith going there. That it’s going to happen. Does ROWE solve some of those problems?
David: I think it does. I think it does it in a very interesting way. I think ROWE is very much aware, and having talked with Jody directly, those folks are very much aware that businesses have a higher purpose. We can talk mission and values, but above that is a higher purpose. I think a lot of us are familiar with the example of the gentleman sweeping the floor at NASA, and they ask, what is his job? He said, oh, I helped to launch the space shuttle. So there is NASA’s mission. Their higher purpose is to put a man on the moon or win the space race, or one of those things. There’s a higher purpose involved.
We’re looking to get people to that higher purpose, gives them a greater ability to focus on just what they need to do to accomplish that purpose, and that’s where the culture change begins. Wait a minute, if I’m at home today right now and not doing what I would otherwise be doing if I was in the office ?? which might be nothing more than hanging out at the water cooler ?? am I detracting from the purpose of the organization?
Or they may have worked in a daycare as well, and they believe their higher purpose is to create a greater society, and the way they create that greater society is through proper education of young children.
If I decide to go and get my hair done today, and I don’t have someone to cover for me, am I helping to achieve that higher purpose? No, clearly you’re not. However, if you’re given the responsibility for making sure someone covers your time and it does not detract from the higher purpose, then you are free to do what you feel you need to do that day.
That’s why I say the responsibility only aspect of ROWE… I think there are sort of three Rs in ROWE. There’s Results Only, Responsibility Only, and Respect Only. I think if you accomplish those things, people intrinsically start to see the need for efficiency, because not only does it benefit the business, but let’s face it, people want to benefit themselves, too.
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