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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Team Tips – 15 {Our soufflĂ© fell!}

I had another post lined up for Team Tips - 15 but then this gem popped up this morning on Twitter:
from @LeaderChat

BEST BUY: We Ended ROWE/Work From Home Because It Defines Leadership as 100% Delegation.... By @kris_dunn
I was intrigued because a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) is a kindred spirit with the learnings and experiences gained from the immersion in the CORE Protocols at BootCamp.

So I followed the url above to Kris Dunn's post:
[the hr Capitalist]

March 21, 2013

BEST BUY: We Ended ROWE/Work From Home Because It Defines Leadership as 100% Delegation....

Kris ends his post with:

Take a look and soak - it's an interesting conversation. My gut tells me that the delegation angle is window dressing, and when times are bad, people want butts (plural!) in seats.

In this way he leaves the door open for debate on the reported statements on ROWE by the CEO of Best Buy, Hubert Joly, and connects us to the related post by the creators of ROWE:

Cali & Jody Blog

ROWE Creators Set the Record Straight: Best Buy CEO Doesn't Understand ROWE

It’s disheartening to us that Best Buy's CEO, Hubert Joly, complains of his ideas being “misconstrued” and then in the same breath completely misconstrues another important idea. That idea is Results-Only Work Environment, which up until a few weeks ago was the innovative work culture of Best Buy’s corporate offices.

Jody Thompson continues to explain some myths about ROWE which you should read for the full story. To summarize, they are:

Myth #1 - ROWE is delegation

Myth #2 - If you can see people at the office, you know they’re working!

Myth #3 - ROWE is a one-size-fits-all program
And Jody ends with:
Either Joly truly doesn't understand what ROWE is or he doesn't know how to lead in a ROWE. Either way, he just doesn’t get it.

Fascinating, Captain!

Taking these posts at face value, and assuming Hubert Joly is a smart person with good intent, we have a conundrum.

  • Perhaps he is misinformed about ROWE, or it's mechanics, or how it has been implemented at Best Buy
  • Perhaps he has a bad speechwriter / press agent, or can't read
  • Perhaps he has been misquoted, or might plead the Nixon-ism: “Those statements are not longer operative”

Given his quoted remarks it's clear he doesn't understand delegation. When he says no one should delegate the task of building a brick wall to him (because they wouldn't like the result) he seems to not understand that

  • delegation of responsibility is only viable when the “delegatee” can produce the desired result, OR
  • (and he should surely understand this as the CEO) when the “delegatee” can further delegate the task to a bona-fide bricklayer

Does Best Buy regularly designate responsibility for, say, accounting audits to their facilities people, or IT services to their logistics experts?

And Mr. Joly needs some assistance with the concepts of leadership. His description of possible leadership styles as “coaching, motivating or directing” are more accurately descriptions of parent-managing.

But we started with the belief that Hubert Joly is a smart person with good intent. Hmmm. Reductio ad absurdem?

He at least needs some help. A good executive coach might work with him on his integrity so that he can honestly say: "I don't like our implementation of the ROWE concepts. It hasn't worked out like I wanted here at Best Buy. We are changing direction and asking all HQ employees to work in the office." (BTW: that's leadership - at least in the traditional organization)

Perhaps even: "Butts in seats is good enough for Yahoo so it's good enough for us."

Whichever way you look at it, the chef shouldn't blame the recipe when he doesn't follow it.