The transparency of information is a key principle
Digital principles which are meritocracy, transparency and open-minded must progressively take part in the organization. A lot of digital start ups relay these values and even transform them into a mechanism of intern gestion (as mentioned in the second part of this article). For example, VALVE is a 300 employees American company which develops softwares. In this firm, there is no chief, when a new employee comes in, they are given a manual to explain the singularity, the particularity of the company and they are told “here, you won’t have a job with high responsibilities, you will have to find a project, the team with whom you will spend this journey…Many don’t make it to the end of that very journey, but those who do are real entrepreneurs in the company, real intrapreneurs”. Buffer is also an American company, where salaries and public reports are published on their blog. Automatic, Worldpress company has 250 workers spread in 37 countries in the world. Nevertheless, they organize video conferences each Friday to allow their employees to meet, discuss and confront their ideas which generates innovation.
The importance of autonomy
In 2017, when two partners were on the verge of a financial ruin, as mentioned in the first part of the article, we made the decision not to lower our head in front of a customer, it was the beginning of an intern process of deep digital transformation. It was a digital company when seen from the outside but not innovative when seen from the inside. Thus, we decided it was necessary to apply these new principles, the autonomy of the employees had become our priority. Sometimes, I talk with the directors, the CEO of the company, about autonomy, liberty, and it is always the same thing, “yes, yes” they all agree but in the end they hold your hand and guide you to what you have to do, and people take advantage of it. This behaviour couldn’t work in this company, the knowledge also being distributed in the different areas of the company. The direction had to delegate, it had to grant its confidence to people it hired.
The meritocracy, at the heart of preoccupations
Obviously, “ a high power involves high responsibilities” as Spiderman’s father told him, doesn’t it ? In this company, meritocracy is radical. Every worker evaluate each other, pressure comes from colleagues, not from the top to the bottom. The colleagues are encouraged to create links which will enable them to be supported by their colleagues to make them feel the importance of their role, whatever their job. When somebody is not up to the task, they are invited to leave. To reach the hundred people they are today, in 6 years, they hired around 300 people. In the 200 who are not here, only 25 left on their own free will. But the ultimate aim is to transform these digital principles into concrete mechanisms. We have implemented home office, people have a total freedom in this kind of work and they do it with a lot of responsibilities, they organize themselves. Everything is based on trust. We don’t have predefined schedules. They don’t have a limited number of vacation days. This freedom enables us to involve even more the colleagues, to make them share their company projects and make sure they are not in a state of mind in which they only go to work to have something to eat.
The sharing of ideas is primordial
Values such as conversation and the sharing of ideas are essential, everybody can have bright ideas. We implemented a meeting, each Friday at 9h, a breakfast where an extern guest comes in to share his experience, his vision of the world. It is considered inappropriate to schedule other meetings from 9h30 to 10h30 on Friday, neither for customers, nor with salesperson. I like a lot people that are saying to me “ what a good idea these meetings on Friday evening”, in reality, the idea is mediocre. What represents a challenge is to succeed to do 300 meetings in 6 years and that employees also feel concerned. The new comers are often impressed by these conversations which are so open and honest and where everybody can give their opinion and say to the director who may have been here for a long time, what is on their mind. There are no restrictions, no fear.
Keep this kind of leadership when the company is growing
I know that developing is not an easy thing, they are growing and we already won 30% and 4 new offices. They are present in 3 countries and in negotiations with 2 new countries. It will be difficult to maintain this culture when they grow, to maintain this type of leadership. But we also know one thing, there is no other option, with the digitalization imposed to companies, than a new gestion way. Companies that don’t put human in the center of their preoccupation, that don’t give them autonomy, confidence, won’t obtain the necessary motivation to follow this frenetic rhythm of innovation. We are saying that one of the first causes of resignation is the bad bosses. Obviously, bad bosses are a huge cause of misfortune at work. Consequently, if digitalization enables to end up with bad bosses… those who are digital optimistics like me, we have another reason to keep on being optimistic!
Last element which seems important to precise. We are talking a lot about company liquidation due to poor payment practices of customers or even temporary causes. But wouldn’t the truth be that one in two companies which shut their doors is the direct result of a bad boss gestion ?
If you didn’t read the first part, click here !
If you didn’t read the second part, click here !