A key finding of our 2017 Employee Engagement Report is that organizational culture is a major influencer of employee engagement. If you’ve ever been at a company that has a lot of rules and enforces them strictly, you know how discouraging (and distracting) it can be. It’s 100 degrees outside, but employees aren’t allowed to wear shorts because of the dress code. Someone’s train is 15 minutes late today — meaning they’ll be late too — but when they arrive in the office, they won’t be able to start doing work until they’ve been scolded by their boss for tardiness. A team member’s child has a soccer game this afternoon, but they have to sit at their desk because your company isn’t flexible — even though they’re caught up with work. You get the gist.
When teams are forced to work in such a situation, it’s impossible for them to become thoroughly engaged.
Understanding this intuitively, Ricardo Semler has transformed Semco Partners into a company that takes it to the other extreme. For all intents and purposes, the company doesn’t have any rules.
In a recent TED Talk, Semler explained his management style and talked about the importance of allowing employees the freedom to live life — a great deal of which occurs outside the office. (If you don’t have time to watch the video, here’s the transcript which is definitely worth a read.)
Over the course of his talk, Semler touched upon a number of interesting management ideas that should help you begin to understand how it’s possible to run a company with no rules:
Semler — whose management style is studied around the world — has helped build Semco into a wildly successful company. That success stems from thinking about what it means to be a manager in a completely different manner. Start thinking like Semler, and your employees will almost certainly view you in a more favorable light — and enjoy their jobs that much more.
Here’s one last quote to point you in the right direction:
“We’ve all learned how to go on Sunday night to email and work from home. But very few of us have learned how to go to the movies on Monday afternoon.”