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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Work Rules: Post #2--Google's Culture

Cornerstones of Google’s Culture. The philosophy at Google
is that people are fundamentally good [often called “Theory Y”]. Thus, Google is a high-freedom culture—allowing people rather than restricting them, saying yes much more often than no. Three fundamental drivers of Google’s culture:

Meaning--A mission that matters—Google: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Companies with strong cultures—Google, IBM, Wegmans—all have a kind of moral imperative rather than a strictly business or financial goal. Great people “…want an aspiration that’s inspiring.” And they want to be able to directly connect their job to the company’s mission. There’s a very good research illustration about how fundraisers who talked with scholarship recipients quadrupled their results.  Getting employees to think like owners and see their work as a calling, not just a job, is a clear focus at Google and other high-freedom, mission-focused cultures.

Transparency--If you think people are basically good, then you should want to share corporate info with them—treat them like owners.  Google’s philosophy is “Default to open,” a model of transparency. For example, new engineers get to see Google’s source code on their first day! Google hosts TGIF every Thursday. Larry Page and Sergey Brin host an all-employee 30-minute meeting both in person and streaming video that gets broadcast around the world to Googlers. Anyone can ask any question. Transparency improves performance. Bridgewater Associates records every meeting and posts it for employees—call it “radical transparency.”

 Voice--Give people a say in how to run the company if you believe in the theory that people are fundamentally good. Through good corporate internal surveys, Google launched “Bureaucracy Busters”—an annual program targeted at reducing bureaucracy to get more done with less interference. Research at UT Austin has shown that giving  employees a voice is key to organizational effectiveness.

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