Gary Hamel's ASAE keynote

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Just getting around to this now, then I read Scott Briscoe's post and decided he already pulled out my favorite parts perfectly. So here's Scott's wrapup of Hamel's presentation: This is my bird, dammit.

Hamel also had an example of a truly radical company that is worth sharing. I was talking with a couple of people about it tonight, and the idea of doing what it is doing scared them senseless: There's a company, WL Gore (maker of Gore-tex, among other things), where there are no leaders, no hierarchy, no managers. Every employee has the right to say no to anything they want with no repercussions, the theory being then people only would be working on things they felt passionate about. At year's end, 20 of your peers review your work for its value proposition, and your compensation is set accordingly.

What scared the association execs I was talking to was on one hand, that the scut work would go undone because no one feels all that passionate about it, but it needs to be done. On the other hand, they worried that this could cause the staff they have that already is putting in 60 hours a week, the really passionate and engaged ones, to go overboard and burn themselves out even faster (I can totally see myself falling into the latter camp). On the other other hand, assuming you have three, is that in a way being paid for value production might have the opposite effect on the highest producers, that by putting dollar values on the projects they now do for free, they might start viewing their "passion projects" as just more work product, rather than the labor of love it is now. Hmm.

It really got me thinking about how to get both the freedom to generate those new ideas we all desperately need, and the discipline to get the work done, how to balance creativity and efficiency. He didn't give us the answers, but did reframe the question in a way that has me still thinking about it at 11 at night.

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