"Intellectual honesty" is the term Andy Grove, chairman and former president of Intel Corp., uses to describe Intel's policy of open communication. "We communicate and communicate and communicate, at every level, in every form," says Grove. "Anyone can ask anybody any question. We have probably shaken loose a lot of bad ideas that way." It also has helped to make Intel a major player in the personal computer market, with more than $29.3 million in sales in 1999 alone.
Although this approach can be confrontational at times, workers and managers alike are encouraged to share ideas. This policy is reinforced through the company's culture. For example, all employees--including executives--work in open cubicles, which removes the class distinction between managers and workers and the barriers between different departments and work units.
According to Grove, all motivation comes from within. The most a manager can do is create an environment in which motivated people can flourish. To do this, you must be willing not to take personal credit for the team's success and be tough enough to get the very best performance your team can give. You must also have played the game well enough yourself to understand it completely.
Spread the Word Grove recently used a clever approach to spread the company's message: He distributed the corporate goals to Intel employees inside fortune cookies. Grove passed out the cookies at Intel's Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters with this cryptic message:
1: Job 1; 2: Make the PC "it."
The fortune represents the company's goals. The first symbolizes Intel's goal to maintain and strengthen its position as the world's number one manufacturer of microprocessors. The second refers to Intel's goal of making the personal computer the tool of the information age. The company's vision is that a single computer will one day include television, VCR, an answering machine, Internet access, and even a videogame player. Innovative communication techniques such as the fortune cookie keep this vision fresh in employees' minds.
The More Open, the Better Grove also conducts half a dozen open forums every year at different Intel locations. "I go somewhere, and people fill a cafeteria," says Grove. "I have a microphone and overhead projector. I start by showing a few slides, and then hands go up and there are questions."
He finds these informal Q&A sessions with employees to be the most stimulating type of meeting, especially in terms of the variety and incisiveness of the questions--far more so, he says, "than meetings with security analysts."
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate--Consider the quantity, quality, and innovativeness of how you communicate.
2. Break down barriers--Both in the workplace and at meetings, all employees' thoughts and opinions carry the same weight.
3. You can't force anyone to do great work--You can, however, motivate employees by encouraging open communication.
4. Distinguish between employees who aren't doing their jobs because they can't and those who aren't doing their jobs because they won't--If a person's life depended on it, could he or she get the job done? If the answer is yes, the problem is motivational. If the answer is no, the problem is the employee's ability.