Home > management > Why Do You Guys Suck?

Why Do You Guys Suck?

In this Gary Hamel post, Extreme Management Makeover, Mr. Hamel tells the story of HCL Technologies CEO Vineet Nayar’s passionate effort to turn his company’s culture upside down. Read the article to discover the slew of wildly unorthodox actions that Vineet executed to achieve his goal. As a sampling of Mr. Nayer’s courage and determination to buck the status quo, check this one out:

HCLT employees are able to rate the performance of any manager whose decisions impact their work lives, and to do so anonymously. These ratings are published online and can be viewed by anyone who has submitted a review. This visibility challenges managers to be more responsive and exercise their authority judiciously. The number and organizational scope of the reviews a manager receives are also a good indicator of an individual’s zone of influence—is he or she adding value across a wide swath of the company, or only within a narrow sphere? Importantly, this “feedforward” process isn’t connected to compensation and promotion decisions. It is purely developmental. Nevertheless, there aren’t many hiding places left at HCLT for mediocre managers.

Want another zinger?

Early on, Vineet and his leadership team set up an online forum and encouraged employees to ask tough questions and offer honest feedback. Nothing was censored on the “U&I” site; every post, however virulent, was displayed for the entire company to see. Vineet recalls that in the beginning, “virtually 100% of the questions were dirty questions. ‘Why do you guys suck?’ ‘Why does your strategy suck?’ ‘Why aren’t you living up to your values?’’ While some managers bemoaned the fact that all of the company’s soiled laundry was now online, employees lauded the forum as a symbol of HCLT’s commitment to transparency and as another way to hold top management accountable. The U&I portal had another value: it was also an early warning system for critical issues facing the company.

Does your company even have a DICforce-to-management U&I portal? If you’re lucky enough to have one, is it anonymous and uncensored so that the submitted questions are more than just cream puffs?

If Vineet was in any position other than the CEO, do you think his idea of “employees first, customers second” would have any chance at all of being heard, let alone being placed into execution? Do you think managers in general explore the landscape for innovative management practices and weird, heretical companies like HCLT, Zappos.com, SAS Institute, SEMCO, et al?

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