sexta-feira, 4 de novembro de 2011

How Great Companies Think Differently - Parte V

Creating opportunities for individuals to use company resources to serve society furthers institution-­building goals. Novartis employees serve in hospitals, where they see firsthand the challenges of disease and how their drugs are used. In 2011, P&G employees set out in Tide Loads of Hope vans to visit communities in the southern U.S. ravaged by floods. In the mobile Laundromats, managers and other professionals washed and folded clothes for local people, getting to know them and their circumstances. These kinds of interactions express corporate values and produce valuable learning, too.


Great companies assume they can trust people and can rely on relationships, not just rules and structures. They are more likely to treat employees as self-­determining professionals who coordinate and integrate activities by self-organizing and generating new ideas.

Institutional logic holds that people are not paycheck-­hungry shirkers who want to do the bare minimum, nor are they robots that can be ordered to produce high performance. Instead, employees make their own choices about which ideas to surface, how much effort to put into them, and where they might contribute beyond their day jobs. Resource allocation is thus determined not only by formal strategies and budgetary processes but also by the informal relationships, spontaneous actions, and preferences of people at all levels.

Fully understanding a company requires knowledge of its social structure and informal networks, and optimizing performance requires social investments. At Shinhan Bank, the two banks self-­integrated through social bonds and relationships well in advance of the three-year mark when official integration was to take place. The new connections manifested in such actions as each bank’s voluntarily hanging the other’s banner in its headquarters. At Procter & Gamble, managers in Brazil turned strategic and organizational traditions on their head to develop low-cost, high-quality alternatives to premium products. They undertook this risky initiative on their own and self-organized to ensure closer cross-functional teamwork and partnerships with customers. They felt that they had an obligation to improve the lives of consumers who could not afford premium products. Similar institutional logic led the P&G Himalaya team, a global cross-functional group, to find ways to make Gillette razors affordable and desirable to men often bloodied by barbers using rusty or worn-out blades.

Managers in great companies understand that formal structures can be too general or too rigid to accommodate multidirectional pathways for resource and idea flows. Rigidity stifles innovation. Informal, self-organizing, shape-changing, and temporary networks are more flexible and can make connections between people or connect bundles of resources more quickly. Employees’ formal roles come to resemble the home base from which they are continuously mobile as they carry out daily tasks and projects, develop work relationships, and participate in team or group activities. Matrix organizations—in which individuals report to two or more bosses depending on the different dimensions of their tasks—become what I dub a matrix on steroids. People are accountable along many dimensions simultaneously, attending to multiple projects and using their networks to assemble resources for all those projects, often without going through a decision-­making hierarchy.

Although there is a drudgery and confinement component to many jobs—plenty of Cemex employees work in factories, Shinhan’s banks have tellers stuck behind counters, and every company has stay-at-desk support staff—trusting people to make choices about where, when, and with whom they should work makes jobs more engaging. For example, on any given day about 40% of IBMers in the U.S. do not go to an IBM office. They work at home or at customer sites, moving between locations and taking vacations at times of their choosing. IBM’s work-at-home programs, such as the one started in Japan in 2001, have caught the attention of governments interested in keeping women with technical degrees in the workforce. In some cases, IBM offers allowances to support infrastructure in the home, which has enabled a Harvard graduate working in India to combine project work with child-rearing, for instance, and a software manager from Egypt to move with her husband to Dubai.

Institutional logic assumes that people can be trusted to care about the fate of the whole enterprise—not just about their own jobs or promotions—and to catalyze improvements and innovations without waiting for instructions or sticking to the letter of a job description. Job descriptions nowadays document only part of what people do; performance reviews and salary bands capture only some of the activities through which people might add the most value for the company.

When people self-organize to create networks to share information, new initiatives or innovations are often the result. Organizations must encourage the creation of such networks, of course, and facilitate them through communication platforms or meeting spaces, but the networks usually flourish best if they spring from volunteers who do things that bosses might not have anticipated. What’s more, these self-organized networks often keep good ideas alive long after an organization would have abandoned them.

For example, three PepsiCo managers in Latin America had shared a dream for around a decade of developing new kinds of potatoes that were suitable for southern climates, less starchy, and environmentally sustainable. They felt that the initiative should be based in Peru, the potato’s birthplace. The troika remained in contact despite their moving to different locations, and even after years of ho-hum response, they presented their ideas wherever they could. They eventually received a boost when a new Peruvian potato chip whose creation they championed became a sensation. The chips, which used multicolored potatoes from small farmers in remote villages in the Andes, combined nutrition, tastiness, and social contribution. Proof of concept turned the dream into reality: In August 2010, CEO Indra Nooyi announced the establishment of a global potato development center in Peru, headed by one of the three champions.

(Continua amanhã)

Fonte: HBR by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

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