“Quick question. How many here support increased happiness, harmony and prosperity?” Those are the opening words from Doug Kirkpatrick in one of the most compelling TED talks I’ve ever seen.
Ready for a shocking assertion? After decades of searching and experimenting, I believe we’ve found in Doug’s company the end-all be-all, absolute superlative method for tapping the very best performance that employees are able and willing to contribute in the workplace.
Dubious, are you? Well, hang in there for 2 more minutes, and let’s see if I make a believer out of you. If I do, you’ll want to sign up right away for Doug’s appearance at Saint Louis University on Friday, May 4.
Truth be told, most organizations today are still stuck with the vestiges of a never-should-have-been model of management and leadership for any enterprise that involves independent adult human beings. That outmoded paradigm persists despite nearly 40 years of countless efforts to shed the shackles of traditional management methods dating back to the quality movement of the early 1980s.
At that time, it was becoming clear that Japan was going to eat our economic lunch if we didn’t do something about it. That’s when quality gurus like Deming, Juran and Crosby became the toast of the town in American business circles. To be sure, their contributions made a significant, lasting impact. Some companies that went all-in with system-wide quality methods achieved spectacular results.
Still, the advances and resulting successes were far from pervasive. Most organizations came away from their quality improvement programs with little to show for their considerable effort and expense. Some were left even worse off than when they started on their quality journey.
Nevertheless, diehard believers were determined to crack the code and keep the fires burning. That persistence led to a continuing series of initiatives that dot the historical landscape of here-today-gone-tomorrow management movements: quality circles … total quality management (TQM) … reengineering … employee empowerment … employee engagement … holacracy … and the latest iteration – employee experience (EX).
So here’s the truth. Whatever you call it, the name of the game is the same when you’re striving for business success through people. It comes down to a simple, significant premise – if you create an organization where employees love to work and customers love doing business … you win. The question remains – What’s the best way to do that?
Enter The Morning Star Company.
No, it’s not the well-known investment research firm. It’s a tomato processing business that began in the early 1990s in northern California. Rather than follow the TQM trend of the day, the company founders, including Doug Kirkpatrick, decided they would run the business in a radically new way – without any bosses, managers or traditional hierarchies.
Instead, they created their own unique model for self-management and shared leadership, all based on principles and practices of law like a constitution, employee contracts, adjudication boards, etc. If you’re wondering what happens to managers in companies who adopt the model, they shift to more value added work as coaches, mentors, subject matter experts, and more. But the responsibility and authority for managing the work itself always resides with the employees.
So how has it worked out for them? Within less than a decade, Morning Star went from a start-up operation to become the largest tomato processing company in the world!
Want to learn how they made it work – and how you can do it, too? Click here to sign up for the business event of the year, and get ready to rock your world! People will be talking about it for a long time to come, and it will have a lasting impact on the life of your people and your business.
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