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Engage, Empower and Execution

Published on March 26, 2012 by in Strategy

This month I would like to shift the usual outward focus of branding and media to inside the organization for some innovative management practices that a few leading companies are taking.

McKinsey just published its second of a three part competition on inspiring management practices. The complete article can be found at McKinsey.com.
Below is a short list of the most interesting management practices that Brazilian industrial giant Semco and British telecom giant Vodafone are taking.

“Devoting one day a week to personal pursuits

Why should people spend their most energetic years working for an organization’s goals while putting off their true passions until retirement? This entry (“Retire-a-Little: Enabling more fulfilled working lives”), from Brazilian industrial conglomerate Semco, proposes letting employees “buy” one day each week to spend on external pursuits, such as art, athletics, or nonprofit work. Once retired, those employees could trade back the hours for meaningful part-time work in their later years.

See also Peter Bisson, Elizabeth Stephenson, and S. Patrick Viguerie, “The productivity imperative.

—- Today more than ever, in the ultra connected world we live in, companies need big ideas from their employees. Keeping the creative passions alive in employees to pursue other creative outlets usually translates into more productivity in the workplace. Semco has discovered that unleashing the creative passions of its employees improves both employee satisfaction and productivity.

Creating a nonhierarchical workspace

In this entry (“Cutting the cord: Vodafone UK’s revolutionary approach to mobility, flexibility, and productivity”), the chief executive of the telecommunications company Vodafone UK describes how it transformed its headquarters into a more open, less hierarchical workspace. There are no offices and no dedicated desks, so employees can set up wherever they think they will be most productive—ideally, alongside the group they are working with at the time. This mobility has a leveling effect on the traditional hierarchy, since no executive is very far out of reach.

See also Andrew Campbell, Sven Kunisch, and Günter Müller-Stewens, “To centralize or not to centralize?

— Vodafone’s leveling of traditional hierarchical organization structure was probably very disruptive at first, but once top management was committed to decentralize the company immediately became more nimble and agile. I bet this concept can be traced back to Vodafone’s famous F1 sponsorship of McLaren where staying ahead of the competitive, innovative and failing fast are its “Formula for Success

About UX Acrobat - Marc Niola

Marc is an expert UX professional with a focus on customer-centered design principles, social media, gamification and psychology. He has developed innovative business solutions for global corporations, SME, agencies, clients and brands.

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