In this two-minute video, Kevin McCoy (Co-Founder at Next Jump) talks about some of the issues that come up when trying to push as much decision-making capability down to the lowest level of your organisation as possible. Do you recognise these behaviours in your organisation?
Next Jump is a unique eCommerce company, handling loyalty programmes for Dell, AARP, Intel and Hilton Hotel, among others. It has 70% of the Fortune 1000 among their clients and has sales of over $3bn a year – and has a ‘no fire’ policy. They also have Talking Partners, which means every staff member has a buddy that supports and encourages them throughout their career. View more of their innovative policies in Henry’s blog, Next Jump: 11 Tips for Creating a Great Workplace.
“If you look at it from the perspective of the old school, top down management, you can have a decision made at the top and then the middle management and workers would execute them. But today, if you’re either a disruptor or you’re being disrupted, the idea is that you need to push as much decision-making capability down to the lowest level of your organisation as possible.
“But the real question is, how do you go about doing that? What’s the management method that you could use to actually have your employees making decisions?
“And there are two problems that come up.
“So, the first one – I don’t know if anyone has seen behaviour like this at their own organisation? Every time I see this slide I want to crawl into the slide and move that tree out of the road! And it seems obvious, it seems like the obvious choice, but the driver made a conscious decision to do this. It was about doing his job verses doing the right thing, and I think that came up before as well, and so looking at the root cause of what happened when he came to that point and made that decision, is really what today’s talk is all about.
“The second thing we’ve seen – I’m just going to take a second to read this, this is directly from the book [An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organisation, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey]. It’s about the lying, hiding, faking problem that happens probably at every organisation, and most people are doing a second job. No one is paying them [for it] and they’re spending time and energy hiding their weaknesses, managing other people’s favourable impression of them, showing themselves to their best advantage, playing politics.
“In many organisations, you start out your career with a lie. Because the interview process when you come into an organisation, you’re taught, even at university and we see this all the time, you have to put your best self forward, you have to hide your weaknesses – and then that happens throughout your career where there are actually books – It’s All About Politics – these books that are telling you how to navigate an organisational structure.
“So just imagine for a minute, if you could take that extra job that you’re doing and maybe reduce it by half. Maybe you still do some lying, hiding, faking, but if you were to reduce that job by half, how much more energy would you have to be able to invest into the things that are important about your job? So it’s about creating an environment where there’s a safety to fail.”
Kevin was speaking at the 2017 Beyond Budgeting Conference in London. Click here to view more videos, PowerPoint and blogs from the event.
Kevin is Co-Founder and Co-UK Managing Director at Next Jump, where he has worked since April 1997. He is responsible for the UK business unit, international expansion efforts and product development of Next Jump’s Reward & Recognition product. Prior to Next Jump, Kevin worked for Ziff Davis as a software engineer and production editor. He holds a bachelors degree from Tufts University and was formerly a member of the US Army National Guard where he held the rank of Captain and received the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. You can follow him on Twitter at @kevinmccoy1972.