Getting the Best Response
from Knowledge Workers
Professional Status and Identity
Peers and networking
– using public praise, positions as a "chief scientist" or corporate
fellow, and even peer review as extremely powerful motivators; using
peer networks actively for solving problems.
Keep current, keep happy – facilitating the latest information
and knowledge exchange, even with competitors, as an essential component
of sustained success.
Showcase professional contributions – publishing or presenting at
industry conferences; "what really drives highly educated knowledge
workers is pride in accomplishment."
The ultimate skin: gain sharing – stock options, unlimited
percentage of profits.
Providing Challenging Work
Minimizing Management Overhead
– define what work is required, identify the key interdependencies, and
innovation subtask to small, interlocking independent
teams with defined leaders.
Constantly refresh the context – knowledge workers need
confirmation that their project is still valued and they want to see
what's coming next; to avoid people loosing the context within which
their initiative resides, make sure there's always a clear context for
the current project and a visible, exciting next project looming ahead.
Silicon Valley Incorporated
– a Virtual Company
Silicon Valley is often
characterized as a community where people really don't work for individual
firms – everyone works for a virtual company: Silicon Valley Incorporated.
"Skills are both so abundant and in such demand that most people could
quickly contribute at several Valley firms." A unique Valley norm is that
when you are facing a really tough problem, you may contact anyone who may
help, regardless of where they work, even if they work for competitors.
inducements that companies have historically used to secure loyalty have
lost their clout; compensation and benefit party is essential to get people
through the from door, but it won't be sufficient to retain them."
The Collective Power of
Silicon Valley leaders recognized
the value of
and continually try to evoke, rather than mute, people passions. Once
evoked, the passion is tough to control. It can result in a series of
twenty-hours workdays, fun
and pranks. The passion to go well beyond the extra mile is what drives
people to create insanely great products and services.
The spirit and passion of Silicon Valley is
best seen at the extremes of the workdays. "Flex time" means that there's
not time when people aren't willing to probe and test new opportunities.
Flat and Participative
Organizational and management structures in
Silicon Valley firms are flat and
participative. In a meeting rooms at most Silicon Valley companies, the
mix of people, expertise, and ages is striking. More importantly, the degree
of candor is tremendous. You don't expect to find such level of frankness in
In more direct
cultures, such as Intel or Sun
Microsystems, you can witness easily an intense argument between a senior
executive and an entry-level engineer. Status and seniority aren't based on
age or position; they're based on what you know and can deliver.
Idea Evaluation: "The Five
firms in Silicon Valley have installed a "five minute rule."
The rule permits anyone to suggest an idea. Then for the
first five minutes after the idea is expressed only positive comments can be
made. By the time the idea is talked about for five minutes it has
usually spun into an impromptu
session that cultivates truly great ideas and some form of the
discussion is often implemented...