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Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It: A Results-Only Guide to Taking Control of Work, Not People

ISBN: 978-1-118-42636-4
278 pages
February 2013
Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It: A Results-Only Guide to Taking Control of Work, Not People  (1118426363) cover image

Change the way you think about work (and life) by focusing on results—and only results

Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It shows how the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) mindset can make you or your organization more entrepreneurial, more connected with the broader trends in your industry, and more willing to take smart risks. It explains how to set clear expectations and focus on the endpoint as opposed to managing the process that gets you there. With eyes set on getting rid of distractions, long meetings, and unnecessary updates, this book offers quick, everyday strategies to experience huge increases in productivity (without adding resources) and dramatic drops in turnover.

  • Authors Ressler and Thompson began their work together at Best Buy where they are credited with revolutionizing the workplace
  • Reframes thinking away from counting on general availability (Where's Bob?) to creating clear expectations (Does Bob know exactly what's expected of him?)
  • Explains how to reduce the number of meetings while increasing their quality
  • Shows how to eliminate scheduled events in order to increase critical thinking and improve communication

ROWE is a bold, cultural transformation that permeates the attitudes and operating style of an entire workplace, leveling the playing field and giving people complete autonomy—to manage their measurable results using adult common sense.

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Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Wake Up! Go Beyond Telework 21

Creating an Accountability Culture by Karren Fink 55

Chapter 2 Motivate Me. No Pizza Party, Please 63

The Importance of Trust by Bryan Sivak 98

Chapter 3 S.M.A.R.T. Goals ¼ Senseless

Minutia Against Random Tasks 105

Down with Billable Hours, Up with Results by Otmara “Omi” Diaz-Cooper and Todd Cooper 137

Chapter 4 24/7 Kicks 9–5’s Ass 143

Focus on What Matters by Greg Watt 169

Chapter 5 No More Bullshit Meetings. Period. 177

Delighting the Customer by Ronnie Wooten 201

Chapter 6 Results. Not for Every Job? 207

Results-Only Competency-Based Education by Jeff Herzberg 237

ROWE in the Public Sector by Nancy Dietl Griffin 244

Epilogue 256

About the Authors 272

Index 273

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CALI RESSLER and JODY THOMPSON are the cofounders of CultureRx and authors of Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It. CultureRx provides training services customized to the needs of their clients that successfully shift teams and entire organizations into a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE). Cali and Jody began their work together at Best Buy, where they are credited with revolutionizing the workplace.

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January 31, 2013
Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It

“Our research suggests that a ROWE brings real benefits to employees in terms of their work/life fit and their health and well-being, while also benefiting the company by reducing turnover” - Erin Kelly, professor of sociology for the University of Minnesota

It's a typical day in the office. Joe checks on Bob every five minutes, while Lucy fills her afternoon with online shopping. It’s 4 o’clock and Lucy forgot to tackle her to-do list and Harry can’t wait for the weekend. No one is energized and everyday seems like Groundhog Day. It's a problem and according to CultureRx cofounders Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, they’ve found the solution to this very common workplace issue.

Ressler and Thompson became all too familiar with this scenario while working in the Human Resource department at Best Buy. After leaving Best Buy to pursue their common goal, they formed CultureRx to provide formal training for teams and organizations that want to move into a Results-Only Work Environment, or ROWE.

A ROWE gives each and every person complete control over their time, and not just some of it—all of it, all 168 hours a week. Ressler and Thompson have proven that when people have complete control over their time, they begin to use it wisely to optimize every aspect of their lives, including work. They stop wasting company time, filling it with nonsense, and playing the crazy time games.

That’s why the definition of a ROWE is simple yet powerful. Each person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want—as long as they get the work done. Ressler and Thompson  have seen ROWE  positively impact the bottom line while simultaneously improving the employee experience. Their strategy has been implemented by American retailer, Gap, as well asEdmunds.com, H.B. Fuller, the MN Judicial Branch, and many other organizations in the U.S.  This revolutionary cultural transformation is also making its way across the pond as CultureRx begins a 2013 engagement with a large retailer in the UK.

Their first book, Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It was a great success. Since then they’ve decided to speak directly to managers and employees about how to make ROWE concepts actionablein the book, Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It: A Results-Only Guide to Taking Control of Work, Not People (Wiley; Hardcover & E-Book; ISBN: 978-1-1184-2636-4; February 2013; $24.95).

This book shows readers, through Ressler’s and Thompson’s narratives and through mini-chapters written by their clients, how the transition to a ROWE can make an organization more entrepreneurial, more connected with the broader industry trends, and more willing to take smart risks. Organizations  that embrace a Results-Only Work Environment enjoy staggering increases in engagement. ROWE teams also report an average increase of 35 percent in productivity by eliminating waste from systems and processes and a 90 percent decrease in voluntary turnover rates.

That's an astonishing number!, say Ressler and Thompson, especially when you consider all the time and costs related to turnover, e.g. administrative time, vacancy costs, recruiting and advertising, selection and interviewing, training and onboarding, etc.”

Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix  It explains how to set measurable, outcome- based expectations and focus on the endpoint as opposed to managing the process. With eyes set on getting rid of distractions, pointless meetings, and unnecessary updates, this book offers easy-to-implement, everyday strategies to help readers experience huge increases in productivity (without adding resources) and dramatic drops in turnover.

Readers will learn:

  • Quick tips for restructuring customer service, technology, and work flow
  • How to reframe thinking away from counting on general availability (Where's Bob?) to creating clear expectations (Does Bob know exactly what's expected of him?)
  • How to reduce the number of meetings while increasing their quality
  • How to effectively move into an unlimited vacation scenario, do away with the billable hours/time-based billing setup, and infuse new life into your health and wellness programs

The transition to a ROWE creates a bold, cultural transformation that permeates the attitudes and operating style of the entire workplace, leveling the playing field and giving workers complete autonomy to manage their measurable results— using adult common sense.

ROWE  gives managers a framework to define clear, measurable goals for individuals to accomplish.  When managers focus on what matters - whether or not results are being met -  it frees them from managing the minute details of an employee’s daily routine.

Ressler and Thompson would like readers to use this book as a field guide to the future of work and evolution as a manager. Their ultimate purpose is to make ROWEs the status quo and abolish management-controlled flexibility once and for all!

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