The Upside of Inverting Your Organization

December 15, 2021 Affective LeadershipAssociation InsightsEmotional IntelligencePeer Powered Performance

Inverted pyramid comparison

This is a MUST READ for anyone serious about giving  your front line team FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY.

Recognized as the 2008 the “Number One Best Employer in India” by Hewitt Associates and Business Week.  HCLT is propelled by a leadership style described by Fortune Magazine as “The World’s Most Modern Management” CEO Vineet Nayar has been singled out by the London Business School as “the leader of organizational Innovation”.   Mr Nayar’s commitment to transparency begins at the very top sharing his own 360° evaluation with all 55,000 employees and 3800 managers inspiring a culture of trust, openness and honesty.

Mr. Nayar’s process of reverse accountability added another window for improvement, after viewing the honesty and transparency of people using Facebook.  Instead of following the typical chain of command employees are encouraged to record their ideas, and post them on the company intranet.  This is brilliant!!!   Here are fifteen highly engaging benefits just because everybody can participate in everything.

  • 1. Employees are highly motivated to do their best.

  • 2. Managers are inspired to pay attention.

  • 3. Everyone is encouraged to participate.

  • 4. The organization benefits from the creativity of the masses.

  • 5. New ideas are generated by the collaboration.

  • 6. Cultural and departmental biases are ameliorated.

  • 7. Learning is expanded because everyone becomes both a teacher and student.

  • 8. Communications skills are enhanced for everyone in the process.

  • 9. Feedback is immediate, diverse and apolitical.

  • 10. Personal agendas, “lies of omission”, and organizational positioning are all subject to enhanced scrutiny.

  • 11. Leadership is encouraged from every layer of the organization.

  • 12. You create and organizational knowledge base searchable by keyword and historically accurate.

  • 13. The every prevalent “nobody tells us anything” is replaced by “what have you done to know or contribute?”

  • 14. Alternate career paths may be explored through exposure to other departments, ideas and projects.

  • 15. You enhance the sense of community, inclusion and the opportunity to be a part of something special.

Employees First, Customers Second Vineet NayarOn hiring Mr. Nayar sounds more like the HR Department at Southwest Airlines than the CEO of an international technology company.   He said “I like to hire people who have the desire inside them because I can’t create it. I can help you find your desire, but I can’t create it.” I have always found the most effective way to screen for desire is to try to convince a prospective new employee that they should choose something else.  If they don’t fight back and stand up for what they believe in I know they will eventually choose another path.  Using this same style process Mr. Nayar finds that 90% are unsure of what they really want, they’ve not found their “true north.”

Another key question he uses is   “What do you want to do next?”  He wants learners not teachers.  His interview style focuses on intent not just content.  He likes questions like; What excites you most? What depresses you most?

As the final leg in a lengthy interview process he likes to turn the tables by putting the interviewee in the hiring seat.

If you were the one hiring today and you had a choice of hiring any of those who interviewed you today.  Who would you hire and why?  The answers he says reveal their ability to spot strengths and weaknesses.

My friend Rick Powers is a brilliant interviewer.  He likes to interview people in groups asking unusual questions like; If you were a vegetable, what kind of would you be.  I always thought this was a wonderful way to test their creativity and authenticity under pressure.  Then he told me the real secret.  What he was looking for was not from the individual being asked the question, but from those observing the process.  Those who were supportive and encouraging got the jobs while the self-absorbed, petty and indifferent got to bring down somebody else’s business.

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