David Burkus on how organizations can overcome “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom”

BurkusIn Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business as Usual, David Burkus offers a number of recommendations as to how organizations can overcome what James O’Toole has characterized as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.”

Here are four:

o Put Customers Second: “To better serve their customers, some corporate leaders have found that they must put their customers’ needs second and their employees’ needs first. They have basically inverted the hierarchy and aligned their companies with a well-researched model of customer satisfaction that comes through company happiness.”

o Ditch Performance Appraisals: “Performance appraisals have long been assumed to be vitally important to a manager’s job. But many companies have found that rigid performance management structures actually prevent people from improving their performance, so smart leaders have begun eliminating these structures in favor of newer measures [e.g. frequent feedback] that actually enhance performance.”

o Take Sabbaticals: “Despite the temptation to be ‘always on,’ the best leaders give themselves and their employees a good long break once in a while — a sabbatical. These leaders have found that the best way to stay productive all of the time is too spend a good portion of the time being deliberately unproductive.”

o Celebrate Departures: “As individual job tenure in companies becomes shorter, leaders say a good-bye to even their best people more frequently. How they do this — whether they celebrate or shun the departed — affects not just those leaving but those who stay, as well as the performance of both the old and the new firms.”

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David Burkus is a best-selling author, an award-winning podcaster, and management professor. In 2015, he was named one of the emerging thought leaders most likely to shape the future of business by Thinkers50, the world’s premier ranking of management thinkers. To learn more about David and his work please click here.

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