Many people don't believe in mission and vision statements because they say that their principles rarely show up in employee behavior. How would that change if every new employee had to sign a "Rules of Engagement" as a condition of hire? What if leaders lived those rules?
In an earlier post, I mentioned Bob Sutton's upcoming book, the No Asshole Rule. The book is now in stores and triggering lots of discussion. Bob Sutton has blogged about his work with SuccessFactors, which includes the "No Asshole Rule" principle in its "Rules of Engagement" for all employees. What is powerful here is how this set of rules can change the conversation at work. Here is a comment from Guy Kawasaki, SuccessFactors' 14 rules and a test to see whether you are an a-hole at work.
ARSE: The Asshole Rating Self Exam
Bob Sutton and the mavens at Electric Pulp have created the ARSE (Asshole Rating Self Exam) to help people to determine if they are assholes. This is an offshoot from Bob’s book, The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t, which I reviewed at the end of October.
I’m sure that none of you need to take this test, but you might know someone who does. :-)
On a related topic, Bob told me about a company called SuccessFactors. It makes performance and talent management software to automate performance reviews across global organizations and create visibility into performance data across the organization. This helps its customers determine how to find, promote, and pay people as well as how to manage succession planning.
The company is a no-asshole zone. It requires employees to agree to sign this document:
Rules of Engagement
I will be passionate—about SuccessFactors’ mission, about my work. I will love what we do for companies and employees everywhere.
I will demonstrate respect for the individual; I will be nice and listen to others, and respect myself. I will act with integrity and professionalism.
I will do what it takes to get the job done, no matter what it takes, but within legal and ethical boundaries.
I know that this is a company, not a charity. I will not waste money—I will question every cost.
I will present an exhaustive list of solutions to problems—and suggest actionable recommendations.
I will help my colleagues and recognize the team when we win. I will never leave them behind when we lose.
I will constantly improve Kai-zen! I will approach every day as an opportunity to do a better job, admitting to and learning from my mistakes.
I will selflessly pursue customer success.
I will support the culture of meritocracy and pay for performance.
I will focus on results and winning—scoring points, not just gaining yardage.
I will be transparent. I will communicate clearly and be brutally honest, even when it’s difficult, because I trust my colleagues.
I will always be in sales and drive customer satisfaction.
I will have fun at work and approach my work with enthusiasm.
I will be a good person to work with—I will not be an asshole.
I agree to live these values. If my colleagues fail to live up to any of these rules, I will speak up and will help them correct; in turn, I will be open to constructive criticism from my colleagues should I fail to live by these values. I understand that my performance will be judged in part by how well I demonstrate these values in my daily work.
While #14 is getting all the attention, think about how all 14 Rules would make a difference to the energy around your office - and the business results for you and your customers. When everyone agrees that there are no a-holes, and that they have the right to call anyone on it, new employees quickly understand the culture - so long as everyone is truly living by those principles. Leaders must be the first to sign up and live it!
Bob Sutton gives some concrete examples of how this approach has changed behavior at the office. Read about it here.
What do you think:
- What would be the impact on your organization if all employees had to agree to SuccessFactors' Rules of Engagement? What would be the impact on customers, partners and suppliers if you brought this approach in those relationships?
- If you were to write down the rules of engagement for your sales force, based on current behavior, what would they be? How would that differ from what you would like them to be?