5 Observations from Work Rules! by Lazlo Bock

Uncategorized Sep 08, 2021

Recently I took a leadership group through a book written by Google Executive Lazlo Bock entitled Work Rules!. Bock led the people to function at Google, which includes all areas related to the attraction, development, and retention of Googlers worldwide. At the time the book was written, that included over 50,000 people in 70 offices around the world. The company is now called Alphabet and has multiple more employees. 

The book walks through how Google hires and retains employees. It offers suggestions that other organizations can implement even on a smaller scale. Pollers consistently rank Google as one of the top places to work in the United States. This book addresses many of the reasons why people love working there. Here are my 5 Thursday Thoughts about Work Rules!.

Google Is A Verb

Google has become such a part of our lives that we do not even realize how we use the word. We no longer search for something on the internet; we “Google it.” Google has entrenched itself in our daily lives so deeply that we do not even realize its impact on our daily decisions. I tell people that Google knows more about you than you know about yourself. 

Make People Founders

Don’t just have employees. Give them enough responsibility that they feel like a founder. You do not have to start a new company to be a founder. It is more of a mindset. Create a culture where people are invested in the company, and they will act differently than someone who feels like they are just hired to do a job. Creating this culture requires giving employees great opportunities to have a meaningful impact and feel like they are contributing to the good of society.

Culture Over Strategy

I have heard this statement numerous times over the years: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” You can have the best ideas and hire the best people, but if the culture they are immersed in is not healthy, they will become a product of the culture instead of changing the culture. Culture is one of the most difficult things to change in an organization. Bock says, “Give people slightly more trust, freedom, and authority than you are comfortable giving them. If you’re not nervous, you haven’t given them enough.”

Hiring Is The Most Important People Activity

Every single person you hire should be above average. Some of that has to do with how much you pay employees. If money does not matter, every baseball team would have a 3% chance of winning the World Series. That is just not the case. Some teams can attract and retain better players. Some teams can pay higher salaries. Other teams have fantastic farm systems. But the teams at the top all have a system for hiring, recruiting, or drafting the best people. If you hire correctly on the front end, the work will be easier at the back end. 

Pay Unfairly

Bock makes the case that it is okay to pay two people completely different amounts for doing the same job. Your best people are better than you think and worth more than you are paying them. Stop trying to be fair. Most companies design compensation systems that encourage the best performers and those with the most potential to quit. According to Bock, “Fairness is when pay is commensurate with a contribution. As a result, there ought to be tremendous variance in pay for individuals.” The reason you are losing your best employees might be because you are paying them like you pay your worst employees. 

If you have any responsibilities for hiring or managing employees, I highly recommend this book. Every organization wants to recruit and retain the best people possible. This book will offer you significant insight into how to do that.


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