Isaac Getz is an author,
speaker, senior advisor and currently holds the post of Professor at ESCP Business School. He specializes in the areas of leadership and organizational transformation. Getz is the co-author of the award-winning international best-seller Freedom, Inc. (2009) with Brian Carney, which has been translated into fifteen languages. He is also author of the award-winning Liberated Company (2017), co-author of Leadership without Ego (2019) with Bob Davids and Brian Carney and co-author of The Altruistic Enterprise (2019) with Laurent Marbacher. He is a columnist in Harvard Business Review France and Le Monde. Getz’s work has been instrumental in the rise of the corporate liberation movement in Europe and Canada. Since 2012, hundreds of companies and institutions have transformed their command-and-control organizations into freedom-and responsibility-based ones. Major adoptees include Michelin, Airbus, Decathlon, EDF, the French Social Security, and several Belgian ministries and French municipalities. A study by the French National Foundation for Management Education on the world’s most influential living management authors ranked Getz at N°4 and LinkedIn ranked Isaac in their Top 25 Influencers in France. Getz recently spoke to The Innovator about how to build a radically different organization that allows .
Q: How do you create a company culture that allows everyone to
IG:. Every company has a culture, even toxic. The definition of culture is a set of norms shared by the majority. If it is sabotaging
is your culture. If your employees have fun , this too is a culture I studied technology company freedom of initiative. One of the executives said hewould come every evening, not say hello to his go to basement and spend two hours reading comic strips because he needed to get rid of the anger he felt at work every day. When he interviewed at , he told me that when he walked through the premises, he felt serenity and quietness shock differen from his workplaceh tension and conflict. .
Company culture is . You need to
Q: Why do so many companies make their employees miserable and stifle innovation?
IG: They inherited
organizational environment hierarchical bureaucracy. It was great 2000 employees 250 different types of job to perform because it enabled economy of scale, generating unheard of degrees of wealth for the first time in history. became outdated by around 2005 because it is not natural and the stifl. It creates Charlie Chaplins of Modern Times their brain because thinking dangerous. For example, one of the largest consulting companies in the world hired a former U.S. Air Force pilot with a Harvard MBA as a junior consultant . He had a idea for toll on highways that would revolutionize the way Americans drove to work. His manager told him ‘You were hired to chop wood, later you will tell us where the wood is.’ If a consulting company that sells innovation tells that to its people imagine what companies say to their employees. treasures insideCompanies the key. It Take the case of a company that installs under the ground. All throughout the city there were heavy metal lids that allowed workers access underground. They were all locked and somehow master key w lost. The cost of changing the was €750 per lid . . Then one employee found a drawing of the original key and replicated it by using a 3D printer for a cost of €37 euros per key, saving the company. When asked why he didn’t point out the 3D printing earlier the employee responded ‘No one asked me.’
Q: How can a company successfully transform?
IG: The only way to unlock the innovation inside a company is to radically the environment. The CEO is the only one who has the mandate
transform, not managersMany CEOs understand there is and innovation inside their they buy startups provide some innovation to their customers. It’s not just traditional companies in the car industry , Tell me something Google invented in-house in the last five years that made you say . They have become like Microsoft. Google exploits its legacy products to earn money to buy new cool stuff pending billions in R &D and on patents doesn’t work. There is no correlation between the volume spent onR&D or the number of patents on innovation results. The only thing that really moves the needle . It starts with the CEO let go of his ego. If you climbed the ladder and are the CEO you are supposed to be the most intelligent person in the company I.
Q: Can you cite some examples of companies that have managed to successfully liberate their organization and tap into the intelligence and innovation of their employees?
IG: Toyota Motor Manufacturing . Every operator is encouraged to implement
idea they have, whether it is a small improvement or a big innovation. Toyota even a idea will be implemented right away. ne case at a Toyota plant with mounting headlights on vehicles electrician that the system could work with just two. In the car industry if you can shave assembly time for only a few seconds it leads to huge savings. At other companies a suggestion like this might be passed up thebut would not be acted upon. At Toyota within one hour the idea was and immediately boughta ticket to go see the supplier in . The supplier met him at the railway station and aworked with him his idea in place. The new headlights started the next week. . If you want to become a –liberated company, which means a company based around freedom and responsibility , employeemust be able to take any action that decide is best. In such companies, successful leaderwho make themselves redundant. The create environment s in which their teams can on their own. There are probably only about 300-400 companies like this in the world. IDEO in Palo Alto, California is one. built an organizational environment that everyone, including the lady at the reception desk and the people that clean the offices, . Other companies that have adopted this approach include Michelin, some Airbus plants and Decathlon.
Q: What advice do you have for companies?
IG: Unlock initiative. Employees share ideas for how to improve at a company with friends over beer after work or with family but not with their boss or colleagues. Why? trust their intelligence. They are never asked what they think so they conclude they are dumb. Instead of infantilizing employees,
them, turning them into responsible adults your company.
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