A Question to Those Who Have Been Working For Awhile

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This weekend I finshed one of my new favorite books, “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World”, by John Wood, founder of Room to Read. I loved the book because it has lessons for everyone in it, could be a perfect book for a collegiate entrepreneurship class. It also reminded me of the guys over at Pursue The Passion, because John Wood did exactly that.

There was one quote that kind of worried me about my current work situation. John writes, “As the company got bigger, there was less correlation between efforts and outcome.”

Is this really true working for bigger companies, or is this something not experienced at every big company?

If you have any thoughts about the quote I would love to hear your thoughts. You can post here or email me at organicleadership@gmail.com.

There were so many lessons I learned in this book and plan to have another post soon inspired from the book.

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5 comments so far

  1. Steve Roesler on

    Billy,

    That was my experience at a very large global company and prompted my return to my own business. The number of approvals, presentations, layers of management coordination, etc., meant that one would exhaust one’s self trying to get something good to happen.

    Then, if you were fortunate enough to get the ok, your idea or program might no longer be timely enough to address the original situation. It became impossible to have the sense that one could “make a difference.”

    That’s my two cents…

  2. Wally Bocki on

    I see this more of an issue of culture than size. I’ve seen small companies with a signficant disconnect between performance and rewards and large companies where they were tightly coupled. Regardless of the company culture, individual bosses make a huge difference for their people.

    The issue Steve addresses is valid, too. As companies get larger, meetings, policy manual pages, and review processes proliferate. As Warren Buffett says of running Berkshie Hathaway and all the companies they own: “It’s not hard work, but you can make it hard work.”

    Buffett has a total HQ staff of 19 whose main function is to do all the tax returns. “The reason we’re successful,” he says, “is that we don’t have committees.”

  3. Billy on

    Thanks Wally and Steve for helping me!

  4. Mark on

    Billy, I really agree that the bigger the organization, the more effort it takes to sustain it. You have heard me say that this is true in the church, and it is probably no different in the business world. While Walmart and others may have found more efficient ways to keep prices low, their outcomes are becoming more difficult to reach. Or so I hear.

    Write me back about books you want me to read. This one sounded kinda cool!

  5. ericboehme on

    Billy,

    I agree with Steve completely. When I worked for a company (well known telecommunication company), there were 3000 IT employees alone.

    I almost gave part of my soul for an outcome that I was passionate about it. Due to political factors beyond my control and my ignorance, my effort kept me chasing after the elusive outcome.

    Luckily the journey ended in two years, when I and my staff became part of workforce reduction. HR speak for a lay-off.

    This is a trend, I believe.


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