I know it’s old news so I’m sure you’ve heard about how Google employees get to spend 20% of their time on what ever they want. It’s not time to goof off, it’s actually working on a project that you either came up with yourself or that someone else came up with but you also find interesting.
I’ve just been thinking about that concept lately and how innovative and productive that would be. People always dream of being entrepreneurs and being their own boss, why not give them that thrill without all the risk and hassel of funding and other issues. For the most part, people want to do good, and they want the company they work for to do well. So if they can think of something that will benefit the company, or the group they work in, why not let them do it?
Being the boss and telling people what to do and how to do it assumes that you know more than the people you’ve hired. And if you believe that, then that means that your boss must know more than you. (Most everyone has a boss.) Now it may be true that high ranking executives or leaders are very smart and talented, but it is impossible that they are smarter in every area than every employee who works beneath them. Therefore, they ought to be harvesting the talent, skills, and knowledge of everyone in the company to make the company better, more profitable, gain more market share, have a better working environment, or whatever ‘better’ means to the company and the individuals.
And what better way to do that than to say, hey at least 20% of your time should be dedicated to improving things. I guess it really comes down to trust.
I suppose people may work on things that may not be such a good idea, but the value that is gained by the improved morale and company loyalty is worth it. Besides, there should probably be some kind of subjective evaluation to see if the effort is worthwhile. But it shouldn’t be too detailed, only enough to determine if it will cause major negative repercussions.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve decided I’m going to do if I’m ever in charge of a group of people.