8 April 2011 Leave a comment
Google, the great innovator, have given us a great insight into how to use solution focused thinking. They saw that their best managers have teams that perform better, are retained better, and are happier. Essentially, these managers do everything better. The question Google asked was: what makes them that good? And how do you do it?”
In early 2009, Google embarked on a plan code-named Project Oxygen. What they wanted was to find a way to build better bosses. So they gathered more than 10,000 observations about managers — across more than 100 variables, from various performance reviews, feedback surveys and other reports. Then they spent time coding the comments in order to look for patterns. Once they had some working theories, they figured out a system for interviewing managers to gather more data and found results of what makes a good manager.
Google started teaching the results in training programs, as well as in coaching and performance review sessions with individual employees. It paid off quickly. They had a statistically significant improvement in manager quality for 75 percent of their worst-performing managers.
What makes this solution focused is that it started from what was working and looked at how to do it and then learnt from this. The traditional way of understanding management in Google was that they’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, managers need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for them. So when there were problems they gave them more training in technical skill. The results of Project Oxygen surprised Google.
It turns out that that’s [technical skill is] absolutely the least important thing… Much more important is just making that connection and being accessible – Mr Bock, Google.
Google were struck by the simplicity of the rules, and the fact that anyone can apply them. And for anyone interested in learning about how to make teams work better can learn a lot from this research. While it is not new as it has confirmed what other research has shown, it shows that a solution focused approach works.
So everyone in the Lib Dems should take note and learn from this work as it may help improve internal workings of the party and local campaigns.