Gather round the campfire boys and girls.. I know you just got back from the Great Places to Work conference and are stoked to put some of the ideas in play - I'm excited about that too...
But before you go there, I need to give you one piece of important guidance. The leaders of the company, VP level and above, are going to be held accountable by a different set of rules. You see, we don't care as much about how they feel, because when we care about that, they give us reasons why things are the way they are.
We don't pay them to give us reasons. We pay them to get stuff done without regard to "reasons". From a coming article at Fortune:
"Steve Jobs gives employees a little speech when they're promoted to Vice President at Apple, according to Adam Lashinsky in a new article in Fortune that's not online yet. Lashinsky calls it the "Difference Between the Janitor and the Vice President."
Jobs tells the VP that if the garbage in his office is not being emptied regularly for some reason, he would ask the janitor what the problem is. The janitor could reasonably respond by saying, "Well, the lock on the door was changed, and I couldn't get a key." An irritation for Jobs, for an understandable excuse for why the janitor couldn't do his job. As a janitor, he's allowed to have excuses.
"When you're the janitor, reasons matter," Jobs tells newly minted VPs, according to Lashinsky. "Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering," says Jobs, adding, that Rubicon is "crossed when you become a VP."
Here's something else you need to know. When they give us reasons after the CEO gives them this speech, it can get ugly. More from Business Insider:
"In response to the MobileMe flop, Steve Jobs assembled the team that worked on the service and chewed them out, according to Adam Lashinsky at Fortune, who has a big story on Apple, available only on newsstands or the iPad right now.*
He gathered the troops at the auditorium Apple uses on its campus to do demos of small products for the press.
He asked the team what MobileMe was supposed to do. Someone answered, and Jobs said to that person (and everyone else), "So why the f##@ doesn't it do that?"
Right there and then he named a new executive to run the MobileMe service."
You read that right - "So why the #@#@ doesn't it do that?" That's how it plays out at the VP level and above. Reasons are for the other people.
So let's roll out your stuff to make this a Great Place to Work. Just remember, when you have a VP or higher level person come to you talking about how the company is talking from both sides of its mouth, he's probably giving reasons and is scared he's going down. He's grabbing at what he can find.
You'd be wise not to get in the middle of that.