Posts Tagged ‘virtual’

How Ideas Spread – Insight from ROWE Movement

April 29, 2010 1 comment


Results-Only Work EnvironmentI’ve been following the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) movement for a couple of years.  This workplace philosophy is based on holding associates accountable to results, not to how they achieve those results.  It’s not about creating a virtual work team, but about no longer equating the amount of time a person is at their desk with the actual results they produce.

  • Some people are more productive in a home office
  • Others get the most done at 6 AM in the office when things are quiet
  • Still others wake in the middle of the night with brilliant thoughts they can move forward with

I wouldn’t characterize the spread of ROWE as viral (see original post).  Still, I thought it would be interesting to see how it has been successful in breaking through organizational barriers.  Most recently, ROWE has grabbed governmental attention with a ROWE implementation to take place in the U.S. Office of Personnel Mgmt – creating an opportunity to shape national policy in the future.

Michael Barata - ROWE Zealot

I was fortunate to meet Michael Barata who is a “ROWE Zealot” now getting paid to spread this movement – a dream come true since as he believes it to be the future of work.  I spent a dynamic hour on the phone with Michael laughing and enjoying exploring the characteristics of this movement together.  Following are the key findings from this inspiring conversation about what helps and hinders the spread of  ROWE.

Facilitates Spread:

  • Everyday people are passionate about ROWE – staff level are most common followers.
  • It affects their very lives and livelihood.
  • Spread happens when leaders become interested in something other than the status quo.
  • Adoption of  is not limited to a common set of organizations (mid to small, non-profit, Best Buy, Government, technology).
  • It’s optional.
    • “If you start forcing [ROWE] upon people it can be just as toxic as the current status quo – it just becomes the new status quo.” – Mike Barata
  • Social media (access to information, people, and stories) helps build courage in people who want to make change happen.
  • People find out about it from other followers (in addition to the founders and leaders of the movement) – see How to Start a Movement….
  • Success stories are a powerful way to spread the movement (especially when coupled with social media).

Barriers to Spread:

  • Organizational policies (& even labor laws) do pose a significant barrier that must be broken down.
    • “Many of the beliefs people carry aren’t really their own, it’s what they’ve come to believe by others.” – Mike Barata
  • Opponents who are as loud or louder than supporters (regardless of how logical or illogical the argument)
  • Key stakeholders who don’t buy-in.
  • Some people never really realize that just because something is different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
    • Classic change management principle.
  • When people aren’t willing to stick-it-out through the challenges … there WILL be challenges.
  • The more people & processes required to change in order to spread the idea, the more barriers there likely will be.
    • It’s much simpler to spread ideas that only require individuals to do something (ex: reusable grocery bags).

Find out More about ROWE:

Categories: Idea Spread Tags: , , ,