Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Freedom Inc

I believe this is a good book (or at least I believe in the idea), but sadly it under-delivered by throwing too many elements which make up Freedom Inc. (you know you wanted to create Freedom Inc., yet there are too many ideas and lessons being thrown around). Like most books, at least it has some good case studies.

Freedom Inc. - Free your Employees and Let Them Lead Your Business to Higher Productivity, Profits and Growth. It might seems like a "dangerous" idea to toy with, believing that your employee are motivated and responsible enough to act in the best interest of the company without the need of tight supervision or told exactly what to do, but I believe that's the fundamental trust between employee and employer. Once you establish the trust and freedom culture, everyone start to take responsibility to make the company better, and self-govern among themselves, and the entire eco-system would prosper.


  • Management for the 3%: born of policies to control a small bunch and inconvenient the rest.
  • Toyota: allow feedback to improve existing procedures; not push down by management.
  • Believe in people willingness to do good job and to learn.
  • "How" company are fundamentally hostile environments for the ideas proposed by the front-line people.
  • Culture eat strategy for breakfast: you can have the best plan and the culture isn't going to let it happen, it's going to die ...
  • The cost of stress
  • Perceived control reduced stress
  • From Artisan to Automation
  • The experiment of 5 monkey and a Banana - the way corporate cultures are being sustained and eventually squash all attempts at change.
  • Entrepreneurial Culture -> Real Manager Required -> Discipline (procedure & policies)
  • Change start from top -> Anubi Baboom
  • Freedom is neither hierarchy or anarchy
  • Ordered Liberty: self discipline form of organization
  • Rather than saying "you're supposed to use new oak barrel", you ask, "how to make the best wine?"
  • Zappos: after 4 weeks paid training, offer compensation for people to quit, to ensure people really share Zappos' vision.
  • Vision is more often something to be put on the walls, pasted into annual report and otherwise forgotten.
  • People start owning the company's vision only when they are free to make their own decision to pursuit it.
  • If the environment is right, then we do the product right and we make tons of money and have a blast. You can't force making money and have a blast.
  • Freedom: it's culture and condition to make decision on your own, and freedom to express your art, craft and passion.
  • People don't resist change, they resist being changed.
  • Discuss in a town hall style meeting.
  • Organization chart isn't very useful.
  • Natural work group: get the right people come together, to the right work, and do it right.
  • We are here to make products, good products, not hours.
  • We'll learn by doing, being people of good faith, of common sense, and of good will.
  • Does your company organization chart shows that man is not intelligent, lazy, irresponsible, are thieves and bad?
  • The good prince is one who, by eliminating the constraints and exclusiveness, allows everyone to blossoms as he wishes.
  • Front-line people set the procedures.
  • Once you wakup everyday, you're at risk. There is only one state with zero risk, and it happens when you're dead. Talk about "love freedom" with risk "or die".
  • Change CEO's behavior from talking to listening, removing bureaucratic symbol and practices that treat people as intrinsically inferior, and radically transforming managers' "how" habits into "why" questions.
  • Self governance.
  • People treated with consideration, support for growth and self direction, they self-motivate and take initiatives.
  • When environment is controlling and deprives people of their universal needs, motivation become externally controlled and people do only what they are rewarded or punished for.
  • Octicon Culture:
    • Multi-job
    • No department, replaced by project leader, guru to ensure professional standard, mentors to support. No more job title.
    • Computer System: allow work from anywhere.
    • No wall or partitions, replaced by plants and trees on wheel.
  • Employee want to be treated as independent individual who are willing to take responsibility.
  • Employee want to develop within their jobs and gain new experience, exciting and challenging tasks are more important than status and titles.
  • Employee desires as much freedom as possible, yet accept the necessity of a clear and structured framework.
  • The more freedom ... we as a company want to give to staff, the more clarity we must create about mission, vision, strategy and values.
  • When people are promised freedom but then being denied it, reacted more strongly than those who has no expectation of freedom.
  • If he wanted to build a free environment, he had to transform the executives' arrogant attitude towards Aviss front-line person - get them to become trainee.
  • Self motivation and freedom to act as if this is your own company.
  • Personal & fair, de-bureaucratizing and re-humanizing.
  • Illusion of Control: People will game the system.
  • Fairness & Respect.
  • Make more mistakes than anyone else, but never make the same mistake twice.
  • The genuine commitment to satisfying people's needs is what convinced employees to join in.

No comments: