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06 May 2006

Inspirational management

I started learning management techniques at Digital. Run by Ken Olsen, in 1986 Fortune Magazine named him the "most successful entrepreneur in the history of American business". The following quotes from that article are especially relevant:
"(Ken was) someone who believed in employees. The culture he created at DEC was one of employee recognition and empowerment, innovation, customer focus, total quality management, employee and company loyalty, frugality, family and work balance, and integrity. Moreover, Olsen regularly had coffee with his production-line employees, drove an older model car and provided no privileged parking for executives...

Companies such as Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard have all benefited and grown out of the leadership, principles and success of Ken Olsen and DEC."

DEC may have run aground on the twin icebergs of Unix and the PC, but I was interested to read John’s Little Book of Useful Principles. John Harper who worked in the same group as me at DEC.

I recall the interesting and inspirational talks by Jac Simensen and still believe this today:
"Get the right people doing the things they’re good at, and then let them get on with it."
I also like the quote
"It is easier to obtain forgiveness than permission".
This quote is relevant for Google and employees devoting 20% of their time to their own projects, for which no permission is required.

It is a mark of a great leader that more than 20 years on, people still quote you and praise your principles.

Something to think about for the leaders of today, and tomorrow.

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