By Laszlo Bock
Work Rules! is a great book, however, I honestly had a hard time getting through it. All totaled it took me over a month to finish. In fact, I read several other books during that period of time. I would put it down, find another book of interest, read it, and then make my way back to Work Rules! a few days later. But here’s the odd things about it…I never once read Work Rules! without writing something of interest down in my notes. Most of the time I would spend more time writing down quotes, leadership principles, and stories than reading. But don’t let this dichotomy distract you from my central point: This book is loaded with valuable concepts for any leader!
Laszlo Bock is the former Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google. Bock and his colleagues labored for years to maintain Google’s culture as its workforce grew exponentially each year. By using extensive scientific research, experimentation, and feedback from Googlers and Nooglers (new employees), they were able to make Google one of the best places to work in America several times over.
Bock details the principles used by Google’s People Operations with regard to hiring, firing, evaluations, salaries, bonuses, and much more. Beyond saying, “This is what we do…,” he takes you into the conference room of his team so the reader can better understand their motivation and reasoning for trying the things that they did. He honestly discusses the fact that they didn’t hit a home run every time they stepped to the plate. The struggles to manage the ever-changing landscape of employees showed how much of an experiment Google is in the realm of developing and maintaining a unique work culture.
The principles laid out in this book revolve around one central question: Do you believe that people are naturally good? It’s this question, and the subsequent answer of, “Yes” that motivated the People Operations team to give their employees a voice in their company, give them free food, a flexible work schedule, and time to pursue their own projects. Make no mistake, Work Rules! will challenge your preconceived notions of what leadership is and what work should look like. I loved the challenge. As a result of reading Work Rules! I’ve made considerable changes in how I lead, motivate, and interact with my players. And, by the way, the results have been astounding.