Thursday, January 26, 2006

Google's way

Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, has written an article giving 10 golden rules that Google will live by. One of those rules is:

"Strive to reach consensus. Modern corporate mythology has the unique decision maker as hero. We adhere to the view that the "many are smarter than the few," and solicit a broad base of views before reaching any decision. At Google, the role of the manager is that of an aggregator of viewpoints, not the dictator of decisions [emphasis mine]. Building a consensus sometimes takes longer, but always produces a more committed team and better decisions."

Schmidt has got the right attitude, obviously. But unfortunately, attitudes can change, and often do. And attitudes change most under the heat of battle - as the Tenerife and Shuttle disasters show. You might be willing to take consensus along the way, but under pressure, you succumb to the temptation of dictatorship behaviour.

Hence, as I've stressed earlier, the system needs to change. Individuals come and go, and attitudes come and go - so it's the system that's got to work properly.

(You can read Schmid's full article at