Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead - Book Notes

by Zelia Leong

by Laszlo Bock

Published: 2015

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead - Book Notes

Who is Laszlo Bock?

Laszlo Bock is the co-founder and CEO of Humu. He was formerly the Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, Inc.

What This Book Is About:

Google receives over 1,500,000 unique applications for jobs every year. This book shows you why. Including how to learn from your best employees - and your worst, why you should only hire people who are smarter than you are, and why you should pay unfairly (it's fairer!).

Buy the book on Amazon

WORK RULES (or tl;dr version):

  1. Give your work meaning.
  2. Trust your people.
  3. Hire only people who are better than you.
  4. Don't confuse development with managing performance.
  5. Focus on the two tails.
  6. Be frugal and generous.
  7. Pay unfairly.
  8. Nudge.
  9. Manage the rising expectations.
  10. Enjoy! And then go back to No. 1 and start again.

Notes

Chapter 1: Becoming a Founder

  • People want their work to be meaningful, and there's a shortage of such work in the world.
  • Employee ownership contributes significantly to a company's success, and it happens when companies leave space for employees to act like a founder and owner.
  • Have a workplace where employees can contribute and grow, and rewarded for their contributions.
  • Recognising and rewarding work was also key to the success of companies like Ford and Hershey's.

Chapter 2: Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

  • A company's mission that gives individuals' work meaning has a moral rather than a business goal.
  • Having purpose in your work improves both happiness and productivity. Think of your work as calling, with a mission that matters.
  • Having workers meet the people they are helping is the greatest motivator.
  • Give people slightly more trust, freedom, and authority than you are comfortable giving them. If you're not nervous, you haven't given them enough.

Chapter 3: Lake Wobegon, Where All the New Hires Are Above Average

  • Seek out candidates who had shown resilience and an ability to overcome hardship.
  • Given limited resources, invest your HR dollars first in recruiting.
  • Don't hire exclusively for smarts. It's about finding the very best people who will be successful in the context of your organisation, and who will make everyone around them more successful.
  • Hire only the best by taking your time, hiring only people who are better than you in some meaningful way
  • Don't let managers make hiring decisions for their own teams.

Chapter 4: Searching for the Best

  • A small company can't afford to hire someone who turns out to be awful - the goal of recruitment should be to have no employees you want to get rid of.
  • Get the best referrals by being excruciatingly specific in describing what you're looking for.
  • Make recruiting part of everyone's job.
  • Set up a stringent hiring bar with exhaustive focus on recruiting.
  • Don't be afraid to try crazy things to get the attention of the best people.

Chapter 5: Don't Trust Your Gut

  • Set a high bar for quality.
  • Find your own candidates.
  • Assess candidates objectively.
  • Give candidates a reason to join.
  • Don't give in to the pressure and fight for quality.
  • Look for themes across the people you hired and didn't, and find distinct attributes that can predict whether someone would be successful at your company. Then interview for those attributes.

Chapter 6: Let the Inmates Run the Asylum

  • Achieve mass empowerment by eliminating status symbols.
  • Make decisions based on data, not based on managers' opinions.
  • Find ways for people to shape their work and the company.
  • Expect a lot.

Chapter 7: Why Everyone Hates Performance Management

  • Set goals correctly.
  • Gather peer feedback.
  • Be aware of cognitive biases and use a calibration process to finalise ratings.
  • Split rewards conversations from development conversations, as smart employees who's been through a few sessions can learn how to game the conversations in order to increase their rewards.

Chapter 8: The Two Tails

  • Help those in need - employees who are underperforming.
  • Put your best people under a microscope.
  • Use surveys and checklists to find the trust and nudge people to improve.
  • Set a personal example by sharing and acting on your own feedback.

Chapter 9: Building A Learning Institution

  • Engage in deliberate practice: Break lessons down into small, digestible pieces with clear feedback and do them again and again.
  • Have your best people teach.
  • Invest only in courses that you can prove changes people's behavior.

Chapter 10: Pay Unfairly

  • Make it easy to spread the love. Google uses an internal recognition tool that allows employees to award each other with kudos and peer bonuses.
  • Swallow hard and pa unfairly. Have wide variations in pay that reflect the power law distribution of performance.
  • Celebrate accomplishment, not compensation.
  • Make it easy to spread the love. Google uses an internal recognition tool that allows employees to award each other with kudos and peer bonuses.
  • Reward thoughtful failure.

Chapter 11: The Best Things in Life Are Free (or Almost Free)

  • Make life easier for employees to increase efficiency, community, and innovation.
  • Find ways to say yes.
  • The bad stuff in life happens rarely...be there for your people when it does.

Chapter 12: Nudge...a Lot

  • Recognise the difference between what is and what ought to be.
  • Run lots of small experiments.
  • Nudge, don't shove.

Chapter 13: It's Not All Rainbows And Unicorns

  • When your screw up, admit your mistake. Be transparent about it
  • Take counsel from all directions.
  • Fix whatever broke.
  • Find the moral in the mistake, and teach it.

Chapter 14: What You Can Do Starting Tomorrow

WORK RULES

  1. Give your work meaning.
  2. Trust your people.
  3. Hire only people who are better than you.
  4. Don't confuse development with managing performance.
  5. Focus on the two tails.
  6. Be frugal and generous.
  7. Pay unfairly.
  8. Nudge.
  9. Manage the rising expectations.
  10. Enjoy! And then go back to No. 1 and start again.

This book also has a great afterward 'For HR Geeks Only'.

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Till the next one, Zelia

Co-founder of RewardNation