Green Pages, Inc. hereinafter referred to as GP is a dynamic organization that most closely fits the socio technical model put forth by Trust (1963) and Rice (1963) of the Tavis Institute. GP was created by Kurt Blieken in 1992 to be as he put it the most elegant company in existence today. Starting with a blank piece of paper Kurt Blieken crafted a mission statement (attachment A) that served as the underpinnings and catalyst to create an organizational structure that balanced the complex technical systems with a social and economic system which serves as a model to the computer industry today. GP is currently under going tremendous growth of over 100% annually which creates a turbulent environment and tests the organization structure GP was founded on. It is the belief of Kurt Blieken as well as those of us whom work at GP that this unique corporate structure can not only be retained but thrive as the organization scales to new heights.
In order to understand the goals and challenges facing GP it is useful to utilize Weisbord’s Six-Box Model to analyse the organizational structure. GP was formed with two purposes in mind. The first was to create the best place to work in the country. The cornerstone of this purpose is a value system which is the very heart of our corporate culture. This value system is as follows: ? The company’s most valuable asset is its corporate culture.
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The basis of the culture is cheering at another’s success, helping out when a teammate needs a hand and being generous with praise. GP culture is so important that people who cannot or will not embrace it fully will not be allowed to stay. ? GP was designed from the ground up to meet the needs of our customers. We continuously change and improve ourselves and our systems to meet new needs.
? Every job in the company is critically important. We hire good people, then give the tools and the training to be outstanding. We are always striving for perfect execution of everything we do. ? It’s OK to make a mistake. Since we hire good people, a mistake is just that, a mistake.
If many mistakes occur it is the system which needs to be corrected. Following this policy can be difficult but it leads to a wonderful lack of finger pointing and back covering. GP culture encourages new ideas and risk taking. Policies are initiated with the participation and input of the people doing the work. Everyone has to “buy in” to these policies.
Once policy is set, violation of that policy is unacceptable. ? The team structure provides the depth and flexibility to adapt quickly to change. This gives GP a huge advantage over their competitors which is demonstrated by the sales per employee of over 2. 5 million dollars annually. This amount is over 3 times that of the industry average and is a demonstration of efficiency throughout the organization. The team structure makes this possible by allowing the “flattest” possible corporate structure.
? Employees, vendors and customers are treated with honesty, respect and fairness. Every employee is responsible for living up to this standard. It starts with how employees treat one another inside GP and extends to everyone GP comes in contact with. Violation of these standards by an employee or customer is not tolerated. If a customer promises “the check is in the mail” for instance and it never arrives on multiple occur ances then GP will walk away and not do business with that customer even if it is profitable to do so. By having the highest level of integrity and demanding the same from GP customers and employees will allow the company to continue to grow at its current rate.
... is based on the relationship between customer and employee satisfaction. For example, when customers are generally satisfied, employees are at least equally satisfied. When ... , our recognition, reward, and advancement structures took the biggest hits. We will continue to offer employee incentives through the SSE Plan, but ...
? Every GP employee is a stakeholder owning stock in the company. Every employee at GP wants it to be the best place to work in the country. For this to be possible in each succeeding year GP must become more innovative, more profitable, more flexible and more energetic. While at the same time Gp must hold tight to its core values.
The second purpose which provides the capital and revenue growth to achieve the first purpose is to facilitate the acquisition of technology on behalf of GP customers. GP does this by utilizing a large technical infrastructure with direct WAN (wide area network) links to every large computer distributor and manufacturer in the United States and Canada. GP customers can make one call to their sales broker (a GP employee) and have instantaneous access to over 100, 000 computer software and hardware products. Moreover, as a result of being on-line and in real-time with the major distributors and manufacturers GP can provide pricing and availability on the spot.
Additionally GP can ship from over 400 warehouses throughout North America to insure the most expedient delivery of the product ordered. In order to understand the unique organizational structure please refer to the attached org chart. Physically the building that GP has four floors. Each floor has two sales teams. Additionally support teams including purchasing, credit, training, technical support & MIS (information systems) are dispersed among the four floors. There are some virtual teams or teams that don’t physically exist on any one floor but are comprised of various members of other teams who meet for a specific function.
Some examples of virtual teams include the SST or senior support team that has the responsibility to strategically manage GP. Task forces are the policy setting teams at GP and are comprised of employees who would like to participate or who are affected by the proposed policy. Every employee of GP is required to participate in at least one task force a year. Some examples of recent task forces include, compensation task force, new building and relocation task force, competitive task force, maternity task force, credit task force, as well as many others.
... issue from both sides of the coin, as an employee and a customer. I know that sometimes when a worker treats someone ... when I am on the customer point of view; I try to look at things through the employees eyes. A great solution ... today. When an employee gets a job at a restaurant these days, they are trained to treat each customer special and to ...
Each team has a team leader whose responsibilities include housekeeping chores like keeping track of sick and vacation time or facilitating dispute resolution within the team. Each floor has a coach who has more authority than the team leader and reports directly to the SST. Coaches review individual performance of each team member periodically and help facilitate resolution of interdepartmental disputes. Maintaining healthy positive relationships is paramount in making GP a great place to work. GP culture frowns heavily on gossip and / or derogatory statements made by one employee to or about another both internally or externally. GP has gone to great lengths to provide the proper context for healthy communication to occur.
GP has instituted straight talk and listening for the positive intent, which every one in the company is trained on how to use is expected to utilize while having a dialogue with another employee or customer. A description of straight talk is as follows: 1. Ensure that you know their commitments (to their job, to the outcome) 2. State you commitment / positive intention (it must be aligned with or include theirs).
3. “This is what I saw / heard …
.” 4. “My interpretation was… .” 5. “What was going on for you?” (Curiosity).
6. Dialogue until you have a shared understanding.
7. Offer support, make requests, hold accountable… 8. Get their commitment to specific actions, dates. Equally important is listening for the positive intent.
Usually when a breakdown occurs in communication or job function it is not because the employee does not care or is in some way. In most instances there is an underlying good intention in negative behavior. Listening for the positive intent in any communication can often lead to a mutually acceptable resolution. GP suggests to its employees the following: 1. Match emotional intensity 2.
Lead to a positive intent “It sounds like you really want… .” 3. Lead to an expanded, mutual outcome “What would having that do for you?” 4. State your commitment to the mutual outcome 5. Agree on actions The reward system at GP is very unique. GP exists as an organization that doesn’t manufacture a product, warehouse a product or perform research and development.
... Employee satisfaction translates into customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction means repeated business. Repeated business equals more sales ... respond, we are able to seek positive solutions without blaming others or feeling ... space, materials, spare parts, instructions, support systems, co-operation form others, or ... to develop motivated, winning teams.Winning teams are comprised of individuals who ...
The value that GP brings its customers is the ability to match customer needs with a distributor or manufacturer who has the product to fulfill that need and GP makes a margin for performing this service. Therefore everybody in the company is either a sales person with direct customer contact or supports the sales person and who’s success is directly related to the revenue produced in servicing the customers needs. All sales people are on 100% commission so they are highly motivated to work hard and generate sales. The support personal earn 75% of their pay in the form of a salary and the balance is tied directly to the success of the sales team the employee supports.
The company recognizes monthly the top sales people in each of several categories including highest revenue, most new customers, etc. Each sales team votes to recognize one support person per team that they felt performed above and beyond. Additionally, the company sets an annual threshold for Presidents Club which is typically the top 10% of all sales people in the company. As a Presidents Club member the employee is recognized for an entire year and a special week retreat with pay is provided to those top employees. Leadership at GP is provided by the SST or senior support team.
The SST is comprised of the President and his wife Kurt and Janet Blieken.