"The Google Way," by Bernard Girard
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin adapted a nontraditional form of management and built their enterprise around the needs of their consumers and employees; by doing so, Page and Brin created one of the most successful enterprises of all time in a decade. Bernard Girard explores Google's innovative rise to success in his book The Google Way: How one company is revolutionizing management as we know it. Girard highlights the unusual approach to management that Page and Brin apply and how exactly it benefits the structure of their company.
Page and Brin rejected conventional methods of management authority and chose to implement a triumvirate as top management; instead of having one CEO, Google has three. This unusual form of management is just one of many ways Google varies from other major enterprises, such as Microsoft. Page and Brin brought in Eric Schmidt, an expert in strategic planning and management, to serve next to them at the top of their company. A triumvirate provides Google with many benefits, one of which is a speedy reversal of errors. By having three equal powers heading the company, no one CEO is afraid of correcting his decisions because he has two people standing next to him. A triumvirate also ensures that an array of viewpoints are present at the top of the company, which offers an assurance to investors and consumers that someone understands their needs and concerns. The distribution of power at the top of Google mirrors the checks and balances within our own government; the three CEOs keep ideas and egos in balance.
Apart from a triumvirate, Page and Brin also focus on their employees-a lot. Google has never spent a cent on advertising, but it has spent an abundance of time and resources on recruiting and hiring. Google founded its company on the premise of only hiring the best. Therefore, Google employs a large amount of people to do the hiring; 1 out of 14 employees were dedicated to recruitment in 2005. This rigorous hiring process usually spans across multiple interviews and months. Once they have hired the best, Google spares no expense to make sure that they are satisfied at their jobs. Apart from all of the rumored benefits-pools, indoor workout facilities, massages- Google offers its employees something much more valuable: time. Google makes sure that 20% of each employee's time is spent on personal research of their own desire. This strategy offers many advantages, one of which is that it leads to an emergence of new products. It also is a form of intrinsic motivation that helps employees seek satisfaction and retain independence in their job.
Google concentrates on keeping employee teams small, with the average team consisting of three to five people. By doing this they ensure that no employee can freeload and the individual managers, usually one per seven employees, have full knowledge of what is going on. This small approach to a large company allows many different projects to occur simultaneously. As a way of uniting the entire company Google has MOMA, an extremely complex intranet system. MOMA keeps all employees in contact and updated on the latest company endeavors. After it acquiried the company Blogger, Google has encouraged employees to keep blogs that share project ideas or updates with the entire company.
Google offers an extremely innovative and hands-on approach to the management aspect of its business. The company forgoes the usual protocols and instead uses a form of management that suits the company, even if it goes against convention. But, just because the use of a triumvirate fits Google's objectives does not mean that it would be successful if it were applied to any other enterprise. Three CEO's present the possibility of co-workers turning on each other or one person desiring more power. A company must be very stable for such a unique management situation to prosper and a triumvirate would likely fail in any new company. One element of Google's management that reflected ideas studied in class was that of company-wide quality control, similar to the one Toyota implemented. Google uses regular peer-reviews to serve as quality control for the entire company. Because employees are constantly being critiqued by their fellow colleagues, the level of quality always remains high.
I would definitely recommend The Google Way: How one company is revolutionizing management as we know it to a fellow PR student because it highlights an unconventional form of management while educating the reader about the technological aspects behind of one of the most prevalent components of the Internet: the search engine. Page and Brin have solid reasoning behind every nontraditional decision they have made when it comes to running their company and their success alone is motivation enough to read the book. Girard did a very thorough job of breaking down and defining standard industry language so that the average reader could quickly understand complex Internet concepts or business models. In an age where Google is so dominant, the knowledge of the inner-workings of the company can be nothing but beneficial.
- The Google Way: A Book Review (And a Chance to Win!) (Linsey Knerl , Wise Bread, 9 June 2009)
- The Google Way: How One Company is Revolutionizing Management As We Know It (James Pyles, A Million Chimpanzees, 13 May 2009)
- Book Review: The Google Way by Bernard Girard (Loyd E. Eskildson, , 29 May 2009)
- Review of The Google Way (Dru, Toolbox for IT, 27 May 2009)
- The Google Way (James Pyles, Google Blogscoped, 14 May 2009)
- The Google Way: How One Company is Revolutionizing Management As We Know It (Berislav Kucan, Help Net Security, 15 July 2009)
- "The Google Way," by Bernard Girard (Jacquelyn Daane, Management Book Reviews, 2009. 04. 12.)