Doing It The Wiki Way

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Gudrun Porath:
What about transparency when it comes to management level meetings and discussions? Is the principle just as rigorously applied here to include involvement of company employees?

Frank Roebers: All our meetings, even meetings on strategy, are prepared, conducted and documented on wiki. Management puts its proposed themes in the public spotlight. Employees can read these proposals on the wiki and leave their comments. During the meeting someone will take the minutes in real-time. The meeting is announced on Yammer (the in-house Twitter service) – “Meeting starting soon in conference room X”, with a wiki document link so that anyone who’s interested can follow the minutes on the fly and see how decisions are taken. These meetings normally take three hours. And in these three hours we can zip through an agenda that other companies couldn’t manage in a whole day. We can do this because all the spadework is done live on the wiki and many topics have been settled in advance as people make their positions on them known. In the meeting itself people can use instant messaging to make their voices heard and bring in their views like suggesting things they’d like to see changed.

Gudrun Porath:
Has this transparent management culture brought other advantages to your company?

Frank Roebers: Since we started to produce a relatively large amount of collaborative writing in the company, and since we made synaxon.de highly transparent, we’ve seen a tremendous improvement in the quality of our applicants. Up to 2004 we were a perfectly ordinary trading company and they never come out tops in the talent recruitment wars. But since we became transparent, we’ve been able to recruit leading scientists in fields like artificial intelligence and pattern recognition. And they tell us that what we have is exactly what they’ve always been looking for. 5 years ago we wouldn’t have had a hope of attracting them.

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When we introduced the wiki in 2006, we had an average fluctuation in staff of 40% per year. A complete disaster. Now we’re down to 5%.

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That’s really not enough for the dynamics, but it’s not something we’re actively seeking to change.



Who Is Leading WikiRevolutions?
(Don Tapscott)
About Leaders And Followers (Gunter Dueck)
Leadership In A Flat Organization (J.P. Rangaswami)
A Wake-up Call For Despots (Lee Bryant)

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1 Comment

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RalfLippold
Jan 20, 2012 22:49

Awesome! You can sense the passion Frank is transmitting in between the lines. Check out his video interviews that can be found on YouTube.

My passions – #LeanStartup #SemperoperBallett #OpenEducation

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