How Google Turned Around Management Resistance

How Google Turned Around Management Resistance


Google is an awesome company that many entrepreneurs want to model their own businesses on. But would you believe the company was once highly resistant to and disdainful of management?

The company has an engineering driven culture, one of analytics and reasoning, and data evidence. So they used a data-driven approach to HR to convince their ranks that management mattered.

David Garvin, professor at Harvard Business School explains their strategy in three steps.

Step 1: Unfreeze

Google tackled the company status quo that management didn’t matter by rigorously analysing and comparing highly rated versus poorly rated managers to evaluate differences in team satisfaction, performance and individual turnover. Through double-blind interviews they proved to engineers that good managers make a big difference.

Step 2: Organisational practices

Google then changed their feedback surveys to mirror traits discovered in their research, developed training, and worked with leading thinking managers to convince and demonstrate these things mattered.

Step 3: Re-freezing

This is the process of institutionalising changes. Google took best practices and turned them into award systems and performance reviews. They got to the point where people became much more promotable based on their enhanced traits.

Related: 16 Lessons in Transforming Culture

Tracy Lee Nicol
Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.