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Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson's picture

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Best Buy Co, Inc. has gone backwards in time, following the footsteps of Yahoo! and demanding all hands on deck. We're certain that other organizations are going to stumble backwards as well over the next few weeks. When we heard the news, we weren't surprised; as new management came on board over the past few years - management that obviously favors managing schedules over managing performance - the stronghold of outdated thinking became the weed that choked the evolution of the most enviable, productive, attractive and globally-forward workforce of the future.

So we think it's unfortunate, if not downright silly, that Best Buy has made the decision to discontinue operating as a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) for corporate employees. They are sending a clear message that they are more concerned with having leadership excel at monitoring the hallways, rather than building a leadership team that excels at defining clear, measurable results, and holding people accountable for achieving those results. While we agree that Best Buy must take drastic measures to turn their business around, moving back to a 20th century, paternalistic 'command and control' environment is most certainly not the answer. It's our hope that the Best Buy leadership team quickly recognizes that the managed-flexibility game is old news, and that organizations who will win in the 21st century will learn how to effectively manage the work, not the people. In fact, any so-called leadership team can effectively get 'all hands on deck', dictate hours and delegate tasks, while their people brag about how many hours they put in 'at the office'. That's easy. But only true leadership has the ability to get 'everyone on point' with a workforce vs. a workplace that's fluid, nimble and focused on what matters: measurable results.

That's why we wrote our recently-released book Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It. Managing work, not people isn't easy.  So our book is full of tips to help managers move forward, not backward. Perhaps Mr. Joly should pick up a copy.

Frankly, whenever we read things like "It makes sense to consider not just what the results are but how the work gets done. Bottom line, it's 'all hands on deck' at Best Buy and that means having employees in the office as much as possible to collaborate and connect on ways to improve our business" we just shake our heads and laugh. Sorry. That doesn't make sense to anyone.

What's your take? Are you a Best Buy employee? Get the discussion started in the comments below. We want to hear what you think!

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