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5 Steps to Turn Your Small Business into a Results-Only Work Environment

building_gapPerhaps you’ve been thinking about modernizing your workplace and getting creative with employee benefits. Maybe you’re a small business owner looking for ways to attract and retain the best talent. If you’ve read Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson’s book, Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It, or you’ve followed the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) movement in the news, you might have wondered how in the world a traditional business makes the transition to ROWE.

I’m a trainer at CultureRx, and so my job is to go around the country helping a wide variety of organizations, from large corporations and creative agencies to government offices, implement a Results-Only Work Environment. But we hear a lot about small businesses or non-profits wanting to do ROWE training themselves. They might not have the resources to hire training consultants, and they feel comfortable in DIY mode.

So, I’ve put together this post with a step-by-step process for small businesses or teams who want to go ROWE. I hope you find it useful!

1. Order a copy of Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It for each employee.

Your team may not have the slightest idea what ROWE is. If that’s the case, a good first step is to get everyone on the same page. Why Work Sucks is the manifesto of the Results-Only Work Environment, written by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, the creators of ROWE. It’s a fast read, and will inspire and excite your employees. If your team loves their gadgets, you can order Kindle copies for everyone and get started immediately.

2. Analyze your culture.

You can do this first step in a few different ways. When I go into larger organizations or government offices, I always begin with a pre-culture survey to get a good baseline measurement of what the culture of a company is like. We do this through a basic survey in Survey Monkey. Smaller organizations might just do an informal survey of their employees, or a roundtable discussion, or perhaps a quick email or paper survey.

Our surveys include sections about Motivation, Health & Happiness, Environment & Expectations, and Culture Dichotomies. The main thing to remember when crafting your survey is that you want to gain insight on how managers and employees truly view the culture and priorities of the company. Do they see things the same way? Are there major disparities between managers and employees perspectives? This analysis will help you recognize weaknesses and strengths before you begin your ROWE training.

Download a PreROWE survey to get some ideas.

3. Join the ROWE Online Support Community (ROSC)

The ROWE Online Support Community is designed for functional teams and small businesses interested in implementing ROWE in their organizations and taking advantage of consulting and ongoing support from CultureRx. This online learning center allows small businesses, organizations, and departments to go ROWE by working through a series of exercises online and then getting ongoing training and support from the CultureRx team via e-learning, forums, webinars, and recording training modules. The monthly subscription cost is only $97 per person.

I like to encourage managers to subscribe to the ROSC. I find that managers get great value from the community, and then in turn can use what they learn to train their employees at their own pace.
Some of the features included in the ROSC membership are:

  • Complete ROWE migration modules
  • Unlimited online consulting from CultureRx
  • Peer to peer Q&A with other ROWE organizations
  • Exclusive HR resources for members

If you’re interested in joining the ROSC, check it out right here.

4. Set aside a week for virtual training

After you’ve gotten familiar with the ROSC and watched some of the training modules, set aside time for virtual training for your team. You may want to watch the training in a group, with a facilitator who understands the foundational concepts, and make time for group discussions after watching the modules. You could also have each staff person watch the modules on their own, and schedule a meeting or a day to discuss as a group.

Watch one training module per day. Schedule meetings with your employees to discuss the training, brainstorm about implementation, and get ideas from each individual about how ROWE will work in your organization.

5. Work through specific issues by posting in the community.

Even under the best of circumstances, your team will face some challenges as you transition to a Results-Only Work Environment. That’s where the ROSC really becomes necessary. As you face obstacles or questions about specific management techniques, the support community is there to help you. Post questions in the forums, and take time to answer questions that you might already have the answers to. CultureRx trainers regularly respond to your questions, and other experienced managers who have worked in a ROWE for years will offer advice and support.


We have a couple of other resources coming your way in the next few months. One is a ROWE Kit that you’ll be able to download. The kit includes everything you need to go ROWE, including videos, surveys, HR and training materials, and more.

The second resource coming up is Cali & Jody’s new book, and we’re really excited about it! This book will be a practical field guide for ROWE, and a valuable tool for managers. The new book is scheduled for publication early 2013, so look for pre-order information on the website this summer!

We’d love to hear from any of you who have been working on transforming your work culture to a ROWE, and the results you’ve seen. Tell us in the comments below!

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Louis du Mont via Compfight


[Quelle/Source (Link): Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) | Created and Implemented by CultureRx]