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ROWE: All About Respect

Charlie Tanksley

Respect Poster (2005)

You already know that Highgroove is a ROWE (Results Only Work Environment). I am just a week into my tenure at Highgroove, but I’m inclined to think that the ‘R’ could just as easily stand for “Respect,” at least at Highgroove. That is, I think Highgroove could fairly be described as a Respect-Only Work Environment.

Respect is really about two things. You respect someone by recognizing their expertise and goals. You respect the person driving the car by not slamming on the ‘air brakes’ all the time. You respect your significant other by supporting their interests. Highgroove goes out of their way to do these things. That matters.

My last job was in academia. Said job afforded me little respect. My department trusted my expertise, but the university at large wanted all sorts of checks to make sure I was doing my job, and they couldn’t have cared less about my personal goals and interests. Highgroove is different. Very different. And it is beautiful.

Highgroove goes out of its way to treat employees like experts. On day one, you are tasked with setting up your computer. How you do that is up to you. We have a document that tells you what others use, but what you use is up to you. If that software costs money, the company will buy it. You don’t have to use one blessed set of tools; you use what will let you be great. These things seems kind of small, and I guess they are, but small things are powerful, and they signify much greater things. To me, they signify trust and respect.

Being respected is interesting. It makes you want to respect others. You don’t have to fight for what is yours. You can be generous. As a result of feeling respected by my employer, I feel respect for my clients. I want to treat them with the same kindness and trust I have been afforded. I want to recognize their expertise and their goals. I want them to feel as good as I do.

This respect has another result, one that kind of surprised me: over the weekend I was struck with an overwhelming feeling that I wanted to further the goals of the company. That is, I want to respect Highgroove by making sure that the company achieves its goals. I kind of don’t even care what those goals are. If they are important to the company, they are important to me.

That’s kind of how it should be, right? No matter what my wife’s goals are, I want her to accomplish them. I trust that she’ll have good goals because I respect and trust her. I trust that Highgroove has good goals because I respect and trust the employees in charge of setting those goals.

So there you have it. Respect is a powerful thing. At Highgroove we get it and give it. The result: happy developers, happy clients, and awesome results.

Image credit: bonifaceplymouth

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