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Work Rules!

Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

By Laszlo Bock
  • Read in 13 minutes
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  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Work Rules! by Laszlo Bock

Work Rules! (2015) takes us through the inner workings of Google, one of the most powerful and successful companies in the world. Bock tells us precisely how Google pulls off this feat while consistently being ranked as the best employer in the world.

Key idea 1 of 8

The secret to Google’s culture is its mission, transparency and voice.

When you hear about working at Google, you probably think about beanbags, free food and other delightful perks. But it isn’t the fun and the freebies that really makes Google so successful; it’s a manifesto of mission, transparency and voice.

Google’s mission is simple and powerful: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

It’s a profound mission because firstly, it gives moral, rather than commercial meaning to employees’ work. That is, the information workers sift and sort through actually helps everyone who uses the search engine.

Second, the mission has no ceiling. A typical mission might be to become the market leader, but once this is accomplished, it’s no longer inspiring. At Google, however, employees are constantly motivated to explore new ways of organizing information.

Another key tenet of Google’s successful culture is its transparency.

In a traditional software company, a new engineer only sees the code from whatever projects they’re working on. At Google, however, a newcomer can access everything from product launch initiatives to another employee’s weekly status report.

Furthermore, each week the CEO updates the whole company on the past week and carves out time afterward for a 30 minute Q&A session. Thanks to this update, everyone knows who’s working on what, which ensures they don’t double up and work on it too. It also makes it clear who the go-to person is regarding a particular project.

Finally, Google gives every employee a voice. It values the input of everyone and gives them a say in how the company is run.

In fact, most practices within the company originated from employees.

In 2009, an annual Bureaucracy Busters program was launched so employees could identify their biggest frustrations.

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