The Leader Magazine

JUN 2018

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F E A T U R E A R T I C L E 38 June 2018 the leader 1. Whitehurst, Jim, and Gary Hamel, The Open Organization Igniting Passion and Performance. Harvard Business Review Press, 2015. 2. Mobile World Congress keynote: red-hat-president-ceo-jim-whitehurst/?src=fridayfive1email 3. Mobile World Congress blog post: innovation?sc_cid=7016000000127NJAAY 4. blog post: try-learn-modify 5. Videos from Siemens customer meeting: about-red-hat/notes-from-jim/blog/2017/12/18/short-videos-to-share Alexandra Stebbings is manager of global portfolio strategy for Red Hat, a provider of open-source software solutions. Patrick Hoffman, MCR, is director of global real estate strategy for Red Hat. Meritocracy (not democracy) For Whitehurst, meritocracy is foundational for an open organization. "The primary responsibility for leaders at Red Hat is to build and support meritocracy by making sure the right people are working together on the right things," he said. In execution, meritocracy doesn't mean executives don't make final decisions; rather, it challenges the idea of top-down management by inviting associates of all levels to participate in bottom-up decision-making that help leaders make informed decisions through ideas and feedback. Once we have shared, listened and developed business cases with the associates who know the offices best, we then have an opportunity to let the "best idea win" by presenting a set of investment options and prioritizing with the management team against the capital envelope. This is not where everyone gets a vote; instead, everyone gets a voice. We then collect the best ideas and collate them into a standard business case template; those with the widest view of the enterprise goals determine which investments support the business most effectively. As a fast-growing, publicly traded organization, Red Hat has a fiduciary duty to shareholders to make prudent use of capital. Prioritization starts with an appropriate capital envelope to enable investment that is prioritized in three areas: This prioritization is meant to address issues related to associate satisfaction first, since attracting and retaining top talent is a top priority. The outcome of this open-portfolio planning is a set of decisions made through participation and by letting the best ideas win. This leads to more efficient capital deployment and investments that best support Red Hat's associates and the growth of the business. This process embraces the uncertain future and the need to make long-term decisions. With determination, we balance the need to make decisions efficiently with the power of participation. This process also encourages the transparency and collaboration necessary for our associates to understand and support the inevitable trade-offs required in making real estate decisions that have an impact much farther into the future than anyone can see. When a project is prioritized and proceeds, we have established a common-fact base, an endorsed strategy and collective excitement of a new office, expansion or relocation. Conversely, when an investment is delayed, frustration is mitigated, as all interested parties are understood, empowered and supported. This magnifies instead of diminishes our unique culture. This process does take more resources at the planning stage, as scheduling 100+ discussions about real estate can be daunting. But these discussions yield an aligned real estate strategy that accelerates the execution of those agreed-upon plans. This process eliminates the "ivory tower" view of the CRE team, instead creating a true business partnership to make decisions together. So, the next time a business leader points out a change in direction that leads to a mismatch of supply and demand, instead of asking what the real estate team will do to fix the situation, ask the business lead how "we" will partner to find a solution.

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