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Extraordinary results from ordinary people – CIPD 2001


Getting the best results from the whole workforce is more crucial to the knowledge-based economy than fighting over a limited pool of highly talented individuals, according to Charles O'Reilly.

Speaking on "How great companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People" at the CIPD's National Conference on Thursday, he stated that top companies like Cisco Systems, Southwest Airlines and SAS Institute don't have more able employees than their competitors. Rather, they have succeeded in making their staff perform consistently at the top of their capacity.

Using case-studies of highly successful companies, O'Reilly demonstrated that all of them had clear values which are realised for all employees. These values are exercised through six HR levers: strong culture, hiring to fit, investing in people, widespread information sharing, team-based systems, rewards and recognition. This environment was contrasted with less people-centered organisations, where management is aimed primarily at controlling the potential misbehaviour of a small minority of employees and so takes only a negative approach to productivity.


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