Sunday, March 30, 2014


The is a big fan of Dan Pink. His talk was amazing. His books are amazing. Dan’s Office Hours which he calls “Car Talk…….for the human engine” is amazing. The Amazing Dan Pink - sounds like a magician.

ROWE - Results Only Work Environment is a human resource management strategy co-created by Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler wherein employees are paid for results (output) rather than the number of hours worked. Cali and Jody, who originally proposed the strategy at Best Buy, have since started a consulting group called CultureRx.

ROWE tries to give managers the tools to define goals which can be clearly met or unmet by the results of individual contributors working for that manager. This focus on met or unmet results allows significant freedom to the organization to focus on fewer minute details of employee daily routine.

I first heard the concept of ROWE when reading Dan Pink’s book: DRIVE. Specifically pages 86-88, 100, 199, and 210 - 211. The concept of ROWE stuck with me. I would use it; I would tell people that we are a ROWE! I would tell employees, contractors and anyone that would listen to me that my companies - all of them - we are ROWE companies. If you wanted to work here, if you wanted to be here, if you wanted to hang out with me, you needed to embrace the entire concept of ROWE.

Chapter 4 of DRIVE is all about Autonomy. The chapter goes on to tell the story of ROWEs. ROWEs principals marry the common sense pragmatism of Ben Franklin to the cage-rattling radicalism of Saul Alinsky. In a ROWE workplace, people don’t have schedules. They show up for work when they want. They don’t have to be in the office by a certain time - or any time, for that matter. They show up when they want. They just need to get their work done. How they do it, when they do it, and where they do it is up to them.

Act I: Enter Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson from Chapter 4

Who: These two former human resource executives at Best Buy persuaded their CEO to experiment with a radical new approach to organizing work. They wrote a book about their experiences, Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It, and they now run their own consultancy: .

Big Idea: The Results Only Work Environment. ROWE, described in Chapter 4 of Dan’s book DRIVE affords employees complete autonomy over where, when and how they do their work. The only thing that matters is results.

“People at all levels stop doing any activity that is a waste of their time, the customer’s time, or their company’s time. Employees have the freedom to work any way they want to work. Every meeting is optional. There are no work schedules.”

I wanted to be a ROWE! I wanted my company to embrace this, to be this. I forgot that I first heard about ROWEs in Dan’s book. I have been telling people that “We are a ROWE” for so long that I forgot what a ROWE really was. And then it hit me: we are absolutely NOT a ROWE, not yet anyway.

So, I Googled: ROWE

Rowe Furniture | Top Quality Custom Furniture | Sofas | Chairs  < OK, not them >

ROWE - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  < YES! THEM!>

ROWE - Results Only Work Environment is a human resource management strategy co-created by Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler wherein employees are ...


Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) | CultureRx <AGAIN, THEM!>

Results-Only Work Environment goes beyond telework. It's a management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence. In a ROWE ...

What is ROWE | CultureRx
Results-Only Work Environment goes beyond telework. It's a management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence. In a ROWE

ACT II: Do some research, do some reading, and then get off your ass and get to work.
If someone Google’s ROWE the “result” is that they will find Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson. They will find their amazing website, their amazing books, and their amazing concept of ROWE. Go ahead, do it yourself. Google ROWE and you will see what I am talking about.

I found their website. I found their books on Amazon. I found their blogs, their LinkedIn pages, their Facebook pages, and Twitter as well.  But, I also found - them. The real, living version of ROWE:

My email to   March 28 2014, 10:27am

Subject: ROWE!!!

Jody, Cali, I stumbled onto your site when I searched for "ROWE" I feel like I just landed in Disneyworld..... Where do I begin? Do I read all of your books? Read all of your blog posts? Call you? I am giddy. I own and run MTP, NYDLA, and now I am involved with the USDLA. You can see folks like Dan Pink on our websites……

This was Friday. Today is Sunday. Less than 48 hours have passed from my Hello email until this blog. Since that first email we have had several exchanges, phone calls, conference calls, and we will meet again - tomorrow - for conference call number two.

ACT: III  Serendipity

If you Google the word Serendipity, you will find a "fortuitous happenstance" or "pleasant surprise".  Had I not read the book DRIVE, the term ROWE would not have stuck in my head. Had I not said “we are a ROWE” to then admit that we are NOT a ROWE but we want to become a ROWE, I would never thought to Google ROWE.
I would have never found and I would have never emailed I would have never met Cali and Jody (virtually) and I would not have had anything cool and exciting to blog about today. Cali and Jody will read this blog and they will smile at my energy and passion, as someone who gets things done. If they need a poster boy for ROWE, I’m up for the job. Or, Jody and Cali will read this blog and they will call the police, not sure yet. Comments, ladies?
Epilogue: ROWE Boats Need ROWErs
ROWE is a Results Only Work Environment. This is now very clear to me. And it is also very clear that you cannot be a ROWE at 95%, or even 99%  It is all in or nothing. ROWEs only work when a ROWE is full of “rowers”.
Results Only Working Executives
Results Only Working Employees. 
Are you a “rower” like me?

*** Stay tuned for the new adventures of Cali, Jody and Tom…… betcha “the results” will be worth blogging about.


  1. Thought about calling the police...but then realized...we love obsession. Obsession with results. Obsession with the right actions to get to HUGE results. And if that's what Tom wants to explore, then we're game.

    It's clear, even 48 hours after meeting each other that there is something very, very big brewing here...for society, for all types of organizations, for people. The adventures of Jody, Tom, and Cali will be nothing short of amazing. And you'll have a front row seat to it.

    ROWE represents THE most productive, efficient way of approaching work. As human beings (whether executives, middle managers or individual contributors), we have the right to be treated like adults - given complete autonomy to produce results however, whenever, and wherever we want to after agreeing to clearly defined goals that have objective measures. As a society, we have the right to hold people accountable for producing results... not simple warming up a chair or 'showing up'. It's time to step up to a world of 100% accountability and 100% autonomy.

    Who's with us?

  2. Results-ONLY Work Environment. No results? No job. It's that simple. Wait? You don't know what your results are? You don't know how to measure your results? Then you're just getting paid for the time you put in. The clock is your master. We're smashing the clock. It's not 1952 anymore.

    Who's with us?