How a Results Only Work Environment Serves Stakeholders

A Results Only Work Environment (R.O.W.E.) is an environment in which workers are compensated by the results they deliver, not the hours they work. In “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” , author Daniel Pink explains how ROWE is a revolutionary principle emerging to address the motivational needs of modern workers.

ROWE advocates and founders of CultureRx, Cali Ressler and Jodi Thompson implemented ROWE at Best Buy. They describe ROWE as:

…a management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence. In a ROWE, people focus on results and only results – increasing the organization’s performance while creating the right climate for people to manage all the demands in their lives …including work.

Hourly Workplace Environment

Just one question - is it billable?The hourly workplace has set hours of operation (such as 9 AM to 5 PM). While a standard practice, when compared to a ROWE workplace, the hourly office reflects a lack of trust in employees. Critics of ROWE suggest standard hours are required to facilitate necessary meetings and other coordination. To be sure, some workplaces will require basic operating hours. However, most organizations, like retailer Best Buy, can balance these requirements. At Best Buy, store employees operate under basic hourly principles, while most corporate office teams function in a ROWE.

ROWE Environment

Unlike traditional environments, the Results Only Work Environment reflects a great degree of trust in the employees and empowers them to operate in their optimal time and location. By focusing solely on results, ROWE has the additional benefit of escalating awareness of nonperforming individuals. So while it may not work at all times and in every location, where it does work, ROWE offers the best of both worlds: maximizing results from most while calling out the worst. Therefore, leaders who support ROWE serve their stakeholders in many ways, including:

 1. Aligning the Team: ROWE requires extremely clear job descriptions and objectives. This reduces duplicated efforts and aligns team members for the greatest effectiveness.

2. Enabling Stakeholders to Serve Others: ROWE cascades the ability to serve others. For example, employees are freed to serve their stakeholders like their church, family and community, on their own schedule.

3. Optimizing Performance: By enabling employees to choose where, how and when they work, ROWE increases output from top performers.

4. Eliminating Micromanagement: Micromanagement is not just annoying – it’s expensive. The definition of micromanagement implies someone doing work that should be handled by others. ROWE removes this issue.

5. Reducing Overhead: As teams optimize their performance, your overhead is reduced, delivering greater value to shareholders, philanthropists and other financial backers.

 So if you’re a servant leader seeking an innovative opportunity to serve consider establishing a Result Only Work Environment. It may not be mainstream, but then, neither is servant leadership… yet.

For more information on the Results Only Work Environment, check out

Question: What other benefits or risks of ROWE do you see for the servant leader?


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Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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