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Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly Joins Yahoo! In Giant Step Backward

By March 7, 2013

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Last week, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer took a giant step backward with a new policy that essentially forbids any of the company's employees from working anywhere but in the company office. Now Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy, has joined the list of CEOs who think they can mask poor managerial performance by blaming it on telecommuting employees and has canceled his company's flexible work schedules. That is just wrong and and no amount of lip service to "increased innovation" from "face time" will ever change the fact that a company whose managers can't manage a distributed workforce is in trouble in today's global economy.

This change in policy from managing for performance rather than managing by attendance is especially disappointing in the case of Best Buy whose ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment) policy was such a clear statement of vision for the company when it was started by two of their employees (who since have gone on to start a ROWE consulting business at goROWE.com.

If Joly wants to learn about innovation, a good place to start is the article Got Innovation? How to foster a climate that supports innovation. And there's a lot to learn from example managers Carol and Valerie in How to Innovate in Business.

Telecommuting is not going away. Distributed workforces are not going away. Managers that want to succeed in a global economy will have to learn how to get employees who are not in their line of sight to perform up to expectations, just like the ones they can see. Maybe in your first supervisor role or first management position, you will have all your direct reports in the same office, but I haven't had that for over a decade. What with employees in different offices in different cities and contractors in different countries it became imperative that I learn how to manage a distributed workforce. Here are a couple of examples of that:

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