Developing Leaders the Montessori Way – Harvard Business Review Article

This is from a couple days ago and the Take-Away from this Harvard Business Review Article….”… but we believe this intrinsic motivation — an employee’s love for what she does — is better than money and promotions. We’ve already seen the results in terms of lower turnover among the entry-level employees who have been through the program. Our retention rates were noticeably higher in 2011 than they were in 2009-2010, and are trending steadily upward.”

“When it comes to employee development, most companies traditionally follow the 10/80/10 rule: The top 10 percent are promoted, the middle 80 percent are nurtured and the bottom 10 percent are let go.

At my company, Mu Sigma, we followed this advice at first too. But we found that we were losing too many from the middle 80 percent: people who had great potential were leaving because they weren’t getting promoted quickly enough. We had accidentally created a culture where promotions and raises — extrinsic rewards — trumped all the intrinsic factors that make a job worthwhile.

So in 2010 we began to model our development afterMontessori schools, whose principals include “an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements in society.” Since then we’ve applied these basic tenets to our workforce.

For example, new hires (most straight out of college) all come in with the same title — Business Analyst — and start at the same salary. They all go through a rigorous training course we call Mu Sigma University: a mini-MBA program where they learn not just about how we do business and service clients, but also review mathematical, communication, and business fundamentals to ensure they have the proper foundation for serving our clients. Then at the 18-month point, the new hires are promoted as a group to Senior Business Analyst, again all at the same salary.

During the first three years, managers regularly provide employees with one-on-one feedback, discussing areas for improvement and growth opportunities. It’s only after this period that ”

Read the rest here….