Tim Smit is co-founder of the Eden Project. I read that when in the middle of setting up this now famous visitor attraction in Cornwall, the project’s chairman asked him to share his management plans.
Spending a hurried weekend writing them down, he came up with some rules. Golden-threaded through them are themes which I rather like: of innovation, inspiration, and making work fun . . .
• You can’t start your workday before you say “hello” to 20 other people
• Read a book you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of reading and tell people about it
• The same goes for a foreign film
• . . . and a play
• . . . and a concert
• Once a year, prepare a meal for the people who make it better for you to come to work
• Once a year, stand up and “explain why you love to work here” (a tongue-in-cheek notion more seriously explained as “if you have to do this, you’ll deal with all the reasons you don’t love working here before giving your talk”)
• At least once a year, the senior management team have to do something really nice – a “guerilla act of generosity” – for others in the workplace
• Try not to take important decisions in the daytime, but instead make them outside your nine-to-five existence when the best instinctive decisions are often made
(There was another one about all employees of Eden having to learn to play Samba drums and then performing in teams, with captains; and you’re either thinking now, hmm, a little too-far stretched, or I can see the motive behind that.)
I saw a task in a management textbook that asked the reader to, “Analyse Tim Smit’s leadership style in the light of appropriate theories.” Mr Smit has said of himself as having a management style that’s “ . . . analogous to the conductor of an orchestra. What we’ve got here is a crew of a talented people, where everyone’s got a role.” And when asked about him, workers at Eden said he was respected and likeable, if at times demanding.
I’m curious . . . what might your analysis be?