Fast Company | ROWE Notes

A little background

Centresource is one of the top digital agencies in the world (and even though I'm biased, i say this mainly because of the awards we've won!)  and we employ some very talented people.  As a demographic, their relatively young (sub 35), technical, and beyond passionate about their work.  Basically, its a firm full of people that any organization would be lucky to have.


As the founder of CentreSource, I wanted the culture to support people in both their personal & professional endeavors - while also creating a place that promotes accountability & results. ROWE gave us the foundation to begin this journey and after 2 years of refinement, we have a unique management model simply called "The Merit System"

Why ROWE matters to Tech Companies

You can email with follow up questions

Policies we use and Metrics we've seen

Few other things we follow:

  1. Managers meet with their direct reports every 2 weeks, in person, to discuss the person's metrics
  2. Subjective measurements are 'incentivized' through rewards like money - not specifically required. The only requirement is that employees need to pick something (and we've developed a long list of badges & specialities over time) to participate in. The employee gets to pick what they like doing - ironically making them even better when they do it.
  3. CentreSource paid out over $10K in merit money last year - and we did it happily and hope to pay out more this next year
  4. Our business metrics continue to improve, with double digit growth & much higher retention rates
  5. We have multiple employees that said they only joined us (vs a larger corporation) because of ROWE - they wanted flexibility and to be treated like professionals, not like cogs in the machine.

ROWE / Laziness

One of the main inhibitors to companies adopting a ROWE mentality is, simply put, laziness. Leaders love to 'manage on the fly' because it's easy - the employee's success is 100% dependent on how the manager feels (sadly, often at that very moment - detrimental for an annual review).


For a manager to actually codify what an employee must do to find success is very difficult & takes a lot of thought. Moreover, the manager may quickly realize that they don't even have systems in place to track the very things they want to judge the employee on - thus the reason they so heavily depended on their 'gut'.  Formalizing the expectations gives both the employee & employer something to easily identify, discuss, and improve upon.

Materials I share

These two documents are PROFOUND and I encourage everyone to read them.  I also share this blog post, from the Chief Happiness Officer, that started my whole journey down this path (I cared about start times & was shocked by the comments).  Last, Zappos has a cool 'Core Values' section for companies to review.


These aren't specific to ROWE, but they talk to a larger issue that tech firms need to address - culture matters as much, if not more, than money nowadays.

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