W.L Gore and Associates are a global organisation established in 1958 that now enjoys
a multi-billion dollar turnover. With worldwide sales in excess of $2bn and around
8,000 associates over 45 locations they have earned a position on FORTUNE's annual
list of the U.S. "100 Best Companies to Work For" for over a decade. They have also
been named as one of the best workplaces in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden
and Spain for several years in a row and in 2009 Gore was recognised as one of the
"World's 50 Most Innovative Companies".
Not bad for a company that truly does things differently. At Gore there are no traditional
organisational charts, chains of command nor predetermined channels of communication.
At Gore everyone has the job title ‘associate’ and whilst there are no formal managers,
“…your team is your boss, because you don't want to let them down. Everyone's your
boss, and no one's your boss.”
Gore’s associates are encouraged to communicate directly with each other and are
accountable to fellow members of their teams. Ideas flow as people are encouraged
to take ‘dabble time’ and teams typically organise around new possibilities rather
than departmental structures. Leadership emerges as people with good ideas, delivered
with passion and purpose, gain followers who themselves are expected to fully contribute
to the idea’s future success.
At W.L. Gore and Associates people follow four guiding principles:
Fairness to each other and everyone with whom we come in contact
Freedom to encourage, help, and allow other associates to grow in knowledge, skill,
and scope of responsibility
The ability to make one's own commitments and keep them
Consultation with other associates before undertaking actions that could impact
the reputation of the company
This is just one of the many examples where Leaderful practice is occurring and over
time our library of stories will certainly grow. Please contact us if you know of,
or are part of, a Leaderful story that you would also like to share.