Gore is a radical company with respect to its management style a place that's impatient with the standard way of working, but more than patient with nurturing ideas and giving them time to flourish; a place that's humble in its origins, yet very hungry for breakthrough ideas and, ultimately, growth. Gore's uniqueness comes from being as innovative in its operating principles as it is in its diverse product lines. This is a company that has kicked over the rules that most other organizations live by. It is tucked away in the countryside, a far cry from Silicon Valley and even further from the Blue Chip companies that dominate Wall Street. And in its own way, it is doing something almost miraculous by fostering ongoing, consistent, breakthrough creativity.
How would you describe the organizational culture at WL Gore and Associates?
The organizational culture at Gore seemingly has a Zen type of feel; some describe it as 'cult' like.
But, as you delve into their mind-set you'll notice that it's not like a cult at all, but more of a think tank with information flowing vertical freely. Gore doesn't have impressive artifacts that proclaim the company's success. It consists of several dozen bland, low-rise buildings scattered near the Delaware-Maryland border. They're separated far enough from one another so that each can house a small, autonomous team. The buildings are set back from country roads. You can drive by and think you're passing farmland rather than corporate sites. The big difference, however, is the work environment. This is based on associates' sense of ownership and equal participation. The associates adhere to four guiding principals: fairness to each other, freedom to encourage, ability to make commitments and consultation with other associates. The principles are fostered in an environment where everyone is...