But when my boss says, "Who came up with that idea?" or "How come we did it that way?" I really try not to point to my subordinate and say, "He did." That's the thing that designates a boss. It isn't that you do more work or that you lift the heaviest weights. You come up with the ideas that shape the strategy and you then take accountability for it. Both of those can be done when you're on a beach.
How high up does someone need to be to make use of these tricks?
You could be just an entry-level grunt. If you have a door, you can be an executive. You can take naps. You can close your door and have private meetings. You need a door. Personal space is what executives are all about. That's why the really big ones have their own bathrooms.
Certainly, junior salespeople go golfing all the time. In fact, if you don't golf, you may be ostracized.
Won't people who take your advice earn the reputation of being sort of odd?
Who's the oddest person in any organization? The boss. People in management are just different. They dress different. Their egos and their ambitions and their perceptions of themselves differentiate them from the pack. That's what renders them management level. This is called "Executricks." You're learning the way executives lead their lives, not how grunts lead their lives. And if you're a little unconventional in an organizational sense and still do good work, you've just gained a level of freedom that other people don't have. That includes the freedom to work over a meal.
I could never work for Bloomberg, because everybody's in a cubicle. And everybody's always talking about what a great thing that is: "My goodness, we have snacks! And we're in a cubicle!" Well, great. What are you, in fourth grade? You know what, I'll have a snack. I'll go out and get my own snack. Bring it back to my office, close the door, and eat it.
Google uses free food and similar tricks, and it's the most popular employer among M.B.A.'s and undergrads.
The people I know that work for Google work their a—es off. They travel constantly. They are salespeople and they are nose to the grindstone. However, Sergey and Larry—they work hard, too, but they don't punch a clock.
They've mastered Executricks?
They have. A lot of people in Silicon Valley have mastered those things. First of all, they dress like they're in college. None of them wear ties, they're all so relaxed you could practically zone out. They work hard, they just work on their own tempo.
So do you have to give up the rat race and the competition?
It's about producing value when you're required to, and the rest of the time, managing things so that you create some space for yourself—mental space, physical space. I tell a story in the book about a guy who's surfing and he's on the phone talking to his MIS [management information systems] people in Hong Kong. Well, why not?
If your employees read the book, would they say it sounds like you?
Yeah, unfortunately I think I've given away a lot of my management secrets. Now people are saying things like, "Do it yourself."