Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach To Fun on the Job

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PVG, Aug 3, 2010 - Business & Economics - 314 pages
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Imagine a company where people love coming to work and are highly productive on a daily basis. Imagine a company whose top executives, in a quest to create the most "fun" workplace ever, obliterate labor-management divisions and push decision-making responsibility down to the plant floor. Could such a company compete in today's bottom-line corporate world? Could it even turn a profit? Well, imagine no more.

In Joy at Work, Dennis W. Bakke tells the true story of this extraordinary company--and how, as its co-founder and longtime CEO, he challenged the business establishment with revolutionary ideas that could remake America's organizations. It is the story of AES, whose business model and operating ethos -"let's have fun"-were conceived during a 90-minute car ride from Annapolis, Maryland, to Washington, D.C. In the next two decades, it became a worldwide energy giant with 40,000 employees in 31 countries and revenues of $8.6 billion. It's a remarkable tale told by a remarkable man: Bakke, a farm boy who was shaped by his religious faith, his years at Harvard Business School, and his experience working for the Federal Energy Administration. He rejects workplace drudgery as a noxious remnant of the Industrial Revolution. He believes work should be fun, and at AES he set out to prove it could be. Bakke sought not the empty "fun" of the Friday beer blast but the joy of a workplace where every person, from custodian to CEO, has the power to use his or her God-given talents free of needless corporate bureaucracy.

In Joy at Work, Bakke tells how he helped create a company where every decision made at the top was lamented as a lost chance to delegate responsibility--and where all employees were encouraged to take the "game-winning shot," even when it wasn't a slam-dunk. Perhaps Bakke's most radical stand was his struggle to break the stranglehold of "creating shareholder value" on the corporate mind-set and replace it with more timeless values: integrity, fairness, social responsibility, and a sense of fun.
 

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Contents

preface
13
1 My Introduction to Work
19
2 A Miserable Workplace
41
3 From Misery to Joy
65
Dynamics of a Joyous Workplace
85
5 Scorekeeping Accountability and Rewards
109
6 Leading to Workplace Joy
131
7 Purpose Matters
149
9 Another Crisis
205
Epilogue
227
Enter Into the Masters Joy
245
History of AES
277
Acknowledgments
295
Bibliography
299
Index
305
Copyright

8 Potholes in the Road
169

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About the author (2010)

DENNIS W. BAKKE was raised in Saxon, Washington, and graduated from the University of Puget Sound, Harvard Business School, and the National War College. He co-founded The AES Corporation in 1981 and served as its president and CEO from 1994 to 2002. He is now president and CEO of Imagine Schools, a company that operates elementary and secondary (K-12) charter schools. He and his wife, Eileen, live in Arlington, Virginia.

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