Management style: “No walls in our office”

Debbie Palao

There are no walls in the administrative offices of Design Ventures Cebu (an export oriented furniture making firm).  No separate rooms nor cubicles for us, who manage it.

Without walls, communication is open not only between us but also with our people.  To be efficient in our work, we should be responsive.  People who work with us know exactly what we like and what we don’t.  We have no secrets from them.  We do not have secrets from each other.

We share the same management style — what we call Kamaganak, Inc.  Many of our employees are related to each other.

People management is very personal.  We try to give our workers a sense of working with us, not for us.  They can call us any time night or day — even when we are out of the country.

We are very clear about policy.  We are strict on enforcement.

Compassion seasons and softens enforcement of rules.  As far as possible, people are retained.  If they are not suited for one job, we look for another more appropriate place for them … until the situation has become untenable and we have to let go.

We have developed a culture in the workplace.  This culture is hard to explain.  We have this unwritten behavioral code.  People don’t read it; they internalize it.  It is such that new employees immediately find a fit.  Those that do not fit leave right away.”

We believe in little things that mean a lot to the workers.  We banter with them, eat with them, pray with them.  We celebrate Christmas and Lent together with a special mass.

– Debbie and Gus Palao, Design Ventures Cebu, Inc.

(in an interview on “couples in business”)





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