Gore is a strikingly contradictory company: a place where nerds can be mavericks; 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 ravenous 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. And in its quietly revolutionary way, it is doing something almost magical: fostering ongoing, consistent, breakthrough creativity.
Bill Gore threw out the rules. He created a place with hardly any hierarchy and few ranks and titles. He insisted on direct, one-on-one communication; anyone in the company could speak to anyone else. In essence, he organized the company as though it were a bunch of small task forces. To promote this idea, he limited the size of teams — keeping even the manufacturing facilities to 150 to 200 people at most. That’s small enough so that people can get to know one another and what everyone is working on, and who has the skills and knowledge they might tap to get something accomplished — whether it’s creating an innovative product or handling the everyday challenges of running a business.
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