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Let my people surf

Posted Feb 14 2011 2:58am

I’m back from my 4-day trip to India where I spoke at the World HRD Congress in Mumbai (and did a really, REALLY good job). I’ll be blogging about it soon.

Meanwhile, My friend Lars Pind pointed me to this video of Yvon Chouinard talking about how he founded Patagonia and some of the unusual policies they have, including setting all employees free to surf whenever they want

I’ve set the video above to start at my favorite place, but if you can, take an hour and watch the whole thing.

Here’s how Yvon summed it up in a previous interview:

I’m a businessman, but I’m still going to do things on my own terms. I’m going to break a lot of rules, and we’re going to blur the distinction between work and play.

So we have a policy here – it’s called “Let My People Go Surfing.” A policy which is, when the surf comes up, anybody can just go surfing. Any time of the day, you just take off and go surfing…

That attitude changes your whole life. If your life is set up so that you can drop anything when the surf comes up, it changes the whole way you do your life. And it has changed this whole company here.

Are you free to plan your own time where you work? Or are you locked into working whenever it suits the workplace – not you? What would it mean to you, if you were completely free to plan your own time?

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