I found this exit interview fascinating, and well worth the read. Employees often have insights about their company that go well beyond their pay scale and position; wisdom comes from everywhere. Exit interviews that are well designed will seek out that wisdom. For example, here are three things that Robert thinks could be done better at Microsoft (full explanations in his post):
- "I would incubate more products outside of Microsoft for a longer period of time. (...) I’ve seen lots of things change this industry that were done by small teams of people. Xbox? Two people. .NET? A handful. Live.com? A handful. (...) In fact watch what Google does. They keep teams separate which makes them look chaotic and not strategic but it lets them innovate longer before they get sucked into the “integration” phase. (...).
- I would actually start a new company that’s designed to destroy the old one. Xerox got very close to doing that with Xerox PARC, but the executives weren’t able to pull the trigger. Imagine what our industry would have been like if the executives there HAD pulled the trigger?
- I would put a single person in charge of naming and fire anyone who didn’t listen to the dictator. I’d do the same thing about corporate image. Same with conference planning. Same with advertising. Committees just suck the soul out of the best ideas. On the other hand, I would hate to be that person cause if you screwed up you’d have no one else to blame."