When we run good, simple, and open workplaces, we also cut down on the amount of sycophants aspiring to a “better” job by sucking up. They are the necktie wearers and scope creepers and idea people who don’t want to do good work. They just want a promotion.
Good, simple, open work promotes a flat structure with little hierarchy. Put people in jobs they like to do and they’ll be happy, work hard, and remain there. Those driven by a desire to do good work will be content where they get to do it. Collectively, you’ll all do better work because of it.
If you have a culture that seeks to match an employee with the job she’s best at, you’ll also find it’s easy to keep her engaged by moving her to another position she’s interested in. But if you have a closed system where a person is simply a butt in the seat of a job title, you’ll lose talent that could have produced more in another role.
Those individuals who are driven only by promotions, prestige, and pay are only going to be good at sucking up to get promotions, prestige, and pay. They don’t want to do their job’s work because the reward for them isn’t the work but the next step. Once you run out of steps, they’ll go.
You want to do good work? Focus on doing it simply and openly. You want a good company? Simplify it and open it.