Ev Williams, the co-founder of Twitter, has a new company called Medium where there are no managers. This idea of a leaderless organization isn’t new but it’s also far from commonplace. Perhaps the best known organization without managers is Valve Software, which published an amazing employee handbook that describes how it works. FRC Review has a new post up where they outline how it works at Medium without managers using this idea of a Holacracy approach to corporate structure.
Here are some of the key takeaways for Holacracy from the FRC Review article:
- No people managers. Maximum autonomy.
- Organic expansion. When a job gets too big, hire another person.
- Tension resolution. Identify issues people are facing, write them down, and resolve them systematically.
- Make everything explicit – from vacation policies to decision makers in each area.
- Distribute decision-making power and discourage consensus seeking.
- Eliminate all the extraneous factors that worry people so they can focus on work.
Instead of top-down, command-and-control structure, everything is composed of nested circles. A circle can be one person that owns some aspect of the business or it can be a group of people that own it. If a Holacratic organization sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a blend of two things I’m a big believer in: results only work environments (ROWE) and the value of autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Only, it takes it one step further and gets rid of the concept of a traditional hierarchy and instead makes it so that circles, composed of one or more people, make any and all decisions.
Holacracy is a great idea and I’m looking forward to watching it evolve.
What else? What are your thoughts on Holacracy as a corporate structure?