In case you haven’t heard, Zappos, one of my favorite companies (no promo), announced the end of managers at the company. Instead, they decided to implement a holacracy system (no managers). I didn’t even know such a word existed until I read about it in this article in the Washington Post*. Given the unusual nature of the change compared to anything I’ve seen, I wanted to know what kind of
psycho person came up with this idea and what does it look like. I would think it doesn’t look like the Career Builder monkeys hanging out in the office like you see here, but I haven’t ruled it out as a possibility yet.
After taking a look at the benefits people say exist in this kind of egalitarian workplace, I have to call bs. A key element of holacracy is doing everything by committee. Considering how difficult it is to pick a restaurant with more than three people involved in the decision (at least for me), this sounds like the ultimate frustration to deal with every single day. On the other hand, this structure sounds like something good for people who avoid ownership at all costs if that’s your thing, but I have to warn you if that is your thing then we can’t be friends. I’m sorry.
The whole idea of a holacracy just leaves me with so many questions:
- Who decides how much money everyone makes?
- Who decides who sits on each committee?
- Who approves vacation days?
- How do you escalate any workplace issues and who would you even escalate to?
- What’s the workplace dating policy when subordinates don’t exist?
- Who even decides which committees are needed?
Such a drastic shift in culture will take some time to ramp-up, so if Zappos is still committed to this and working to make it “stick” after a year, then I suspect Zappos’ new org will be there to stay, for better or worse. I know I’ll be dialed in to see which way it goes.
What do you think? Could you see your company moving to a holacracy? Could you see yourself operating in a holacracy? Let me know in the comments.
*How did I not know Jeff Bezos (founder and CEO of Amazon) owns the Washington Post now?! Is it just me or did that go under the radar?
Photo Credit: edkohler via CC