A long time ago I read an article about Medium's company culture. The piece introduced Jason Stirman and an approach to performance management know as Holacracy. Since then the debate regarding the merits of Holacracy has gathered significant momentum. Proponents of Holacracy seem to be realistic about the time this radical change in thought technology will require to fully take shape. Opponents of Holacracy seem to underestimate the strategic relevance of the process.
To this day no one has said it better than Jason Stirman:
“Management perspective looks at reports as resources — like how can you get the maximum value out of this person,” Stirman says. “But when I think resources, I think like natural gas or coal mines. Thinking about a person’s life that way just seemed really dehumanizing.”
And as soon as Zappos jumped on to the Holacracy bandwagon the haters crawled out of their consultancies to call foul.
There are a few truths to this system that seem to have been ignored:
- Holacarcy is highly strategic in emphasizing/tracking individual performance objectives.
- Holacracy ignores bureaucracy and amplifies trust.
- Holacracy is not corporate anarchy.
In time, some iteration of Holacracy will move from idealism to the standard. Here's why:
The workplace is competitive. We tend to take the wins for granted and re-tool with great intensity when we lose. There is no better example than the 2004 the United States Men's Basketball team to exemplify the basis for Holacracy:
It takes diverse skill sets to win when the competition is harsh!
You cannot have an entire team of forwards and expect the other functions of the game to care for themselves.
Organizational success is predicated upon focused individuals accepting their role in producing an overall result. Without egos or the search for individual accolades; everybody wins! Titles sustained by egos have no systematic relevance to the necessary need for organizational evolution.
... Leader Do!
There is an inarguable truth in Corporate America:
Poor Middle Managers survive at the cost of the organization losing extraordinary talent.
It is a revolving door through which any threat to bureaucracy is removed to keep from disrupting the status quo. Mangers manage out the organizations best talent, millions of dollars are lost in production costs and the corporate politicians maintain their place on the mantle.
The Village Doesn't Require a Court Jester!
Hire great people, give them effective tools and trust them to succeed.
There is no greater accountability than that to one's self. Transparent goal setting and candid coaching are paramount to employee success.
Leaders Develop Their Legacy and Managers Control the Present to Preserve the Past.
Don't Forget to Remember!