Small business can enhance agility under this new model of business management
Is it time to reinvent the business management model to reflect the changing way businesses operate today?
According to Brian J. Robertson, a former IT CEO turned author and business management consultant, it is. And he counts among the converts to his new model, a model he calls Holocracy, innovative US retailer Zappos.
Robertson explains that the business management model most companies use today has not changed much since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Robertson believes that to succeed in the changing business landscape there is a rapidly emerging need for the structure of business management to fundamentally change.
Roberts describes Holacracy as ‘Order without Bosses’ and a ‘complete system for business self-organization’. Under this model there is a complete restructuring of the organization where there is no hierarchy or management structure but a structure based on a governance system with a constitution.
There are no managers, CEO’s, directors, only elements of the manager’s duties within roles assigned, imposed or selected by individuals. Under this model the leaders of the organization sign a declaration ‘ceding’ their power to the constitution and everyone operates as peers.
An Open Source Management Structure
Holocracy is described as an organizational structure akin to an ‘Open Source Document’ with Holocracy as the operating system. On top of this structure a business still need to implement standard ‘apps’ for functions for like pay, benefits, discipline, but decision making and action taking are all based on the autonomous decisions and actions of individual roles.
Within this system order is fluid and emergent not imposed from top down but by the consensus of peers. This is a system of complete transparency where everyone has a clear picture of the roles and responsibilities of all other members of the organization. Roles are ‘purpose driven’, where individuals hold many ‘roles’ simultaneously and can change roles and circles as needed.
There are no ‘bosses’ only peers who create loosely formed teams who meet only when needed and can disband or change the teams when the make up of the teams needs to change. These teams, called circles, are governed by rules and come together when needed to discuss business needs.
Once the circle has completed a meeting the members of the circle then act independently making autonomous choices about how to achieve their purpose.
4 elements of Holocracy include
1. A Flexible organizational structure-
There is a constant realignment of roles and teams based on purpose
2. A system of governance-
Meetings geared towards action and not analysis based around a set of commonly understood and practiced rules
3. Unique decision-
Making process that is constantly evolving the organizations structure as roles move and people move within, to and from roles
To teams and individuals to solve problems themselves without the input of bureaucracy
Robertson talks about the positive value of ‘tension’ in an organization as a fundamental factor in business change and growth. One of the keys to adaptability is for organizations to identify and address each ‘Tension’. Within Holocracy when “tension’ appear (something not being ‘right’) individuals bring together others into circles and are given opportunities to identify problems or gaps and identify solutions.
These circle meetings are usually called to address one problem, arrive at some solutions, decide who will implement what and then everyone goes back to work.
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