This is a short but insightful piece on how Zappos is doing as it phases in Holacracy into its organizational structure.
I tried implementing something similar to this year’s ago on my own organization, but running flat is a lot tougher than you might imagine. We lacked the process innovations that Holacracy has since developed, and eventually ended up having to shelve our plans in favor of a more hierarchical structure. Hierarchy gives you management shortcuts and if you’re going to do away with them, you need other processes.
That’s why Zappos’ large-scale adoption of Holacracy is so interesting. Note the three days of training on Holacracy that they have now added onto their already intensive new hire orientation process. Process and culture. Culture and prices. These are the keys to making something like this work.
More than 300 organizations have at least dabbled in Holacracy over the last decade, including part of the Washington state government and the company of productivity guru David Allen, but Zappos is the largest and most famous business to embrace the philosophy completely.
The transition over the last year and a half has by, many accounts, been rocky. Not everyone at the Amazon-owned shoe retailer shares Zappos Chief Executive Tony Hsieh’s enthusiasm for giving up hard-earned positions on the corporate ladder.
More than 200 employees have left rather than join the new order, urged along by severance pay, equal to three months’ salary, available to anyone who didn’t feel at home in the system.