Is self-management growing, shrinking or stagnating?
As I was tossing around ideas with a friend, he asked if the number of self-managed companies was growing. After rushing to say "of course," I realized that I didn't know. We hear about companies adopting self-management, but we don't hear about the ones that fall back to command-and-control.
Have you guys looked into this at all? Have you been keeping track of the companies you've had contact with?
I believe the number is growing, but that’s a highly biased perspective as well. Not based on actual data. So, in fact I am not sure. A quick peek into Google Trends does show a growth in the search term “agile” but not in for example “self-management”. On the other hand, founder of Visa Dee Hock told us he gets loads more requests and emails about his pioneering work then before. He has been known as a pioneer for decades. Still, all this would only argue for a lot of talk, but none of this says anything about action.
Conclusion: I don't know. It might be that the number is steady and that just more connections are being made between the ones interested in the topic and/or the ones practicing progressive ways of working.
Regarding your other question: yes, we do see companies that revert to command-and-control. Take for example FAVI, where they went back to traditional hierarchy and saw profitability drop (see https://corporate-rebels.com/favi-part-2/). Joost wrote about more of the ones that went back here: https://corporate-rebels.com/when-pioneering-companies-fail/.
I agree that the work needs to continue. More awareness, more lessons, more do’s/don’ts, and more research should help us to better understand and act with this different organizational approach. It’s something that has to mature and a hell of a lot more work is needed for that.
Your work with Nearsoft is extremely important in that!
Earlier this year, I wrote about VkusVill, the Russian supermarket chain that is reinventing the retail industry. The Russian pioneer proves that you can rapidly scale a profitable chain of retail shops by letting frontline employees make all the important decisions. They do this with impressive results; the company is not only growing rapidly (CAGR 40%), it also manages to keep bureaucracy and hierarchy to a minimum, as upper management accounts for less than 10% of the total payroll.
Today marks an important day in Corporate Rebels’ vaunted history: We're embarking on a new adventure to radically shake up the world of work. How? We're launching a new company together with some of the most inspiring workplace pioneers in the world.