Zappos has quietly backed away from holacracy
Yesterday Aimee Groth wrote a very interesting article on QuartzAtWork about the organizational evolution Zappos has been on for the last years, with the telling title: "Zappos has quietly backed away from holacracy". You can read the article by following this link: https://qz.com/work/1776841/zappos-has-quietly-backed-away-from-holacracy/
She writes: "In the last few years, Zappos has been quietly moving away from holacracy. It has done away with its at-times rigidly (and ironically) bureaucratic meetings and brought back managers, while retaining its circular hierarchy, a key artifact of holacracy."
And "The solution? A marketplace system where teams operate like small businesses and manage their own profit-and-loss statements, rather than focusing on the scope of their holacratic authority to manage the company’s full P&L."
Aimee's observations are very interesting and, to be honest, they don't surprise me much. When we visited Zappos some years ago (when they were rolling out holacracy) several employees told us already that they didn't like holacracy at all. They told us that they were just waiting till Tony Hsieh would move Zappos to the next phase of their experimentation. And that's actually what happened!
To me it seems that Zappos is moving towards an internal marketplace that seems to be a mix of the organizational structures of Haier and WL Gore of which I recently wrote a long blog post: https://corporate-rebels.com/4-future-proof-organizational-models-beyond-hierarchy-and-bureaucracy/
Aimee told us that Rob Solomon is working alongside John Bunch (Zappos Executive) to roll out this new market-based organizational model at Zappos at the moment. You can read more about Rob Solomon in this excellent piece: https://media.consensys.net/cone-the-future-of-decentralized-organizations-f0f2851de46f
What do you think? Is this any surprising? Are they moving into the right direction this time?
Here is another piece by Zappos with more explaination of their new model which they call 'Market Based Dynamics' or MBD in short:
Rob & Joost:
there's a cached version 😬
Social capital and social networks are becoming increasingly important in today’s economy at large, and for individuals within organisations. For my MSc dissertation in Organisational Psychology, I researched how newcomers transition into a self-managing organisation (Lee & Edmondson, 2017), an organisation where authority is decentralised and classic manager-subordinate relationships are absent.
It’s all about your people. Now more than ever. But in knee-jerk reactions to the coronavirus many companies are laying off large numbers. I want to shout out to the shareholder-value managers driven by their spreadsheets: “This is not only inhumane. It is bad for your business!”. Why? It will harm your company. Companies that treat their people best in bad times emerged as winners in the past.
"Nothing reveals character like a crisis." We wrote this recently and, as predicted, during the Corona crisis, companies revealed their true colors. Recently, we highlighted the bad. So let's turn to the good, and highlight organizations that not only talk about putting people first, but also walk their talk. Let's applaud those that put their money where their mouth is in difficult times.