let's get rid of managers!

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Post on 13-Feb-2017



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Lets Get Rid of Managers

Lets Get Rid of ManagersEdwin JansenHead of Marketing at Fitzii


M.A.Managers Anonymous

I'm Edwin. And Im a recovering Manager. Its been 118 days since I was last drunk on the power of being able to tell adults what to do all day. I demoted myself, along with the other managers at Fitzii, when we decided to become a self-managed organization.


This is when I usually get strange looks. No managers? How could that possibly work? Things at Fitzii and other self-management organization work smoothly, because of one Golden Rule. Anyone can make any decision, provided they use the "Advice Process".


Importance of DecisionAmount of Advice You Need to GetThe Advice Process

This means that when making decisions you must seek the advice of people who are affected, as well as any subject matter experts. The bigger the decision, the more advice you seek. You dont have to follow the advice of everyone, just ask for it and consider it, when making your move. Buffer does this too.


We have found that moving decisions from top-down management to the people who care and know the most about the decision, drives better, faster, and more collaborative action. And its also the secret to driving amazing employee engagement.5

We all have heard the sorry stats from Gallup that in the US and Canada 71% of people are not engaged in their work. And do you know what the #1 driver is that influences employee engagement?




Stats from:

Thats right. 70% of engagement comes down to the quality of the manager. But Gallup says that 9 out of 10 of people dont have the necessary traits to be a great manager. So 70% of us are checked-out because of our managers, and the stats tells us its not going to get better.




But I dream about a world where these engagement stats are flipped. Imagine if 70% of people absolutely loved their work. What would that mean to our happiness, to productivity, to innovation?


Business is the most powerful institution in the world. Its responsible for most of the great things we have to be thankful for, but it also takes the blame for most of the worst things. The best way to maximize the positive impact of business, and change the world for the better, is to increase employee engagement dramatically.


Lets Get Rid of Managers!

But thats not going to happen in this system we have, so I say, lets throw out the baby with the bathwater! We created management in the 1900s to help us create factories. Things have changed, and it doesnt have to be this way. Lets get rid of managers!


The day before something is truly a breakthrough,It's a crazy idea.-Peter Diamandis-

Peter Diamandis, the creator of the X Prize, said that The day before something is truly a breakthrough, it's a crazy idea.I see this idea moving fast from crazy to breakthrough because there are many successful companies, like Fitzii, that are proving that it works.


There was an amazing book published last year called Reinventing Organizations, by Frederic Laloux. The book explores the movement towards self-management, and includes detailed profiles of 12 self-managing organizations from around the world.


Theres an in-home nursing company in Holland with more than 8000 employees, and a 40,000 employee energy company who bought power plants all around the world, to the makers of Gore-Tex, who have been self-managing for more than 50 years.


And this crazy idea is catching on. Zappos, the company that was on Barbara Walters for having the most amazing culture decided that even their engagement wasnt good enough. Tony Hsieh the CEO at Zappos has been moving his company to self-management over the last year and a half.


We want Zappos to function more like a city and less like a top-down bureaucratic organization. -Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos

It all started when Tony read that when cities increase in size they become more productive. But as Zappos grew to 1500 employees they were getting less productive. So Tony decided to address the root cause of the productivity issue and get rid of managers.


Theyre moving to a self-management system called Holacracy. They recently made news by offering a shit or get off the pot severance package to anyone who reads about the 12 amazing self-managing companies in the Reinventing Organizations book, and still decides this is not for them.


And you can guess who are taking the packages at Zappos. The biggest challenge in getting rid of managers is figuring out what the managers should do. We spend our career climbing the corporate ladder into more responsibility for directing work. 17

Since nobody HAS to follow my direction, Ive learned more about true leadership than ever before. I see what works and doesnt work, and have gotten valuable feedback that people never shared with me before. This is the best leadership development program there is.18

Some people think that self-management will lead to chaos, because theres no leadership. But its exactly opposite. Everyone takes on more leadership in areas they care about, and follow other peoples lead because they want to, not because they have to. Good ideas move along, and bad ideas dont.19

Companies assume that people cant be trusted, so they name the Manager the parent, and the employees are children. We know that when people dont feel trusted, they disengage. But if your whole system assumes that people can be trusted, theyll live up to those expectations.


In this way the company moves from being a machine, where people are dehumanized and treated as resources, to more like an ecosystem, or a city, where people self-organize around things they care about to get things done with maximum efficiency and engagement. And all we have to do is cut the strings and Get Rid of the Managers. 21

Find Edwin

[email protected]

[email protected]


Lets Get Rid of Managers!