David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals talks about un-managing his employees in his recent article on NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business). David states, “At 37signals, the Web-based software firm where I’m a partner, we continue to shuck the traditional management approach. With a headcount of 20, we’ve created an environment that allows employees to manage themselves and each other—and it’s worked.”
Now that’s a compelling vision. David goes on to elaborate with two examples: 1) employees get a credit card and aren’t really monitored on their expenditures, and 2) no one tracks vacation time. Innovative for sure, but it sounds like what David is saying is they don’t nanny their employees. How can we stretch this “un-management” idea further?
What if we could move the decision-making process further down a company’s hierarchy? If we could have a goal and leave the employees to figure out how to accomplish it?
Facebook is doing it. When you consider the depth and scale of the product, Facebook’s employees really move fast. Part of the reason for their success is that they don’t hesitate on decision-making. According to Yee Lee, “any engineer can modify any part of FB’s code base and check-in at-will.” What Yee goes on to suggest is that at Facebook, “the culture of the company seems to be set so that everyone feels responsibility for the product.”
Imagine the bliss of walking into the office and finding your team busily solving new problems together. You ask them, “Hey, what’s going on?” They reply, “Oh, don’t worry Ben. We have been trying to get the new release out by the end of the month and we figured out a way to do it.”
This is how self-managing teams can operate, and you can get your company there when you communicate your goals clearly.
Harvard Business School professor John P. Kotter has said that projects typically fail because of under-communicating the project’s vision by a factor of 10. I would take this statement a step further and say that under-communicating your company’s goals affects your company’s ability to succeed.
We at WorkSimple want your company to thrive, and our Business Goal Software provides a goal communication platform that allows your employees to clearly communicate their own goals, their coworkers’ goals, and the company’s goals.
We have heard from our customers that using WorkSimple’s Business Goal Software has made teams self-organizing, that they can work together on their own, that self-managing teams are more than an idea—they are reality.
And these testimonies make sense—with WorkSimple your team goals and individual goals are in one place for everyone to see and comment on. Who needs the communication bottleneck of management anymore? Employees simply figure out where they need to plug in by checking out each other’s goals. Goal communication and goal visibility. It’s that simple.
Take us for a test drive. See how WorkSimple can make self-managing teams a reality at your company.