Zappos and the "no bosses" approach

By Venky Krishnamurthy

 Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh

Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh

After reading this article from the Washington Post, I felt saddened to see many employees leaving Zappos. Zappos might have a point to prove that these employees are incapable of adjusting to their new “way of working”. 

I think it is dangerous for Zappos to survive in the long run. Here are two reasons:

  1. The diversity of thinking:  success of any team, group or an enterprise depends on its encouragement to the diversity of thinking. If everyone in the organization is forced to think in a certain way, one will end up breeding “Yes” masters and thus killing creativity, innovation. 

    As one could see, Zappos management is forcing people to work in certain way and non-aligned workers are booted out but in a diplomatic fashion. I agree that the Holacracy way of working can benefit the organization, however Zappos is killing the a foundation that Holacracy promotes; that is, respecting people and their opinions.

    As per one of the research, employees perform at their peak potential when their individuality is respected and protected.

    Organizations flourish and succeed with inclusive policies rather than exclusive ones. 
     
  2. Brain drain: A bigger issue is the impact of brain drain on the organization. There are rumors floating around that many employees who opted to quit Zappos have set up new startups. The three months salary is good enough for many entrepreneurial people to use it as seed funding to setup their own business. Loss of such talented people is a great tragedy for the company.

Sometimes, I also feel that many organizations come up with fancy ideas/strategies as part of laying off people as well.

What do you think about Zappos decision ?

For those of you interested in this topic, the Melbourne Agile and Scrum Meetup group will be discussing Self Organisation and Holacracy at its next Meetup on 27 May 2015.

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