From bureaucracy to holacracy

Zappos, the online shoe and apparel store, is adopting a new way to organize its workforce.  There will be no managers and no corporate-style hierarchies.  Instead, circles of employees will be organized around specific tasks.  The company is attempting to replace “bureaucracy” with what it is calling “holacracy,” a coinage from “holistic.”  Read the details after the jump and consider:  How well do you think this will work?  If it does work, do you think it would be broadly applicable or suited just for certain kinds of organizations? [Read more...]

A word-based management style

Nervous Washington Post employees are wondering what life will be like under their new boss, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com.  So some of the newspaper’s reporters did a bit of investigative journalism on what Bezos is like to work for.  The article is worth reading for his exploration of the distinctive management style of the man Warren Buffett calls “the ablest CEO in America.”

After discussing such things as Bezos’ long-term thinking, his willingness to experiment, his disdain for bureaucracy, his demand for efficiency, and his high standards for performance (which allow for productive failures), reporters Craig Timberg and Jia Lynn Yang tell about this ultimate book-seller’s  belief in the “power of words.”

They warm the cockles of this English professor’s heart when they describe how Bezos doesn’t allow PowerPoint, thinking the bullet-point approach leads to simplistic thinking, making his workers write papers instead, since the very act of writing forces them to focus their thinking and to explore their ideas. [Read more...]


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