What are the benefits of self-management and self-organization?
High level, you have less layers between your employees and your customers. So you get faster and more creative decisions that improve customer satisfaction.
Was it easy to implement self-management?
Definitely not. It was a new venture for us and we had to overcome a lot of hurdles to get to where we are. However, the hindsight of our challenges has also taught us a lot, which will surely benefit us as we continue evolving and moving forward.
Do you really have no managers?
Yes and no. We still have leaders and a lot of people associate leadership with management. We still need people to hold others accountable and terminate people when necessary. In traditional structures only managers/execs have the authority to make changes/decisions. In our organization everyone has the authority to make changes to the company and decisions in their work.
Can people really do whatever they want?
It is a common misconception that in order to be self-managed people can do whatever they want. When true self-management is happening, people understand exactly what is expected of them and then have the ability to do what they think is best to get that done. The clearer the goals and expectations, we found, the more effective it is to self-manage. There are still rules and guidelines - job specific and Zappos culture specific - that people must adhere to. Everything we do must also remain compliant and legal. The key is communicating to employees that we want folks to find the intersection between what they are passionate about, good at, fulfills the purpose of the company, and is in the best interest of Zappos.