Originally published on his own personal Medium blog, Matt shares his take on all the changes happening around the office.
Leadership within a traditional hierarchical structure is the one with which most organizations are familiar: a top-down format within a triangle where managers are the main decision makers. So what happens when that structure becomes a hierarchy of work rather than a hierarchy of people? How is leadership in self-organization different?
One of the great things about Holacracy is that each individual, in absence of direction from others, is encouraged to set his or her own priorities. This is one way Holacracy empowers you to control your work and achieve your goals.
Governance is the process of determining the work we would do as an organization if we had unlimited time and resources. This process does not contemplate people, but only work. The governance of your circle should break down the purposes and accountabilities given to it from the super-circle.
I am frequently asked: "What does leadership look like in Holacracy?" To answer that question it is necessary to examine one of the core tenets of Holacracy: distributed authority.
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Great culture leads to employee happiness. The same way a toxic culture leads to unhappiness. Happy employees means higher engagement, profitability, and low turnover.
Our culture would not be what is it today without the people, past and present. We are all protectors and cultivators of the Zappos Culture; it's what makes it unique and something that changes every day.
I love that I get to be me all day. The culture encourages you to be the same person you are at work as you are at home. I don't have to pretend to be something I'm not, which makes Zappos a comfortable place to be.
Every company has a unique culture that's all their own. Just like every person has their own personality, every company has their own culture. Building a culture is a special process that can't be taken lightly. It's the responsibility of every employee to represent and foster culture.
Work can be fun! We have 2 annual parties at Zappos. Our Vendor Party where we invite all of our brands to thank them and celebrate our partnership. And, our employee holiday party. Past epic party themes have ranged from Mardi Gras and old-school hip-hop to a Hawaiian luau at a waterpark. Each has had its own twists and tricks to surprise and delight partygoers. This year, we invited our vendors to run away with us to the “Untamed Circus."
Your culture doesn't stay the same, it will continue to evolve. Having a defined set of values will serve as your guide to continue your culture's growth and evolution in a positive direction.
Not Always Measured
A strong culture means lower employee burnout and therefore, lower turnover. It leads to higher employee engagement and higher profitability. But really, companies should focus on their culture because it matters. Because it's just the right thing to do. To quote Tony Hsieh, "Just because you can’t measure the ROI of something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. What’s the ROI on hugging your mom?"
Companies and employees worry about work-life separation or work-life balance. But why? Wouldn't you rather be a company where your employees easily combine their full self into everything they do? Wouldn't you rather work for a company whose focus on culture allows your job to integrate with your life? It shouldn't be a struggle to find a balance between life and work where you are truly fulfilled and happy.
Your vendors have the same objective as you: to sell their product, be successful in their work, and maybe have some fun while doing it. Something unique that Zappos does is allow brand representatives access to all the same sales and inventory information on their products that Zappos has. By working as a team, by partnering, you are setting the stage for success!