Zappos Says Goodbye to Bosses

Jena McGregor writing on holacracy at Zappos:

In addition, there are no managers in the classically defined sense. Instead, there are people known as “lead links” who have the ability to assign employees to roles or remove them from them, but who are not in a position to actually tell people what to do. Decisions about what each role entails and how various teams should function are instead made by a governing process of people from each circle. Bunch does note, however, that at Zappos the broadest circles can to some extent tell sub-groups what they’re accountable for doing.

I had a hard time reading this post as it is so chocked full of ‘business consultant’ buzzwords that I couldn’t stop simultaneously giggling and rolling my eyes.

I don’t know much about the holacracy business structure, and Wikipedia has a rather vague look at it so I am guessing a bit here and trusting the article — but what it sounds like to me is a way of ‘rebranding’ managers. Let’s not call them managers, let’s call them “leads”, or what have you.

It’ll be interesting to see if this works out, but I just don’t see it scaling well. I bet it will work, but I bet it won’t fit the model set out.1

What strikes me as most interesting though: why would anyone want to work at a company like this?

If you worked at Zappos and wanted to apply for a job somewhere else — but you didn’t have a job title or management position — how in the world do you market yourself? “I was the circle lead for in-house development?”

What the fuck does that mean? ((Not that any job title anywhere makes any sense. “Senior Project Manager III”, huh?


  1. Meaning I bet there will still be managers, they just won’t be called managers. 

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Article Details

Published
by Ben Brooks
2 minutes to read.


tl;dr

Jena McGregor writing on holacracy at Zappos: In addition, there are no managers in the classically defined sense. Instead, there are people known as “lead links” who have the ability to assign employees to roles or remove them from them, but who are not in a position to actually tell people what to do. Decisions […]