The whole world is evolving at an unstoppable pace. There is a need to be flexible when reacting to changes and companies with rigid hierarchies can’t keep up. The solution could be holacracy (turquoise or self organised companies), which is what we are introducing here at SYNETECH. Holacratic management streamlines, speeds up processes, makes them more flexible and also allows businesses to create a closer relationship with their clients, which improves cooperation in every way. So what are the benefits and pitfalls of holacracy for companies and their clients?
What exactly is holacracy?
Whether we call the concept of “non-hierarchical” management holacracy, turquoise, or self organisation, they always have one common denominator - self-managed employees. The basis of this style of management is autonomous and self-sufficient teams, which together create a whole.Leadership no longer comes from the managers, instead the managers create the right environment for the development of these teams, defining their vision and common purpose. This is what resonates with us at SYNETECH, where unnecessary bureaucracy, superiority complexes and meaningless reporting never had their place. Freedom is one of the main pillars for us, which is why we decided to transform the company into a holacracy.
Vratislav Zima, CEO of Synetech, describes his vision of holacracy with these words: “For me, the ideal result of holacracy is a company full of professionals who understand the business, clients and development process from start to finish. These people pass on responsibility, they learn from mistakes and because they understand everything, they make informed decisions.”
Holacratic structure is in the form of circles that bring together relevant employees who are responsible for different particular areas. This brings the opportunity to solve problems and changes where they arise. According to our iOS platform guarantor Lukáš Růžička, one of the big advantages is: *“In the past, it took a while before an idea for a change could occur. Those ideas may not have even been that good, but they usually came from the loudest people. Now the change is decided directly by the people actually involved. The benefit of this is that ideas are now tested and evaluated at lower levels. We can decide what makes sense and what doesn’t.”*
In holacratic companies, the possibility of making decisions is thus transferred to the lower level teams. It is not expected that the “boss” will make the decisions about every change. Self-managing teams can come up with ideas and make decisions about changes themselves. However, this also goes hand in hand with a greater amount of responsibility, for both the consequences of these decisions as well as for the budgets that the teams manage themselves.
Is holacracy the future of organizations and companies?
The whole world is evolving at a pace that is sometimes difficult to keep up with. Change is almost constant and people and organizations must be prepared to respond flexibly. In a strictly hierarchical company, it’s hard to make a quick change. A self-governing person is more agile and much easier to adapt to change. Another factor is people’s attitude to work. We look for purpose in what we do, we want to feel fulfilled at work, to be satisfied and motivated. Companies must respond to this as well. Michal Šrajer, a coach from Happiness at Work, who is helping us with the transformation, has a clear opinion:
“I think this is another level of human cooperation. A lot of factors play a role here. We are living during the longest period of economic growth, without wars and are becoming more and more comfortable, so we are craving higher levels of self-fulfillment. We are learning to create organisations that match these ideals.”
Vratislav Zima also talks about a higher level of self-fulfillment as a motivation for change:
“My motivation for changing the structure was to make work easier for myself. From the very beginning I did not want to have a company built on a “bossy” structured, hierarchical regime. I want people to find their purpose working at SYNETECH, to have it resonate with them, to bring them joy… and for us all to move forward together.”
Holacracy can work miracles, but it is not for everyone
However, a holacratic way of running a business is not for everyone. It all starts with the individual, therefore people in the company must be set up a certain way. They need to be prepared to take responsibility. It is no longer just about completing tasks. Self organised companies force their employees to think about the goals of the team, which are linked to the goals of the company. They want to see the reasons behind decisions being made and come up with steps to reach team goals together. At the end of the day, some people may not be ready for such changes, which Michal Šrajer confirms:
“In many companies that have made a similar transformation, we can see that some people (it could be 30%) have left the company because they were not prepared for it.”
Vratislav Zima also shared his concerns:
“I have always liked self-management, but self organised organizations were quite incomprehensible to me. Maybe I didn’t have enough trust in people. I was afraid to give them responsibility thinking they might make bad decisions. But in the end we got there and I realized that the trust is there and there is nothing to fear… We need to be proactive rather than passive. Passivity is what hurts us the most. We want active people who challenge us. Not everything may not work, but no one is getting hurt. they will learn their lesson and try a new approach. This is the type of behavior that we should be cultivating more in our company as well as in the Czech Republic in general. ”
Of course, if the people in the company are active, wanting to progress, responsible and willing to work on themselves, then holacracy can work wonders. Processes in the company will become more efficient, everything will be faster and more agile. The teams will be able to effectively manage their activities and their direction of development. All this will lead to an overall improvement in the company, as well as satisfaction and self-realization of its employees.
Lukáš Růžička sees another advantage of holacracy in self managed teams:
“It will now be much easier to manage strategy, education and the knowledge base in general. By being separated by platforms and technologies (a team created on the basis of programming for a specific platform), we can better manage how we utilise this platform.”
What is holacracy in 2 minutes
The client also benefits from holacratic management
Holacracy is not only beneficial for the company and its employees, the effect of the flatter structure can be seen externally by its clients also. You can say that the boundaries between the client and the company are blurring and they are becoming one team with a common goal. Michal Šrajer describes it in even more detail:
“Some clients directly build joint teams. The goal of these teams is neither to milk a ton of money from the client nor to have a product made as cheap as possible. Instead, they work together on a meaningful assignment, the result of which they want to deliver. The agile approach is applied across the whole organization, not just within the work load.”
Getting more people from the company in contact with the client benefits the overall perception of the product and work spent on it. The client is no longer something abstract, they are closer to the company and the company’s employees understand their vision, needs and unique approach. It is then much easier to help them make decisions and direct their next steps. Both sides are on the same boat.
It may not seem possible in reality, and if so, only for smaller companies, but one good example is the Dutch company Buurtzorg. It has thousands of employees and yet has managed to transform into a successful holacratic company. Michal Šrajer says:
“Everyone laughed at the founder of Buurtzorg, Jos de Blok, saying that holacracy is nonsense and cannot work. They are now the largest home care provider in the Netherlands. They have a lot of branches all over the country, so you wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s one company. He replaced companies based on traditional hierarchies and completely eliminated all his competitors.”
What is the future of organizations and companies?
The truth is that times are changing and we need to respond to them. Tomáš Baťa and his self-governing workshops were already the forerunners of the holacracy and following in his footsteps, smaller and self-sufficient teams probably seem to be a necessary step for further development.
Michal Šrajer concludes as follows:
“I think that new companies will start to emerge that will solve the same problems, but will be built on slightly better principles. They can better respond to the changing world and the previous generation of companies will gradually disappear. Also x years ago, no one believed that anyone could subdue the king of mobile phones, Nokia. And look at where we are now. This will be seen in other fields as well. More agile, smaller and gradually growing companies, built on new principles, will emerge.” Looks like there’s something to look forward to 😉
Want to know more about holacracy or turquoise? Or do you want to work with us to develop mobile applications? Get in touch.