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2014′s Coming Post-It Corporate Holacracy

by Jan 3, 2014, 12:25 am ET

sticky notesHave you considered remaking your company into a Holacracy using plenty of Post-Its?

This is a task only for the most stout-hearted of HR pros, who should probably have a fully-funded 401(k) before rising at the table they just joined in 2014 to suggest doing away with the table all together.

What, you ask, is a Holacracy? And what does it have to do with Post-Its?

Let’s start with the Post-Its, mostly because there’s this cool video to go along with it.

Tom Hood, CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs, runs the shop with a sharp pen and a pocket full of sticky notes. It’s Managing By Sticky Notes, he says, because they “make your ideas portable and your thinking visible to others.”

“The magic behind this sticky note obsession is actually collaboration and participation,” writes Hood, citing a baker’s half-dozen of ways the organization has used sticky notes in the last year.

These little yellow notes might not be such a big deal to you, but as Zappos gets ever deeper into Holacratizing itself, there could be a run on Post-Its.

A Holacracy, according to the consultancy that coined the term and developed the concept, is “a comprehensive practice for structuring, governing, and running an organization. It replaces today’s top-down predict-and-control paradigm with a new way of achieving control by distributing power.”

To put it another way, as writer Aimee Groth did, what’s happening at Zappos is the elimination of managers and job titles to create a self-governing system made up of something like 400 circles of workers who will make decisions and run the day-to-day stuff.

Sounds like fun for a company that awards gift cards to employees who jump at the chance of spending time in a case full of tarantulas and pays workers to quit.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  • Martin Snyder

    So it turns out there were lots of hominids, not just Neanderthals as we all thought….and so maybe the smartest hominids did not prevail, rather the most violent…

    http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/12/video-fossil-cache-yields-multiple-ancient-hominids/

    Why might that pertain? Because organizational structure is pretty baked into our wetware, and I have strong doubts that a recent innovation like Holocracy is going anywhere, at scale at least……

  • Olivier Compagne

    I work with HolacracyOne, the company behind Holacracy®. Just to clarify, Holacracy has nothing to do with post-its or other cool techniques to work more efficiently… and it’s not just a “flat organization”. It’s a system with specific rules that are explicitly defined in the Holacracy Constitution http://holacracy.org/constitution

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