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1 
FLAT - the eBook 
How to fuel innovation, speed, and culture without managers 
http://www.hivewyre.com/flat-ebook/
2
• Intro 
• Leaders vs. Managers 
• Commitment Loop 
• Client Letter of Commitments (CLC) 
• Alignment 
• Hiring, Firing, C...
4 
Our founding fathers didn’t set their 
sites on making a better monarchy, 
they sought to supplant it 
Freedom
5 
• Most important factor to workplace 
satisfaction 
• We want to do things our way 
• If you want “A-Players”, you have...
6 
Responsibility is freedom’s twin
• The new battle that our country faces to 
7 
remain a competitive force hinges on 
creativity and innovation 
• Today’s ...
8 
Leaders vs. Managers
9 
“Management did not emanate from nature, someone 
invented it. Management is great if you want compliance, 
but if you ...
Natural leadership is defined by 
natural followership 
10
11 
• Managers don’t lead companies, 
leaders do 
• People don’t leave companies, they 
leave managers 
Leaders vs. Manage...
12 
Typically, key positions often go to 
those who are the most politically 
astute vs. the competent 
Leaders vs. Manage...
13 
Power is ‘sticky’ 
It doesn’t typically flow from an 
individual who is less capable to 
someone that’s more
14 
Typically, key positions often go to those who are 
the most politically astute vs. the competent
15 
When you take out the pyramid, you 
drain most of the poison out
16 
Commitment Loop
The core of a flat structure is making and 
keeping commitments 
17 
Persuade vs. Dictate 
Commitment 
Loop
18 
3.) If needed, negotiate a new 
commitment if you can 
4.) Meet the 
commitment 
2.) Agree on a 
Commitment 
1.) Colle...
19 
Keeping commitments creates 
economic value and makes you as 
an individual and the enterprise you 
work within more v...
20 
• A goal is something you aspire to 
achieve 
• A goal is NOT a commitment 
• Consistently making and keeping 
commitm...
21 
Making a commitment should be 
voluntary 
Nobody should have the ability to 
force a commitment 
Commitment 
Loop
22 
Client Letter of Commitments 
(CLC Doc) Pronounced Click Doc
23 
• Clients are internal and external 
• Document that outlines key 
commitments 
• Commitments happen every day that 
a...
24 
Commitments go well beyond what’s 
in a CLC doc 
Any time you say your going to do 
something and when you’re going to...
25 
Client Letter of 
Commitments 
In-Practice 
• Include commitments to core values 
• Utilize technology to ensure curre...
26 
Client Letter of 
Commitments 
In-Practice 
• Google’s process for establishing 
quantified objectives 
http://tcrn.ch...
27 
Alignment
28 
Alignment 
• Key to establishing consistency 
• Top of the food chain is alignment to 
company values 
• Mission and v...
29 
Alignment “Make meaning!” – Guy Kawasaki
30 
Alignment 
If autonomy is the #1 element that A-players 
need to be happy, purpose is a 
close second 
Create alignmen...
31 
Hiring, Firing and 
Compensation
32 
Hiring 
Firing 
Compensation 
• No single person can carry a hammer 
(fire someone) 
• No individual can change your 
...
33 
Hiring 
Firing 
Compensation 
In-Practice 
• Colleagues should be encouraged to work out issues with their 
colleagues...
34 
Exceptions: 
If you feel in danger, threatened or harassed you will not be 
expected to have a group mediation 
If it’...
35 
What is a Commitment Mediation 
• Colleague not meeting agreed to 
commitments 
• The perception that a colleague is 
...
36 
Commitment Mediation 
• There must be 3 mediators in attendance 
• Meeting will take place ASAP 
• The mediators are t...
Mediators should be senior leaders in the 
company that have experience in dealing 
with conflict resolution 
Mediators sh...
Compensation Committee 
• Includes senior most leadership 
• Every new colleague and existing colleagues compensation must...
39 
A Culture of Process
• Processes are sequences of procedures 
40 
that create value for your clients 
(internal or external) 
• Processes add s...
41 
• Rules are not process 
• Rules are typically in place to help 
prevent individuals from making 
mistakes 
• Rules st...
A process mindset thinks beyond individual 
quirks, personalities and conflicts 
A process culture values its processes an...
An enterprise with a process mindset will 
always have a strategic competitive 
advantage over an organization that 
doesn...
44 
• Utilize technology to create and 
maintain process descriptions 
• Must be current, updated and tracked 
We utilize ...
45 
The Goodie Box
46 
Titles 
• We allow individuals to create the title 
that best describes their position 
• We do not allow director, VP...
47 
Time Off 
• It’s up to each colleague 
• We do not track time off 
• Most of the time you have to force A-Players 
to ...
48 
Reviews 
• Nobody likes annual or semi-annual 
reviews 
• We don’t do them 
• Foster regular communication 
• Market (...
49 
Conclusion
50 
• More initiative driven by “reputational capital” 
• More expertise – the experts aren’t managers, it’s the people do...
51 
• Recruiting and retention – this ain’t for everyone 
• Holding each other accountable - “hey, I’ll go easy on you if ...
52 
Success hinges on healthy confrontation
53 
Resources 
Beyond Empowerment: The Age of the Self-Managed 
Organization 
By Doug Kirkpatrick 
Morning Star Self-Manag...
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Flat - The eBook How to fuel innovation, speed, and culture without managers

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Flat - The eBook How to fuel innovation, speed, and culture without managers.
“Management did not emanate from nature, someone invented it. Management is great if you want compliance, but if you want engagement, self-direction is better.” Dan Pink, author of Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

The world today creates more and more urgency for companies to move faster, adapt quicker, and innovate higher. Doing so is required just to stay alive, and multi-layered organizations are at a disadvantage based on their bloated structure alone.

In this free eBook, learn how a progressive new startup is changing the way companies get things done by eliminating the traditional management structure and providing a new level of autonomy for it’s employees. While others are still operating in the last century’s paradigm, adhesive.co is laying the groundwork for how companies must operate in today’s marketplace.

With near-ubiquitous access to technology, the new battle that our country faces to remain a competitive force hinges on creativity and innovation. Today’s most creative and innovative companies recognize this and have made a conscious effort to focus their cultures on freedom and choice as a means of fostering innovation. The practice of creating and operating a flat organization elevates these core values above all else by empowering employees, rather than restricting them with messy rules and hierarchy.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast!” Peter Drucker

Our founding fathers didn’t aim to create a better monarchy; they sought to supplant the concept of a monarchy entirely. They wanted something more, something to replace the voice of few with the voice of all. They set the stage for what would become the most prosperous nation on the planet based on a core tenet: freedom.

Our country operates on civil (“Do what you say you’re going to do”) and criminal (“Do no harm”) laws, and within this framework we’ve thrived and prospered. We the authors believe that a company, like a country, can thrive with the same balance of freedom and structure.

We all want freedom and autonomy. We want to do the things we want to do, and we want to do them the way we feel they should be done. We want to do it our way. The ability (or lack thereof) to do so is arguably the most important factor when it comes to our workplace satisfaction. Why is it we feel that if we extend that level of freedom throughout the workplace the entire company will just fall to the ground? Surely nobody will show up for work and nothing will get done, says conventional wisdom. Letting employees dictate their own schedules, purchase resources from the company checkbook without approval, and taking unlimited vacation time is just a recipe for disaster. We must hire managers to babysit our adult workforce to keep order and productivity in line. Companies think they just can’t function without the typical command and control we’ve grown accustom to.

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Flat - The eBook How to fuel innovation, speed, and culture without managers

  1. 1. 1 FLAT - the eBook How to fuel innovation, speed, and culture without managers http://www.hivewyre.com/flat-ebook/
  2. 2. 2
  3. 3. • Intro • Leaders vs. Managers • Commitment Loop • Client Letter of Commitments (CLC) • Alignment • Hiring, Firing, Compensation • A Culture of Process • The Goodie Box • Conclusion 3 Chapters
  4. 4. 4 Our founding fathers didn’t set their sites on making a better monarchy, they sought to supplant it Freedom
  5. 5. 5 • Most important factor to workplace satisfaction • We want to do things our way • If you want “A-Players”, you have to provide it Autonomy
  6. 6. 6 Responsibility is freedom’s twin
  7. 7. • The new battle that our country faces to 7 remain a competitive force hinges on creativity and innovation • Today’s most creative and innovative companies recognize this • Their future hinges on developing cultures of freedom and choices to foster innovation Autonomy
  8. 8. 8 Leaders vs. Managers
  9. 9. 9 “Management did not emanate from nature, someone invented it. Management is great if you want compliance, but if you want engagement, self-direction is better.” Dan Pink, author of Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
  10. 10. Natural leadership is defined by natural followership 10
  11. 11. 11 • Managers don’t lead companies, leaders do • People don’t leave companies, they leave managers Leaders vs. Managers
  12. 12. 12 Typically, key positions often go to those who are the most politically astute vs. the competent Leaders vs. Managers
  13. 13. 13 Power is ‘sticky’ It doesn’t typically flow from an individual who is less capable to someone that’s more
  14. 14. 14 Typically, key positions often go to those who are the most politically astute vs. the competent
  15. 15. 15 When you take out the pyramid, you drain most of the poison out
  16. 16. 16 Commitment Loop
  17. 17. The core of a flat structure is making and keeping commitments 17 Persuade vs. Dictate Commitment Loop
  18. 18. 18 3.) If needed, negotiate a new commitment if you can 4.) Meet the commitment 2.) Agree on a Commitment 1.) Colleague asks you for a commitment
  19. 19. 19 Keeping commitments creates economic value and makes you as an individual and the enterprise you work within more valuable Commitment Loop
  20. 20. 20 • A goal is something you aspire to achieve • A goal is NOT a commitment • Consistently making and keeping commitments is the core of being flat Commitment Loop
  21. 21. 21 Making a commitment should be voluntary Nobody should have the ability to force a commitment Commitment Loop
  22. 22. 22 Client Letter of Commitments (CLC Doc) Pronounced Click Doc
  23. 23. 23 • Clients are internal and external • Document that outlines key commitments • Commitments happen every day that are not in a CLC • Not a list of goals Client Letter of Commitments
  24. 24. 24 Commitments go well beyond what’s in a CLC doc Any time you say your going to do something and when you’re going to have it done by, it’s a commitment Client Letter of Commitments
  25. 25. 25 Client Letter of Commitments In-Practice • Include commitments to core values • Utilize technology to ensure current and tracked We utilize Confluence from Atlassian • Always include dates • Must be objective
  26. 26. 26 Client Letter of Commitments In-Practice • Google’s process for establishing quantified objectives http://tcrn.ch/1lv5AUx
  27. 27. 27 Alignment
  28. 28. 28 Alignment • Key to establishing consistency • Top of the food chain is alignment to company values • Mission and vision statements • Financial objectives • Purpose
  29. 29. 29 Alignment “Make meaning!” – Guy Kawasaki
  30. 30. 30 Alignment If autonomy is the #1 element that A-players need to be happy, purpose is a close second Create alignment and drive by answering the questions; “Why are we here? What is our purpose?”
  31. 31. 31 Hiring, Firing and Compensation
  32. 32. 32 Hiring Firing Compensation • No single person can carry a hammer (fire someone) • No individual can change your compensation • No coercion • Persuade vs. dictate
  33. 33. 33 Hiring Firing Compensation In-Practice • Colleagues should be encouraged to work out issues with their colleagues on their own whenever possible • If a colleague has an issue with a fellow colleague that cannot be worked out, they can ask for mediation • Colleagues cannot meet with a mediator on their own to discuss issues about a fellow colleague • Use of a mediator should be a last resort, not a first one • Mediators should provide input and advice on the situation and request that the parties work out their difference • If both parties cannot agree, then a second mediation will take place with 3 or more mediators • Mediators will make a final ruling that all parties must agree to
  34. 34. 34 Exceptions: If you feel in danger, threatened or harassed you will not be expected to have a group mediation If it’s proven that someone is threatening a colleague, causes them harm, engages in illegal activities or harassment, then a senior leader in the company could immediately dismiss them if they find merit in the accusations and bypass the mediation process Hiring Firing Compensation In-Practice
  35. 35. 35 What is a Commitment Mediation • Colleague not meeting agreed to commitments • The perception that a colleague is sandbagging on their commitments • Colleague not agreeing to commitments that are reasonable for the role they’re in Hiring Firing Compensation In-Practice
  36. 36. 36 Commitment Mediation • There must be 3 mediators in attendance • Meeting will take place ASAP • The mediators are there to review facts • Colleagues have the burden of proving that a fellow colleague has not met their commitments • Only objective commitments are reviewed • What are some of the things you can you expect • Guidance from the mediators and a request that the individuals continue to work out their differences • Possible termination • A recommendation that a colleague take a new position in the company that might better fit their skill level Hiring Firing Compensation In-Practice
  37. 37. Mediators should be senior leaders in the company that have experience in dealing with conflict resolution Mediators should be chosen by the organization and will include a process by which they become mediators 37 Hiring Firing Compensation In-Practice
  38. 38. Compensation Committee • Includes senior most leadership • Every new colleague and existing colleagues compensation must be 38 produced and agreed to by a majority of the comp committee • Pay will be a reflection of the following: • Market data • Commitments and ability to meet them • At any time, a colleague can request that the comp committee review their current pay and commitments and ask for a comp review based on the fact they have increased their commitments or the market has changed • Encourage colleagues to bring offers to the comp committee Hiring Firing Compensation In-Practice
  39. 39. 39 A Culture of Process
  40. 40. • Processes are sequences of procedures 40 that create value for your clients (internal or external) • Processes add strategic value • Documented processes are key to a self-managed organization A Culture of Process
  41. 41. 41 • Rules are not process • Rules are typically in place to help prevent individuals from making mistakes • Rules stifle innovation and creativity • A culture of rules will drive A-Players out A Culture of Process
  42. 42. A process mindset thinks beyond individual quirks, personalities and conflicts A process culture values its processes and seeks independence from individual knowledge and ‘turf’ 42 A Culture of Process
  43. 43. An enterprise with a process mindset will always have a strategic competitive advantage over an organization that doesn’t – because a process culture leads to continuous improvement 43 A Culture of Process
  44. 44. 44 • Utilize technology to create and maintain process descriptions • Must be current, updated and tracked We utilize Confluence from Atlassian • Anyone can change or cause change to a given process (Toyota employee stopping the production line) A Culture of Process In-Practice
  45. 45. 45 The Goodie Box
  46. 46. 46 Titles • We allow individuals to create the title that best describes their position • We do not allow director, VP or other title descriptions that point to hierarchy The Goodie Box
  47. 47. 47 Time Off • It’s up to each colleague • We do not track time off • Most of the time you have to force A-Players to take the time • We also don’t ‘pay-out’ when an employee leaves for not taking vacation time – defeats the purpose of time off The Goodie Box
  48. 48. 48 Reviews • Nobody likes annual or semi-annual reviews • We don’t do them • Foster regular communication • Market (or market+) based pay • 360 reviews are great for feedback on growth opportunities • Should not be used as a ‘hammer’ The Goodie Box
  49. 49. 49 Conclusion
  50. 50. 50 • More initiative driven by “reputational capital” • More expertise – the experts aren’t managers, it’s the people doing the work • More flexibility – “Clouds form and go away” • More collegiality – no backsides to kiss and no adversaries to elbow aside – “there’s less back-stabbing because we’re not competing for that scarce commodity called a promotion” • More judgment – Sr. managers make decisions that appear to be brilliant but boneheaded by those on the front lines because they lack context • More loyalty • Less overhead – layers of people telling other people what to do Benefits
  51. 51. 51 • Recruiting and retention – this ain’t for everyone • Holding each other accountable - “hey, I’ll go easy on you if you go easy on me” • Growth through acquisition is not realistic • Tracking career progress – it’s all about the title Challenges
  52. 52. 52 Success hinges on healthy confrontation
  53. 53. 53 Resources Beyond Empowerment: The Age of the Self-Managed Organization By Doug Kirkpatrick Morning Star Self-Management Institute http://amzn.com/0615470149 “First, Let’s Fire All the Managers” By Greg Hamel Harvard Business Review, Dec 2011 http://bit.ly/1cFP0Lo Flattening Hierarchy to Lift Creativity (Abstract) By Bernardo Grilo, Diogo Nunes, and Sofia Vistas Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler McGraw Hill http://amzn.com/0071771328 “Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility” By Reed Hastings Slideshare http://slidesha.re/18kXY4G

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