To Wearing Many Hats

To Wearing Many Hats

Both at work and for an accessory

In a startup environment, you get to wear many hats. As the first employee at a successful Cloud SaaS provider startup, Geckotech, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn all areas of the business. 

As organizations mature, varied options to actively help across departments and levels of empowerment create boundaries that impact the overall efficiency. In our world of rapid technology changes, constant communication, access to global talent, and information at our fingertips, organizations must be agile.

Holacracy fundamentally changes the way workers organize around work: there is an explicit distinction made between Roles and Souls — a description of the work to be done and the people who do it. An individual worker may hold many Roles. Roles working together on related work are grouped together into teams called Circles. Each Circle has a leader (Holacracy’s analog to a manager) called the Lead Link.

Why limit people when expertise can be leveraged in all areas and adapt with the business? Holacracy streamlines decision making using objections to proposals vs. consensus from everyone. It includes built in checks and balances and gives everyone empowerment as a leader. Not only does this structure allow people flexibility, the organization remains agile with the ability to define minimal roles required to achieve the current initiative.

Known for its employee focus and ‘Wow’ customer service, Zappos publicly announced its Holacracy adoption. Tony Hsieh comments on why they chose Holacracy.

Research shows that every time the size of a city doubles, innovation or productivity per resident increases by 15 percent. But when companies get bigger, innovation or productivity per employee generally goes down. So we’re trying to figure out how to structure Zappos more like a city, and less like a bureaucratic corporation. In a city, people and businesses are self-organizing. We’re trying to do the same thing by switching from a normal hierarchical structure to a system called Holacracy, which enables employees to act more like entrepreneurs and self-direct their work instead of reporting to a manager who tells them what to do.
— Tony Hsieh

In the end, whether an organization chooses to remain in a basic top-down hierarchy, adopt cross functional best practices like ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), or embrace the distributed authority system of Holacracy - roles need to be clearly defined and aligned to the initiatives.

What are your thoughts on Holacracy?

Yours Truly


Website quote references:



Picture from Zappos link