“The current management structure is not necessary to successfully run your company.” Such were the first words Ron CAOUA - Director Business Intelligence at Morning Star Company - chose to start his speech about self-management at the World Forum Lille 2012. “In our company, language means a lot” he added. Defining self-management as “Planning, organizing, staffing, directing, controlling”, he laid down the “Flat Line” philosophy on which was built the Morning Star Company, where they believe management is not the affair of a single person or a group of bosses only, but more about "pushing out all manager functions to all employees”.
“Rather than saying we don’t have bosses, everybody’s a boss. They just don’t have employees to tell’em what to do. Everybody is an equal as far as ability to get things done.” Basically, self-management is based on two cornerstones, that are committed collaboration - people should not have to use force to get others to do things - and integrity - People should do what they said they would, what they committed to.
What’s unique about self management? “There are no titles or formal higher hierarchy, but a dynamic informal hierarchy instead. It’s all about social capital, just a network of people that interact with each other”. And this is probably where the key to success is to be found: It is believed that when people feel good about themselves, they tend to “think, innovate & communicate better”. What makes people feel good? Having control over their lives, feel no pressure.
Each employee is seen as an expert in the field he operates and should therefore be in a position to determine alone what needs to be done, and who needs to know about it. “Personal commercial mission is your guiding force and must be in line with the company’s mission. You don’t make a decision without communicating with colleagues that should be affected by it. But there needs to be an understanding on what deserves to be communicated and debated upon, and with who.”
To measure and control employees’ performance, the only tool used is KPIs dashboards. As your own manager, you can then easily realize whether you’re part of the performers, or not. And if those reflect you are not performing well, you don’t get fired. You should know you got to quit. “We’ll simply recommend you to leave…”
What do you think about the concept? How do you feel about your own management system? Would you feel more productive this way?