sail2

What Does “Taking Ownership” Really Mean?

As we’ve described in pieces like “Self Management: A New Architecture” and “Why Is Micromanagement So Infectious?,” the crux of management exists in the meeting of the minds between what we term a sponsor and an owner. The fundamental act of delegation occurs when sponsor and owner agree upon a brief, giving the owner responsibility… Read more » Read more

Sol Lewitt

Why We Invest in Reviews and Rate Performance

GE made headlines with their decision to eliminate ratings. Accenture’s CEO announced in an interview with the Washington Post last year that they were eliminating their annual reviews: “We’re going to get rid of it. Not 100 percent, but we’re going to get rid of probably 90 percent of what we did in the past…. Read more » Read more

Volunteer Economy

Self-Management and the Volunteer Economy at Incandescent

Since the publication of Beyond the Holacracy Hype in HBR this summer, a number of people have asked me whether Incandescent has a form of self-managing organization.  For the most part, the firm operates in a clear but loose hierarchy, in which objectives are delegated from clear sponsors to owners who then have great latitude to… Read more » Read more

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Micromanagement 101 and Other Recent Adventures

After publishing Beyond the Holacracy Hype in the July-August issue of Harvard Business Review, we’ve followed up with two digital articles in HBR: How Self-Managed Companies Help People Learn on the Job (co-authored with Ethan Bernstein and Charlotte Dobbs), which lays out some personal learning experiments people can try whatever kind of environment they work… Read more » Read more

Feedback Flowers

Feedback in the Moment

Experience decays.  While some experiences stay with us vividly for years, most fade in hours.  Rapid feedback matters because it translates experience into learning while the experience is still alive for us.  This translates into registering whatever value there might be in the feedback more deeply, and into internalizing the learning more fully. Feedback in… Read more » Read more

Founder and COO

Founder & COO: Pulling Out the Tangles

Highly creative founder-CEOs almost inevitably reach a point where they want or need their companies to run better.  Often, this leads to the hiring of a Chief Operating Officer.  Perhaps no single pair in organizational life is as hard to manage as the founder/CEO and COO relationship. Part of the challenge of turning an obvious,… Read more » Read more

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On Working for the Wrong Boss

You’ve been living with this for a couple of years. You have a job that’s enviable: a company you like, a leader in its field with a culture you genuinely admire; high compensation, higher than you could readily replace; leadership of the function in which you’ve made your career. But you aren’t sure what to… Read more » Read more

What Work Is

Watching Others go to Work

In a meeting with my friend Jennifer McCrea, she described standing on the subway and experiencing an overwhelming sense of people being captives of their routines and their contexts. Montaigne wrote about a very similar idea, in his late essay “Of husbanding your will”:   Men give themselves for hire.  Their faculties are not for… Read more » Read more