Leadership 2.0: Holacracy and Other Org Structures

What is a holacracy? While it might sound like a name for a future dystopian society, it’s actually more widely spoken about – and accepted – than you think. In its most basic definition, a holacracy is an egalitarian leadership style. Instead of following a strict, hierarchical organizational structure, companies such as the online retailer Zappos or the online publishing platform Medium are doing away with traditional managerial roles and titles and replacing them with a self-governed, self-organized company distribution of power.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh explained that whenever the size of a city doubles, the amount of productivity and innovation per resident increases by 15 percent, yet whenever companies grow larger, these levels go down.

leadership“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,” Hsieh said. “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.”

While radical, this “flattened organizational” approach does not completely do away with structure, it just dramatically redefines it. Information is generally openly accessible and major decisions are made in company meetings, not just behind closed doors. Essentially, most voices have weight in this specific organizational style.

Does it work?

Numerous studies do show that certain companies with flat organizational structures do tend to outperform their hierarchical peers. However, a Harvard Business Review article pointed out that this leadership structure works best when the company-wide focus is on improving innovation, everyone shares a committed purpose and the environment is evolving rapidly.

While many smaller organizations have found success with their holacracy, recent rises in Zappos​’s turnover rate may prove otherwise. Following the transition to a holacracy, Hsieh offered a buyout for any employee who does not want to continue under the new organizational structure.

As a result, the retailer lost an estimated one-third of their employee base, including many of its senior members. Meanwhile, it fell off Fortune’s ranking for the 100 Best Companies to Work after being a long-standing member for seven years. Zappos​’s turnover rate for 2015 was at 30 percent, which is 10 percentage points above its typical yearly attrition rate, according to The Atlantic.

What about other less drastic organizational styles?

You don’t have to completely abandon your company’s hierarchy to achieve an innovative flow of information. Sometimes, companies such as Starbucks or Southwest Airlines, leverage existing hierarchies and structures to enable their employees to make region or location specific decisions that meet their unique needs.

To focus on its global needs, Starbucks implemented a three-region organizational structure in 2011, which includes: China and Asia Pacific, the Americas, and Europe, Middle East, Russia and Africa. Within the U.S., there are further divisions, including the northwest, the west, southeast and northeast.

Each region has its own senior vice president to provide area-specific support each location encounters. Therefore, while each Starbucks manager has to adhere to their superiors, they actually report to two: their corporate head and their geographic VP. This way, their unique voice isn’t lost in a vast corporate sea.

While the holacracy leadership 2.0 structure may work for certain companies, it might not be the right choice for all. Consider the various benefits and shortcomings to many types of organizational approaches to discover precisely what option might be right for your business.

Don’t Need to Be Up at 3 a.m. for a Webinar

It’s 3 a.m. on a Friday morning and you’re getting up to give a webinar presentation you’ve given a million times before. The slides were perfected last year. And you can give this presentation in your sleep, which is good because you’re groggy. It’s for a UK audience and as you slurp your first, but not last, cup of coffee, you wonder … why in the heck you’re up in the middle of the night for another webinar presentation.

You don’t have to be. And it’s not because webinars aren’t useful. In fact, Entrepreneur calls video content, including webinars, “seductive” because they influence buying decisions.

Welcome to the wonderful world of pre-recordings

Simulive is a ReadyTalk webinar product that enables you to broadcast a recorded webinar in a live format, with intros and outros from live moderators. It feels like a live webinar. You can take questions like a live webinar. And yet, you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to give a presentation.

Repeatable information made simple and consistent

Better still, our managed service simplifies the distribution of repeatable information, ensures quality control and consistency, and still allows for follow-up with leads through our integration with Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot and Salesforce.

Right, because ReadyTalk integrates with Marketo and Salesforce, your lead capture and follow-up is a lot easier. Getting those leads in the hands of sales is faster, too.

And you can do it yourself, without us

For the first time, we’re about to roll out a do-it-yourself (DIY) version of the service later this year. This makes it that much easier for you to pre-record content when you’re ready.

We’re still going to offer managed services for Simulive events, where a ReadyTalk event specialist is helping orchestrate your webinar for you. But now you have the choice.

Managed Simulive or DIY Simulive?


For those webinar veterans who know where the pitfalls might lie but don’t want to give the same old webinar yet again, the DIY service is for you.

For those who still want to capture leads and present good content for people, but may not be webinar experts, managed services are right up your alley. Our ReadyTalk professionals are happy to assist.

Time and money

Take time to evaluate whether the money saved is worth the time spent. DIY events save money, but require much more time to organize and moderate. If that sounds like too much, consider a little extra help.

That being said, the inverse can be true as well. If you have some spare time and you hope to host more webinars in future, it might be worth learning how to do them on your own.


How high are the stakes?

What are you planning to use your webinar for? Is it lead gen, training for new customers, or the long-awaited roll-out of a new product? Did you pay a speaker a lot of money?

If everything needs to go off without a hitch, it’s worth the extra money to make sure all bases are covered. Getting a webinar just right can be difficult and stressful, but luckily we’ve been practicing for a while. We’re more than happy to make sure things run smoothly from a-z, so you and your business can operate the way you need to.