Zappos Sheds Hierarchy (?)

Source: Forbes, Jul 2014

This past November, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh first announced that would soon become a “self-governing” system, aiming to have transparency among all workers. Known as Holacracy, this type of management style encourages self lead workers and teams of workers – also recognized as circles – with Zappos planning to have around 400 circles by the end of their roll out in December 2014. Additionally, Zappos has begun to identify their approach to Holocracy, stating that there are two key elements in which they will follow. According to, they are:

  • Distributed authority – Allows people the chance to evolve the structure the organization, responding to real-world conditions
  • Self-organization – Each person is given the authority to take any action useful to express their purpose, as long as such action doesn’t violate the Domain of another role

 one of the side effects of encouraging weirdness is that it encourages people to think outside the box and be more innovative.

With employees seemingly the key to the Holocracy equation, it’s vital to consider what types of employees would make sense working within this type of environment. For, that meant clearly identifying the type of person they aim to have working on their team. In a document shared from management at Zappos, the following was outlined as the ideal candidate to work for

You are self- motivated, and you thrive off working with others who have the same get – stuff – done mentality.

You think like an entrepreneur, constantly innovating and driving positive change through your actions.

You love challenges – the bigger the better.

You like being treated like an adult, but can have fun like a kid. The words “cog in the machine” make you cringe.

The opportunity to improve yourself, those around you, and the company you work for excites you so much that you just did a little jig in your chair.”

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