How is cross-communication built in self-organized companies? Nearsoft’s experience.
On September 28th the 2nd Stream of our Silicon Valley Online Bootcamp started. One of the three American speakers in our program was Matt Perez, co-founder of Nearsoft.Inc.
The company has been on the market since 2007 and specializes in software development. Nearsoft is a vivid example of a “turquoise organization”, whose representatives are characterized by holocratic (self-organizing) business organization.
Sharing part of Matt’s talk from our conference:
“Our company was founded in 2007 in Mexico. In the beginning it was very hard for us to find developers – any developers, even bad ones. Later we saw a book called “Maverick” (by Ricardo Semler) about a Brazilian company called Semco whose experience we decided to adopt.
Now the company already has 4,000 employees and not a single manager. How did we manage to transform from 300 people to 4,000 without any managers?
- It is important to make the right decisions. For this purpose it is necessary that absolutely each employee, if he or she finds any error, informs about it. This is what a true leader does.
- In the beginning there were only five or six people in the company who self-organized and started working on an all-hands-on-deck basis. They consulted with many people in the company, because their decision would affect everyone. In the end, if everyone was in favor, the decision was made, and if there was even one person against it, they MUST listen to him, and if necessary, roll back and think about how the problem could be solved all over again. But there was never a vote in the company! Voting is something negative and aggressive, it is resorted to when people have little information.
- Once a month our company has a meeting where ALL the numbers are opened up. We talk about how many people were hired this month, how many were lost. Usually people leave when they find a place to fulfill their potentials better. We wish such people good luck and hold farewell parties.
- Everyone in the company can find out all their team numbers if they want to. If you want to know your colleague’s salary, they will tell you in the accounting department. If there are problems with any person, if he refuses to answer any questions, or does not want to work with you, you can question his cooperation with the company.
- If there are problems of a personal nature, colleagues support each other. For example, an employee could call his colleague’s parents to come and pick up a deeply depressed person.
To do this, it was first important to establish the principle of openness to each other. The main thing was to create a comfortable, warm environment where no one would tease each other with this openness, so that there would be no need to assess emotional intelligence, so that all employees would feel safe, including emotionally.
How do you make a company make millions and everyone knows what to do?
In a company like this, it’s not the employees that have to work, it’s the allies.
Every year we sat down and thought about what we created the company for. Our goal was not to make money, but to benefit people. If you want people to move in one direction, you just have to show that direction, make that direction open.
Separately, I would like to address the issue of conflicts. If I have a conflict with you, then a priori there will be an issue of bias between us, I will disagree with you more than I will agree. Usually in such a situation you go to the boss and complain about me, I, in turn, do the same thing, and only the boss decides who to fire and who not to.
In this case you have to teach people to talk to each other, or you have to assign this problem to a facilitator who solves interpersonal problems.