Self-manage means that everyone that fills a role has a clear definition of his role purpose, the resources he is responsible for, and his accountabilities. Once someone assigned to fill a position, he is the decision maker for this role. He might need to consult with other functions before making a decision, but he is the decision maker. There is no manager that he needs to ask for permission or report to.
I know and aware of all the criticism from people that believe management and hierarchy is the right and the only way to organize work and motivate people, but this time let’s try to think what is the experience of customers interacting with self-managed service providers.
If you are calling or meeting face to face a self-managed professional feeling any role that interacts with customers and you will ask him for anything, he can make the decision and provide a solution for your problem. He doesn’t need to call a manager for approval, and he doesn’t need to wait a lot of time to get approval from an unknown authority. You asked for remedy or data, and you are getting what you asked for.
On top of the immediate interaction and fast solution, which is unique when I’m interacting with service providers, The self-managed professional has a clear purpose which is keeping and making the customer happy. Therefore his decisions are geared to support you. In self-managed environments the professional not just have a goal, he also has all the power to reach his purpose by making fast decisions that will make you happy.
I don’t know if you had any experience with customer support professionals that are working in self-managed environments, but I’m sure that you’ll quickly notice it when you will interact with them. It’s an entirely different attitude, and it gives you a deep internal positive feeling about the company they are representing
If you own a business and you have a customer support group, I strongly encourage you to try self-management with this group. The benefits that you are going to see will surprise you, even if you are already a supporter of #NoHierarchy systems.