This post outline how to perform managerial tasks without the classical hierarchical management system.
How to resolve a conflict: Without a manager, there isn’t a person that people can go to resolve their disputes, so how conflicts can be resolved? The best that I’ve seen is a vote of people with a factor of people merit in relevant competencies and skill sets to the conflict. When two people have a conflict, they can raise it and all the team members of their team will vote after hearing the two sides. If there are 5 people in each group, 10 people will vote. The factor of competencies will change the weight of each voter form 10% to higher and lower percentages.
The dispute process can be online or in a meeting. One way or another, there should be a facilitator for this process. The facilitator will determine the competencies and skill sets relevant to the conflict. In the case of odd results in a vote. The facilitator will make the decision. The facilitator shouldn’t be a part of any group involved in the dispute.
How to coordinate work: 1) A company should have one purpose. All groups and role purposes should derive from the company purpose. Purpose serves as a guide for what groups need to achieve together.
2) Each role should have definitions of all other roles he should notify of decisions he is taking, changes he’s implementing and the tasks he’s performing. This manual or automated system should create better coordination than management.
3) Teams should be a hybrid of all expertise needed to achieve a purpose, not the current silos of knowledge. In a hybrid group environment, each person is in multiple groups, this structure creates coordination by design.
4) An incentive system that measures groups success. When people incentive is connected to collaboration with other people to reach common goals, people are collaborating.
How to set goals: Organizations are fractals (each structure is multiple smaller structure) without rank and power. There is one rule that applies to every element in the fractal structure: every group or role that is part of another group must have a purpose that derived from the host group. A group and a role in this structure must also have five metrics that can measure his progress toward the purpose. Both purpose and metrics are the mechanisms to set goals without a hierarchical manager.
How to monitor and control expenses: With clarity! Everyone can ask for expenses. Expenses are sent to the requester group members for review, and any group member can raise a conflict regarding the expense. If no one starts a conflict process on a given request and it is within a given budget, the request should be approved. It is highly recommended to have a heterogeneous group that manages the budget.
How to create a budget: There is a hybrid team responsible for creating a budget. All request are bubble through the structure until the core company’s groups. Core company groups submit their budget to the dedicated budget group. The budget group will raise a conflict if all request exceeds the planned budget. Any decision in the budgeting process is subject to the conflict resolution process. The budgeting group should also deal with monthly reporting and approval of unplanned monitory needs.
How to hire without hierarchical management: If you are willing to take risks, use tests to assess technical and cultural fit. If someone exceeds an average of 80, hire him. Put him on an onboarding process of 3 months as part of the teams. If the majority of team members see him as a fit after 3 months, you have a new member. 3 months is enough time to know someone. 3 hours interview is luck anyway.
How to separate: Without managers, people contracts with team/service providers should be very clear. If someone is breaching the agreements for a known number of times, he should know that the company will release him. No bias or subjective. An evident system with enough documentation to prove that someone couldn’t perform his accountabilities.
How to develop people: First and foremost, people need to develop themselves. They need to be active, you need to provide help. Anyone can submit his training plan, including costs and time. It is subject to conflict resolution from curriculum, timeframe, and costs.
How to provide feedback: Each person should have feedbacks from his team members and people he provides services. All the feedback should be compiled to one feedback. Feedbacks should be as close as possible to the event the feedback refers to.
How to provide performance feedback: If you have to give performance feedback, collect them from all people someone working with and providing services to. Average them all into one performance assessment. Include the number of feedbacks in the data of feedbacks. Try to stay away from performance feedbacks. Public metrics are enough. If you decide to do it anyway, separate performance from feedbacks.
How to promote: There isn’t any promotion without ranks and grades. You should find a different compensation model to replace the ranking system. Defining function contribution and pay per people contribution is one option. This system encourages people to take more functions as more functions is more significant compensation.
How to continuously improve teams: Create a role per group that is responsible for continually improving a group. This role should have metrics to measure success. Remember that role has contracts to follow.