Dilbertian Words: Companies Without Management Structure

No Managers? Even Scott Adams is skeptical, but then realizes it’s how his own start up is working. From his blog:

Valve says the secret of their management-free environment is hiring good people. That sounds right to me. We don’t have any weak contributors in our start-up so we have never felt a need for management.

One of the interesting aspects of better global communications, better access to information, and better mobility is that collectively it reduces the risk of making hiring mistakes. When employers were limited to hiring people who lived nearby, and the only information at their disposal was lie-filled resumes, every growing company would necessarily absorb a lot of losers. But now that entrepreneurs can hire the best people from anywhere in the world, we have for the first time in human history the ability to create teams so capable they require no management structure. That’s new.

I think the manager-free model only works for a business that has high margins and depends more on creating hits than cutting costs. The video game business fits that model, as do many Internet businesses. And in both cases entrepreneurs can hire from anywhere in the world.

Having never worked in a place that was (at least intentionally) manager-free, I can’t rely on personal experience to judge. Although I have been a advocate of “hire good people and get out of their way.” And certainly am with Scott when it comes to management existing, at least in part, to solve its own mistakes. Tip of the hat to Daring Fireball for the link.

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There was a time when I didn’t really “get” Dilbert. Alas, many years have past since that lovely idyll.

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