Last month I wrote about how Haier fosters innovation in large part by eliminating middle management and having a very flat organization. For those who may have thought Haier was an outlier or that this was a uniquely Chinese situation, it was recently reported that Zappos (the online shoe store owned by Amazon) is employing a similar structure.
The system, known as Holacracy, removes all job titles and managers in a corporate structure, leaving nearly every employee on equal footing. Zappos will create approximately 400 “circles” made up of a group of employees that will be tasked with projects. The group must work together, without a formal control structure, to do their jobs.
Continue reading “Another vote for eliminating middle management”
I recently read an article in the Economist that credited Haier’s success to its CEO’s (Zhang Ruimin) decision to eliminate middle management. The move generated innovation that any Silicon Valley start-up would be proud of. I was not expecting a large Chinese firm to lead the way in being nimble and customer driven but it worked for them and I could see it helping many US companies, particularly game companies.
As a little background, Haier has sales of over $25 billion, is recognized globally for reliability and marketing expertise and has seen its market share grow from 3.1 percent to 9.6 percent.
Haier’s 80,000 employees are organized into 2,000 zi zhu jing ying ti (ZZJYTS), self-managed teams that perform many different roles. Each is responsible for profit and loss, and individuals are paid on performance. Continue reading “Consider getting rid of middle management”