Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Job With No Bosses…

A company that has no mid-level management bosses, can you even imagine? If you are like me you work at a regular job in Corporate America where there are Front Line Workers that work for Supervisors, Supervisors that work for Managers, Managers that work for Directors, and Directors that work for Vice Presidents and on and on.
But this approach is being pooh-poohed more and more by companies. See the beginning of the story below from The Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Emma Silverman posted on Yahoo! yesterday:
Who's the Boss? There Isn't One
Like many tech companies, Valve Corp., a videogame maker in Bellevue, Wash., boasts high-end espresso, free massages and laundry service at its offices.
One thing it doesn't have: bosses.
Valve, whose website says the company has been "boss free" since its founding in 1996, also has no managers or assigned projects. Instead, its 300 employees recruit colleagues to work on projects they think are worthwhile. The company prizes mobility so much that workers' desks are mounted on wheels, allowing them to scoot around to form work areas as they choose. At the videogame maker Valve Corp. employees recruit colleagues to work on projects.Source:
I find this idea quite intriguing. Imagine not having to deal with a supervisor every day or having to fill out weekly reports on what work you are doing. I believe this is a great idea especially for those individuals in project management positions. At Valve Corp. the employees come up with project ideas and work through them with a group of colleagues. They discuss the project amongst themselves and determine if it is workable.
How many times have you been given a project by a superior that you know will not add value to the organization’s success? I have before and even questioned projects but been told that upper management says it needs to be done and to just do it. The project is implemented and you track the process/progress and gather results only to see that it was a waste of time and money. At that point you so want to put your thumb on your nose, wag your fingers and tell your boss “nanny, nanny, boo, boo,” but you don’t. After all, you are a professional everywhere except in your head. Instead you and your colleagues, who agree with you that the project wasn’t worth the effort, gripe about how detached your bosses are from the actual work. Had you and your co-workers worked at a company like Valve you would have discussed the project in full and with your working knowledge at the front line level rejected the idea amongst yourselves and not had to tell your supervisor who would then pass your idea to the manager and on to the director and then on to the vice president.
The idea is that with employees involved in the hiring process, hopefully they wouldn’t recommend or hire anyone that they didn’t want to work with. But then you will have those individuals who can master an interview and bluff their way through. You have to have a knowledgeable HR team and Legal team to be able to get rid of any losers that you and your colleagues decided to hire. What nitwits you guys were to hire that idiot. And now he’s like the little geek in grade school with the glasses and runny nose that nobody wanted on their kickball team. He shows up for work, doesn’t get asked to work on any projects, and still gets a paycheck. Everyone resents him and unless he’s a Mark Zuckerberg brain-child he’ll never produce anything on his own or add value. He will stand around and talk about his Masters Degree. He will hypothesize about how much money can be saved by printing all your Powerpoint presentations four slides to a page double-sided and it doesn’t matter that the client can’t read them, they’ll be impressed with your cost management system. Oh my gosh, really?
And even with that possibility of hiring dead-weights, I can think about so many ways that my company could utilize this to their advantage. I’m already picking my team of co-workers and have my list of rejects, as well. I know that as you read this, you are doing the exact same thing.
Okay, so now I’m pumped. I’m going to work today and going straight to the top dog and sharing this article from WSJ and suggesting that we cut all management jobs between him and the front line workers. I’ll let him know that my team of workers will need a room to huddle on all our projects, a massage chair, and a high-end cappuccino machine to keep us caffeinated while we work hours on projects we have bought into.
Or I’ll just drag myself in, sit in my cubicle and work on my day to day tasks hoping that someday soon my lottery numbers will hit. Yeah, that seems much more feasible to keeping my job.


  1. I love you Sharon. I got a real kick out of this one.


  2. Thanks Mary. I hope that you'll continue to read the blog and let me know what you like the most.