Leading the way without being managed
At the end of 2013, the 130-people Proekspert decided to go flat. After having analysed the elements needed for making our people more satisfied, a certain result presented itself quite clearly: creative workers do not need managers.
Since then, no one has been running wild and the projects have still got managed, but management as such has been taken to the grass root level. It took a lot of communication and team effort, but currently, no one working in Proekspert has to report to a manager any more. Instead, everyone takes full responsibility for their duties and goes forward with the agreed plan.This way, every person becomes responsible for and in front of the entire team and for the success of their shared work.
In a flat organisation, people can decide which roles and what type of teams they need for achieving the goals of their clients. Whenever a group of people gets together for a project, leaders and followers are to surface naturally. Proekspert does not give out those titles or tasks, but lets these positions come to life on their own. It is natural, that some people are more suited to follow and more suited to lead in different types of projects. By mixing and swapping responsibilities, each person working in the company gets a wholesome understanding of the inner workings of the organisation. As a result, our clients also feel more in the centre of attention, since they are always talking directly to the people who actually get the job done. This structure is in turn complemented by Proekspert’s support teams (finance, business development, marketing, personnel, etc.) to whom the client teams can turn to with all the relevant questions.
Proekspert still has customer relationship developers whose job it is to see to the client relationships outside the specific projects. The CEO’s job is to be the leader of the company by keeping his focus on the bigger picture and holding the company on the general desired course. Quite importantly, he’s job is also just to be there and get his hands dirty like everyone else. Head of Proekspert’s board, Marko Sverdlik stresses that a flat organisation is definitely possible, but it does require quite a lot of effort and bravery to let go of the lead.
But what’s in it for the future of an already flat organisation? Proekspert wants to go even further: at some point, when a new person starts working in the company, they might not be given a job title at all, but have to find their role in the team on their own.
Currently, many other enterprises in the world are looking towards flat structures as well, such as Spotify, WordPress and many others.