Holy Holacracy, Batman!

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

Social Holacracy Voice

If you’ve been following the news recently, you’ve seen how Tony Hsieh and Zappos are about to embark on a radical mission to redefine company structure and say goodbye to bosses. This framework, called Holacracy, is all about doing away with the traditional corporate structure that’s been around since the industrial age. And since we’re now well into the information age, shouldn’t the way we conduct business inside a corporation change, too?

The title of this blog is therefore an oxymoron; there can’t be a sales department under this new model of working. Just amuse me though and read on.

Holacracy is about democratizing decision-making at every level of the organization. Sounds great. But there’s one small issue: I don’t see companies abandoning the traditional corporate top-down hierarchies, fancy titles and corner offices any time soon.

Holacracy has some great intentions and whether this grand experiment works or not is anyone’s guess. However, the results the system is trying to bring to the fore are noteworthy. We should examine why Zappos is doing this and what some of these results are. Can we as a sales industry learn anything from this?

I believe there is one resounding result that Holacracy is trying to create: build more leaders. Leaders that think outside of the box, aren’t afraid of expressing themselves, embrace fear and are willing to inject their energy into tangible goals. Not just jobs and pay checks.

What Holacracy Can Teach Us

We are all too far caught up in playing within the comfortable borders of our sand boxes. Account Executives will do only what’s expected of them in most cases. But have you ever wondered what needs to happen if you want to get that promotion and become management material? Playing it safe doesn’t do anyone good; not your company, your manager, yourself and most importantly your bank balance.

If Holacracy teaches us to get more involved, then this is something we should just do. You don’t need anyone telling you, or showing you the way. Don’t wait. Make your own way and experiment – it’s a lot of fun and you’ll get to learn a lot faster. Don’t worry about the failures that are going to come your way. This is par for the course and you won’t learn without these notches under your belt.

If you’ve never tried this, start by asking the questions to better your sales team:

  • How can we bring more opportunities to the table?
  • How do we improve gross margins?
  • What can we do as a sales team to work better together?
  • Typically, this involves information sharing. (Side note: have you ever wondered how most sales people keep information close to them? This doesn’t do any good. You’ve got to break this.)
  • What are some creative ways to get marketing more involved?

I’m sure there are countless other ways you can come up with to improve your sales department.

In short, become a leader and lead without title. You don’t need a license or a fancy permission slip to start. Imagine how powerful your sales department would be if 5 more leaders emerged and started to wreak havoc on the old guard. Now, imagine if you were one of them. If that gets you excited, it’s time to start acting on this.

The Bottom Line

From our perspective, it’s amazing to see Social Sellers become leaders inside their sales departments. They’re redefining what it means to prospect, nurture and close deals. I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with hundreds of sales people that are pushing the boundaries because they know the telephone and e-mail are just not enough anymore. In a way, these are the future leaders of the sales world.

Need help in nudging your sales team? Feel free to connect with me and I can show you how to get started.

To learn more about Social Selling check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Social Selling Machine or 9 Steps to a Winning LinkedIn Profile for Sales Professionals. For tips, tricks and more rants, we could always set-up a time to chat using my below schedule …

Amar Sheth


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