Book Review: Humanocracy

Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini

This is a thought-provoking book that focuses on tearing apart bureaucracies and fundamentally changing the way we work. I admit, at first I thought it might be a bit overboard. No one wants to work in a struggling bureaucratic nightmare of a company, but surely they provide some benefits. The first several pages made me think they were advocating just chucking the whole system.

As I read deeper (and with an open mind), I realized that it isn't as radical as it first seems. In fact, many of the concepts that I originally thought went against my idea of a great company are actually aligned with what I think.

For example, the authors suggest that we shouldn't have managers because they essentially get in the way, become a bottleneck, and are created to not take risks. I think the idea of no managers is totally misguided. However, as I read, there were managers in all their examples, just not old-school managers. The managers weren't decision makers who controlled everything and everyone. The managers in their system are more enablers, guiders, and coaches. The exact time of thing I believe is a new-school manager.

In essence, the idea is that the team has the greatest capacity for ideas and success - mainly because it is a numbers game. The more people you have thinking about a problem, the more likely you are to get a good idea. The manager is designed to help generate alot of good ideas and then facilitate the testing and results phase.

I highly recommend this book because it presents some great ideas and great examples. While at first I thought it was going to challenge my ideas, I realized that it validates them in many ways.