Structuring a Startup with Linchpins: The Holocratic Model

Structuring a Startup: The Holocratic Linchpin

The linchpin represents the hero of modern business, said Seth Godin. These creative upstarts desire to manage their own time and produce on their own accord, of their own volition. They don’t want to be subservient pawns to the authoritarian, managerial types. They want to buck the status quo and invent novel things.

Individuals no longer want to be cogs languishing away in a vast corporate machine. They are wont to leverage their minds as the means of production and embrace micro-entrepreneurship.

Some authors, like Rachel Botsman, have also referred to this model as collaborative consumption or the sharing economy. People now prefer to share products and services as well as the ensuring value created. In the an article, Botsman said:

I define The Sharing Economy as ‘an economic system based on sharing underused assets or services, for free or for a fee, directly from individuals. It is largely based on peer-to-peer marketplaces that depend on the social glue of trust between strangers. The ‘providers’ in these marketplaces are often referred to as ‘micro-entrepreneurs.

Disintegration of the Old Model

Companies previously structured their businesses in a top-down, hierarchical fashion. Mangers ruled the roost, and the employees obeyed without question. That business model is failing. The days of pushing a button and squirting out a widget is sounding its death knell.

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But why is it dying? For one, jobs that don’t require creativity or thinking are shrinking. Automated systems and other implementations of artificial intelligence are replacing human hands.

Furthermore, the jobs that do exist suffer from lackluster pay, and those who compete over those jobs compete for lower wages. Seth Godin pointed the facts out in his book called, “Linchpin: Are you Indispensable?”

Decentralization, cryptocurrency, and other technological advancements are also ushering in a new age of work. Both the legacy economic models of communism and capitalism are either being blurred together or outright discarded. The means of production is transmogrifying; it’s moving from factory machines to home laptops and human brains. The ideas of labor and management are also becoming intimately intertwined.

Embracing the Linchpin and Building a Holocracy

Startups and cooperative value-producing activities are not evaporating completely, though. Entrepreneurs will still create businesses, and they will still contract with skilled personnel. That said, their personnel won’t expect to merely follow orders. They will anticipate a degree of freedom; the freedom to create and innovate. They will vie to be a linchpin: a person who is indispensably creative.

Startups will no longer adopt a hierarchical management system. Instead, they will build what Brian J. Roberson called a holocracy. Within the context of this business model, teams will form spontaneously and act as hubs of innovation. Leaders may also emerge, but contractors will mostly work independently to produce for the company and move into the future. The holocracy website defines the model as, “a customizable self-management practice for organizations.”

Adopting Holocratic Business Models

At Pathfinders, we will help provide solutions for startups to organize their enterprises in the most modern, effective, and satisfying ways for their contractors and leadership team. If the company adopts a business structure that embraces holocracy, it will attract some of the most brilliant minds in the world, who are all the equivalent of self-motivated linchpins.

If the company decides to forgo embracing the holocratic, future-of-work model, they will do nothing except hire people who behave like cogs in a machine, and who will expect an instruction manual for every activity they engage in.

Startups that win big will be the startups that allow creativity to flourish. They are the startups that will promote spontaneity, freedom, and a ingenuity as core values.


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