by Ralph van Roosmalen
I was checking my LinkedIn profile today, just making sure it was up to date and I noticed that I have been the CEO of Management 3.0 for almost 4 years – OMG… I am getting old.
What does it mean to be the CEO of company without managers?
When I tell people I am the CEO of Management 3.0, I always immediately say that this is not the CEO role that most people are familiar with.
Management 3.0 is a company that drinks its own champagne (and we love champagne). We believe that management and leadership is everyone’s responsibility and everyone in Management 3.0 should also take that responsibility.
Many people find it difficult to understand how Management 3.0 works. I’ve already taken part in a few podcasts on this topic (like this one) where we also talked about Management 3.0 at some conferences (you can find a video of my talk at Agile Prague here).
I am aware not all people like podcasts or can attend conferences. That is why I want to explain the CEO’s role in Management 3.0 in this blog post. It might inspire you to become a different CEO!
Being the CEO is a role. We think everyone can fulfill that role, and some people may like it or some can add more value in a different role. We believe the role has some do’s and don’ts. Let me share what I did in the last four years as CEO.
The Do’s and Don’ts of being a CEO in our company without managers
➔ What I do as a CEO
Unfortunately, not all organizations in the world are like Management 3.0. They expect to be approached by the CEO of an organization. Don’t ask me why. Having the CEO title makes it sometimes easy to get an entrance into some organizations. Some people also only reply to emails when they get an email from the CEO.
Management 3.0 has co-owners. The co-owners own a part of Management 3.0. Suppose we realize our purpose and make a zillion euros profit. In that case, they will probably also share in the profit, or when Google wants to buy Management 3.0, they can sell their certificates to Google. We update the co-owners regularly, at least four times a year. We discuss what happened in the last three months, give a financial update and a forecast and our plans for the next few months. Also, when they have questions, the CEO tries to answer them.
My name is registered as CEO at the Chamber of Commerce. That also gives me a legal duty. I am the only person who is allowed to sign official contracts. We could give more people the authorization to sign documents. However, as we are a small company and most team members are not located in the Netherlands, I am the only person who can sign legal documents.
The last big part of this role, and maybe the most important one, is promoting transparency within the company and the outside world. This is not just the role of the CEO, it is the role of every team member. However, in my role as CEO, I take care of our transparency dashboard. Share updates like this blog post, but also speak at conferences to explain how Management 3.0 operates. Where possible, I challenge people in the team on creating transparency. Fortunately, this is already in our culture so I don’t need to challenge people a lot.
I also believe it often creates clarity to say what is not expected. I will keep it brief but do want to mention it.
➔ What I don’t do as a CEO
As CEO of Management 3.0, I will never tell people what or how to do things. We agree as a team on goals, and I believe every team member should extract their own work from those goals. Additionally, I am definitely not going to tell people how to do their job. All our team members are professionals, if they need help, they will ask.
Maybe an open door, but the CEO should not act like a 1.0 or 2.0 manager. No treating people like cogs in a machine or giving them a false feeling of empowerment.
Remember, drink your own champagne? Does this imply that we have a delegation board in place, where the CEO acts as a manager? No, we have a team decision matrix in place. As we don’t have a manager, a delegation board does not work for us.
The last don’t is important. This “don’t” makes the difference for me in real self-organization and almost self-organization:
The CEO does not make any hiring or firing decisions! In many teams or organizations, who claim to be self-organizing, it is still the CEO who makes the call in the end. Especially with firing. Not in Management 3.0. We had cases in the past where we decided to fire people, but it was always a team decision. Never a CEO decision.
Four years as the CEO of Management 3.0, it’s been a beautiful journey, which I have enjoyed every moment. Thanks, team, for allowing me to be the CEO.