Leading & Innovating in a Flat Organization

Leading & Innovating in a Flat Organization

Axosoft CEO Lawdan Shojaee's Interview on Breaking the Good Girl Syndrome

Imagine a job with no title, no boss and peer-led reviews.  Ten years ago that would have been pure fiction, but it is very real and growing in popularity.

There’s a growing trend among tech companies that are throwing out titles, ranks and structure and replacing it with flat organizations with few layers, titles or leadership positions.  Zappos started the trend, but has begun to grow in popularity and our guest today on Breaking the Good Girl Syndrome,  is leading one of those organizations.

Lawdan Shojaee, CEO of software development company Axosoft joined us (Kathryn Prusinski, VP of Vision Alignment and Patty Azar, Founder and CEO of Vision Alignment) in studio this week to talk about leading in this environment along with the overwhelming popularity of their #ItWasNeverADress campaign. To say we covered a tremendous amount of territory in a small amount of time would be an understatement so you’ll want to listen to it in its entirety, but here is a bit of a teaser as to what you’ll discover.

Why do organizations move away from structure and move towards flat? The answer was quite simple.

  1. Titles more often than not, keep you from innovating.
  2. As you move up the ladder, you move away from innovating and you lose your edge.  Flat incentivizes you to keep challenging yourself.
  3. Titles empower some and limit others. Removing titles allows everyone to feel empowered to innovate. People are no longer restricted to create based only upon their role. If they have an idea and it fits within their strategic road map they are charged with moving ahead.
  4. Titles and structures slow people down as they try and gain the proper approvals and executive sign-offs to new ideas. In a flat structure, all you need to do is have an idea and convince a team to join you in building and executing.

The answer to our next question really surprised us but after peeling back the layers, it made all the sense in the world. We asked who were the most difficult people to convert (thinking she might say those who are more tenured etc). Her answer was incredibly insightful as to one of the most important components to successfully innovating through a flat organization.

“The most difficult people to convert are the ones not working here” was Lawdan’s response. “If you don’t see the vision and don’t value what it brings to the organization, I can’t hire you.”

This simple but powerful statement is one that is often overlooked by recruiters and hiring managers across all industries. You must spend the time discerning if someone would be a good fit within the organization. If you hire simply based upon skill, you will struggle with many bad hires. It’s about finding people who share your vision, your culture and can find a home in your company.  That CAN’T be seen on a resume.

Finally, we spent time talking about their recent social media phenomenon “It was never a dress.” If you want to know more about this social media campaign that drew 18 million impressions in 24 hours, listen to the full episode.

Stay on the cutting edge of software development by getting innovative tips, trends and stories delivered to your inbox every month!

Agile project management software
Plan, develop, review, and ship fast

Visit Axosoft.com

Legendary suite of developer tools
GitKraken Git GUI, Boards & Timelines

Visit GitKraken.com