How to build a great company by blending bureaucracy and holacracy


September 2015 – In 2001, when I built a start-up in the then-new field of RFID technology, I was often fascinated by the responses in interviews I would get from potential new hires. I would say, “Tell me what you can do,” and they would answer, “What do you want me to do?”

I quickly realized that just because I had a disruptive, passionate start-up mentality didn’t mean they would. Some people just wanted a job. I learned that just giving someone a paintbrush doesn’t mean that person is going to paint your vision.

It was a funny moment, but it was a critical moment. I started thinking about whether it’s really possible to hire the best people and then let them be self-organize, meaning determine how to get the job done. This question has lingered with me.

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