Does Your Organization Have a Mentoring System?

I no longer buy from Zappos. The reasons:

CLICK HERE to see how Zappos chased me all over the Internet.

And CLICK HERE to see how Son of Zappos chased me all over Europe.

A bizarre Wall Street Journal story of May 20, 2015 described how Zappos’ 41-year-old CEO Tony Hsieh ordered a cockamamie new management structure — Holacracy.

“Created by a former software executive, the philosophy is spelled out in a 30-page ‘Constitution’ where doing a job is called ‘energizing a role,’ workplace concerns are ‘tensions’ and updates are made at ‘tactical meetings.’ ” —Rachel Emma Silverman, The Wall Street Journal

Simply put: Holacracy means no hierarchy, no bosses and no job titles.

Employees manage themselves.

Anyone at Zappos not liking the idea would be given at least 3 months’ severance to go away. 210 of Hsieh’s 1,500 employees opted to take the buyout.

Many of those that remain are apparently unhappy.

“Employees say the new system has been confusing and time-consuming, especially at first, sometimes requiring five extra hours of meetings a week as workers unshackled from their former bosses organize themselves into “circles” and learn the vocabulary of Holacracy.”

A Quick Personal Digression

  • In 1951 I apprenticed under Evelyn Lawson, publicity director of the Ivoryton (Connecticut) Playhouse summer theater. In two weeks Evelyn mentored me through the process of how to write, mimeograph and mail a press release announcing a new play. My release was printed verbatim in the Middletown Record. At age 15 seeing my words in print was the biggest thrill I ever experienced before or since. Icing on the cake: all 8 performances were SRO. Evelyn’s mentoring changed my life.
  • Check out The Corporation as an Incubator about the four guys who mentored me at Grolier Enterprises. In the most intense two months of my life, I got the equivalent of a Ph.D. in direct marketing. (NOTE: If you bother to read the story, don’t miss the comments from readers. Fascinating!)

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

Publish date: June 2, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT