Does Your Organization Have a Mentoring System?
The Obvious Flaw of Zappos Bosslessness: Who and Where Are the Mentors?
Imagine the frustration of, say, 12 people — all at the same corporate level — spending hours in a “circle” trying to solve a problem or implement a new system. A 20-year veteran with the company has the same input and authority as a new hire.
A Majority of Workers Want a Boss
What triggered this column — apart from Zappos nitwittery — was reading David Greene’s riveting Midnight In Siberia: A Train Journey Into the Heart of Russia.
Greene was National Public Radio (NPR) Moscow Bureau Chief. The centerpiece is five weeks spent on a 4,000-mile pilgrimage from Moscow to Vladivostok. On the way he amassed a no-holds-barred look at how individual Russians deal with the violent past and present of this sprawling country from the tsars to Putin.
Green’s handler, translator, guide and go-to guy on the trip was his “dearest friend in the country” — fellow NPR staffer Sergei Sotnikov.
David Greene is like Tony Hsieh of Zappos. Green also believes everybody in an organization should be equal. From Midnight in Siberia:
I would often say, “Sergei, we are colleagues — we both work for the NPR foreign editor back in Washington.” Sergei would smile and say, “But you are the boss.” Russians can’t imagine life without a boss, without hierarchy. In the workplace they crave structure, predictability, and a pecking order. These touchstones offer comfort in a world that is otherwise chaotic and unpredictable.