The book Humanocracy is a game changer. Every business owner, entrepreneur, and everyone who runs a business — or works in a business — should be reading it. Although the book is based on very simple concepts, the concepts are hard to implement, and this can make it a difficult book to read.
The implementation of the strategies it suggests will be challenging. It’s like saying, “I’m going to lose weight for summer.” We all say it, and we all want to look better in our swimsuits, but very few people actually do it. It’s easy to say that you want to lose weight, but you have to eat better and move more. It’s a simple formula. It’s the same way with the book Humanocracy. The book is long, and it has a lot of data and research in it, but the concepts are very simple.
We have bureaucracy in our businesses, which is a left-over practice from the last 200 years of the Industrial Revolution. It’s time now to put the human back into business.
Humanocracy expands on “The End of Bureaucracy,” an article from Harvard Business Review’s November-December 2018 edition. The article highlighted Haier, an appliance business, that removed middle management. After reading the article, people could see the benefit of removing middle management, but they didn’t understand the details on how to do that. A lot of us wondered, “How can we remove an unnecessary layer of middle management and still keep our businesses running?” Humanocracy answers this question from “The End of Bureaucracy” and explained the way our human nature gets in the way of removing bureaucracy.
I have already written an article about something I learned from this book, and the article is called “Building Community: I Should Have Recognized the Value Sooner.” I learned these concepts from Chapter 10, “The Power of Community.” For a long time in my career, I shied away from community. I wanted to be able to do things on my own, and I wanted to be able to take credit for my achievements. I thought in a bureaucratic mindset. If I do it on my own and I’m the smartest person in the room, then I’ll be promoted and excel. So, I didn’t promote community.
What I learned 5-10 years ago was that I was missing so much opportunity by not promoting community. I, as a person, could excel and grow faster in community than I could trying to be a sole operator. The book highlighted this lesson I had learned.
The final thing I want to point out is the importance of Chapter 12, “The Power of Experimentation.” This is something that Jim Collins also wrote about in Good to Great. The greatest companies shoot bullets, not cannonballs. They shoot bullets so that they can calibrate their strategies. Once they have their strategy calibrated, then they will shoot the big cannonball.
In Humanocracy, the authors expand on this concept about experimentation. When you are implementing the concepts in Humanocracy, do some experimentation to figure out what works. You can’t just read it and say, “We’re going to fire our cannonball, get rid of middle management, and we’ll have the success that Haier had.” No, you can’t do it that way. You have to fire bullets, experiment, and calibrate before you fire a big cannonball that rids the company of middle management.
This is a must–read book in 2021. I hope a few of my take aways will inspire you and give you some things to think about as you read the book. Please go read the book, it’s part of your dedication to becoming a life-long learner.
Written by: Wade Wyant
Red Wagon Advisors, West Michigan Scaling Up Coach