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The Netherlands. A small and flat country, but with so many inspiring companies with progressive ways of working. With Buurtzorg, Incentro and Schuberg Philis with their bossless operations. Or Springest, Bol.com and Viisi with their Holacracy implementations, to name a few. They all had their fair share of experiments. They are not an exception in The Netherlands anymore.
But there is one small company that I still would call an exception. It’s a full service marketing agency in a small town called Maassluis. For them full transparency is the basis. They are making decisions with the Advice process. They have unlimited holidays and they set their own salary. And this is just the beginning. The company is called Keytoe. With over 45 colleagues, they are experimenting almost on a daily basis.
Every employee has the same ‘power’ as the founders. Everyone is able to change everything in the company, based on the Advice process. As long as they keep the following two principles in check:
At Keytoe they decide upon each other’s salary as colleagues, and have done for almost 3 years. At year-end, colleagues on the ‘salary committee’ (which is open to all), set a salary budget. They do this through the advice process, which means consulting with colleagues first. The budget depends on how well they did the last year. And they aim to raise existing salaries. When the budget is set, the committee allocates it according to performance. This already sounds great right? But it had some issues:
And maybe the most progressive (and provocative) practice is the Self-managed firing round. But if the chips are down and the company has no other option: a firing round decided by colleagues. You can only do this with a lot of maturity in the organization and a positive, professional vibe among colleagues. It didn’t happen overnight. Learn more about the firing round in this practice:
When you are doing so many experiments, once and awhile something will go wrong. Or maybe pretty often. 99 times? Lennard wrote a really hands on book about their journey, with the great title: 99 problems but the boss ain’t one.
Cedric (one of the founders) and Lennard founded a subsidiary with an awesome mission. They want that the way Keytoe is organized, that it is not an exception anymore. That’s why they founded Keytoe Y. They are giving keynote speeches, are coaching leaders and teams, and are leading transformation projects.
It all sounds a bit extreme right. Can’t get your head around it? I can imagine. If you are around, make sure to give them a visit. They are giving so called ‘safari’s’ for interested companies to inspire as much people as they possibly can.
The practices we mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. They have got so much practices to share, it’s unbelievable. Here are a few of the others, Lennard shared with us:
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