The Road to Super Flat Organization #10: Business Management in Super Flat Organization

Dear readers of “The Road to Super Flat Organization.” Thank you so much for reading!

Back number:The Road to Super Flat Organization #9: The Road to Non-territorial Office


I found out that my friends did not press the “like” button, especially those who often tell me, “I read your blog!”

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This article is the final one for the Road to Super Flat Organization series for a while. (Of course, I will keep writing blog itself, apart from Super Flat Organization)


You might assume I am running out of blog topics, content is now overlapping with the past articles, or I am too exhausted with the Da-harassment.
Let me tell you the truth. They are all true. (haha!)


*Da-harassment is a friendly reminder from the branding project leader (goes by Da-hara) toward Nakamura to make him write a blog.



In this final chapter, I will write about the business management in Super Flat Organization. This is something that stops managers when they tried to install open and flat in their companies.

Who manages the business results?


One of the FAQs about Super Flat Organization is “How can you manage the business results without managers?”


Companies survive by producing benefits through their businesses.

Even if it’s Super Flat, it could never be “nobody manages the results.”


Ok, who does that? The answer is “everyone.”


As it is said, “everyone’s business is nobody’s business,” this answer might make you think, “It’s irresponsible,”or “maybe they are just doing naive management.”
However, they’re not true.

Management in a project unit


In an ordinary management theory, specific manages in specific organizations and areas take the responsibility to manage them.


Since Colorkrew has no managers, we cannot adopt that strategy.


In Super Flat Organization, work proceeds in project units.


When we set a business or goal, we also form a project for each (that means projects break up once the business is completed).


Each project has a leader who is responsible for the profitability and overall progress.


However, at Colorkrew, the responsibility for a project leader is not the ‘figures.’


Their responsibility is as follow:


1. to set a vision for the project and share it with the team


2. to create goals and key-results to fulfill the vision; to create an action plan and continue daily actions.

:that is, Objective and Action management through Goalous using “GKA,” an advanced version of OKR.


3. to understand the results and explain them.


4. to keep developing the GKA, according to the change in the situation



Figures show up as a result, but there’s no idea to take responsibility for that.


Vision, GKA, presentation, and evolvement are the four areas leaders should be responsible.

Overall results are responsible for the management project


Regarding the whole company’s results and growth strategies, the management projects are responsible for them.


I take the leadership of the project, but the project members are not always the same.
Those who have a will to join in the management process come and form the project.


This project holds regular and irregular meetings, and anyone at Colokrew could join. Their opinions are flexibly adopted.


These days, because of the Corona-Virus, we often hold online meetings, and this week, someone who doesn’t usually join showed up at the conference.
I asked him, “Did you join us to share something?”and he answered, “Well, I just felt like joining.”

Mesh management


A company has a lot of others to manage, besides the business results.


For example, they could be resource management, expense control.

If you look more into the details, they could be facility management, health care, labor management, etc.


Regarding each of these items, Super Flat Organization sets a responsible leader.


The leader (in most cases, they are a project leader) manages GKA in his/her responsibility.

GKA allows not only to plan and action but also to share the activity. Therefore, everyone would understand the progress.


We call this management method “Mesh Management,” where each takes care of a small specific field, and the collection of them eventually manages every field of the company activity.

Space between Super Flat Organization


Because it is like a mesh, we successfully manage even subtle issues. But sometimes, there is space between the mesh where management does not work effectively.


We called such small spots “Space between Super Flat Organization”
How are we going to deal with it, then?


To fill the space, we add another management thread.


Contrarily, when it’s too redundant and ineffective, the management process is abolished.
That way, management is improved into a more precise and effective one.

Focus on the process, accept the results


When I was working in another organization, I realized this major challenge: Some managers often believe someone needs to take the responsibility for the result figures.


More specifically, when a member could not achieve the target figure, they tend to ask, “why did this happen?” “Are you aware of the causes?”

Blaming the result wouldn’t make a change. It doesn’t make much sense.


Managers must have reviewed the goal, key results, and action plans in advance.

Therefore, there could be only two causes: the review was insufficient, or the member did not seriously make the actions as planned.


At Colorkrew, sometimes people say “I’m sorry” when the result was not good.


Then I ask them, “did you not work out seriously?”


Most time, people answer, “Well, I did my best, but the result was not as expected.”


If that’s true, there’s no need to apologize.

The review was insufficient. (Namely, it was management leader’s responsibility)


What’s important is to create the plan for “what are we going to?” together.

The result of Mesh Management


Comparing to an organization with formal managers placed according to the hierarchy, Mesh management works more effectively. It is an autonomous system that reinforces the responsibility of the member for each item.


Besides, I think it is an effective strategy to reinforce the whole team-capability. Because it brings everyone in the management process, they can use the resources more effectively, and their awareness toward management is improved.


Mesh management with shared responsibility instead of a single manager to take all the responsibility.


Please give it a try!


This concludes the Road to the Super Flat Organization.


Before finishing this article, let me state that our current Super Flat Organization is not the completed, perfect organization.

We’ll keep changing, and when it’s improved again, I will talk about them in this blog!


Thank you for reading!


▼The Road to Super Flat Organization:

#1 Not a Goal, but a Result
#2 Explaining “Why” Before the Change
#3 Majority Vote Won’t Change
#4 First Open or First Flat?
#5 The Moment Super Flat Organization Began
#6 The Final Touch, Goodbye Departments!
#7 The Birth of the Coaching System
#8 360 Degree Open Evaluation
#9 The Road to Non-territorial Office

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