97: Create a Holacracy to Empower Your People with Dennis Van Der Heijden 

Dennis van der Heijden is the Founder, CEO, and Head of Global Happiness at Convert.com, where they make e-commerce A/B and multivariate testing easy for agencies and experts. We talk about the Holacracy management system, why your website needs frequent testing and monitoring, and how to analyze the traffic coming to your website.

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Create a Holacracy to Empower Your People with Dennis Van Der Heijden

Our guest is Dennis Van Der Heijden, the founder and CEO and head of global happiness at Convert.com. Convert helps you test all your ideas, whether you’re a marketer looking for advanced targeting and rich reports or a conversion rate optimization CRO expert looking for a robust platform. Welcome to the show, Dennis.

Thank you, Steve. Happy to be here.

Happy New Year.

Well, we are well into the new year. I’m not happy to be here, I’m sorry.

All right. I think the only reason I heard it this way because I had a friend when I was a child and he kept wishing Happy New Year in August whenever we met. It was his birthday. And I thought, well, maybe he’s not alone, but he is. He’s really the only one. All right. Well, glad to have you here. And I’m very curious about your story. How did you start Convert? How does one launch a software company? How does that even work?

I think the best launches, I think, are similar to how I started, frustration and urgent need. So I was running a software business, generating software leads for software companies, had a lead generation site, and then there was a small crisis in 2008, people might remember vividly, and that kind of dried up all my leads at that time. Investments were pretty much on hold for most people for the first six months of that, or the last six months of that year.

I just moved to Mexico with my little baby and the site couldn’t fail, it was my only income, and I didn’t look forward to picking up Spanish as fast as that and work for somebody else. So the only thing I could imagine is like, well, if I have half the traffic, I need double the lead. So I don’t know how that’s called, but I just need to do a better job with what I have. And we build a plugin for WordPress and that worked. We’ve really personalized every page on the site depending on the keywords that people use at that time. Now it’s called personalization. That was 12 years ago. And the person that built that plugin for $50 eventually became nearly a 50% shareholder of my company, a CTO.

So if I have a website and it starts converting, then I just download your software and it starts converting? How does that?

Software doesn’t really do anything. So garbage in, garbage out in that sense. What it does is just to give a very simple idea of what people use it for. If you’re a DHL and you’re curious if that man on your homepage should be a woman, fitting the culture where you’re now launching, you might want to change that and see if that’s true for that particular country.

And so, you use our software or something similar, you change that image inside our tool which launches on top of your site without people knowing, and then you measure both images at the same time and we’ll tell you which one is the better one to pick. So, that’s the idea comes from the customer and the tool does it, the math to do the statistics, and then the results. And you can take that learning to the next question that you have in your business.

So, it’s basically, that’s what you call A-B testing. You have two options and whichever works best, you keep that and then you look for another test and you keep testing. So, a typical site owner, how many A/B tests do they have to run to get an efficient site? I know that’s a very general question, but magnitude-wise, is it like 20 tests, is it2,000 tests? What is it?

Just to have an idea, at this moment today, when you’re listening to this, Amazon is running 1,000 tests that day. Just to get an idea of the scale. Booking.com, similar. Etsy, similar. You as a business in e-commerce might be running two or three or five or ten at a time. So magnitude of scale, that’s kind of what we’re talking about.

Most big companies run thousands a year and smaller businesses, depending on your resources because the software is not the expensive part, but it’s the idea generation, the research, the making of them, and analyzing of them, and then incorporating those results back into your marketing or sales. So it’s a real niche, with data scientists, with designers, with psychologists, all working on trying to understand what the person on the other side of the screen wanted and how they can help this getting there.

So, is this then, does this become a function for a company to constantly come up with ideas to test and then to test them and update the site? Is this like a full-time job or does it depend on the size of the company? Let’s say if I run an e-commerce consulting company, or not consulting because I’m not going to talk about the clients, but I run an e-commerce website where maybe I’m a platform, and maybe it’s a smaller company, like 20 million sales revenue per annum, then what are the resources that I would have to dedicate to this in terms of human resource and the use of your software?

Normally, a small team of three full-time people is a good start. So we’re talking about a usability expert that does research and you take ideas from your call center, from your complaints, from tools that maybe analyze flows on the site. So that person then comes up with hypotheses combined with somebody in the data science team, like the analytics person that analyzes the analytics. And then you can have like a project manager or a developer or a combination of those people.

So it’s usually projects, it’s development, usability and data science. So it could be mixed people. So usually a team of three is a good start, so you have some diversity. If you are a company like Microsoft, you may have 50, right, or booking 80 or 100 people working on just that part. And they might be part of marketing, they may be part sometimes of development, they might be in the business or BI circles or wherever they are, that’s where they use the Play.

This is very fascinating. So if I’m a small business owner and I just have a website, maybe I’m a consultant, then is this something that I can use, this kind of service? Is there any way for me to take advantage of this idea of A-B testing? Or your software would require a bigger operation?

I think you can benefit from the mindset. So that’s important, like the testing mentality mindset. I’ll explain in a sec what I think that is. You would need, the way we like to prefer to sell this, as half a million visitors a month and above. Because if you really want to go into the statistics, half a million visitors, you need to have a couple of hundred orders every month, preferably in the thousands, to be able to get results that are statistically significant.

Let’s not go into that for this podcast because that’s not the purpose, but the experimentation mindset I think is really important. So if you don’t have the traffic, most people have sort of an experimentation mindset. So you have to understand that if you don’t do anything, you’re also experimenting. With the constant changes you do, you just don’t know the results. So measure certain things, measure conversion rates, measure checkouts, measure abandonment of a checkout.

So you have to understand that if you don't do anything, you're also experimenting. With the constant changes you do, you just don't know the results. So measure certain things, measure conversion rates, measure checkouts, measure abandonment of… Click To Tweet

All those things should be in your dashboard as a business owner. When you don’t measure anything, you don’t know what the outcome is. So you measure as a start, then you make a change, then you hope that something changes. And then you look at your dashboard and that works or it didn’t work. So sort of an experimentation mindset is really important. And if it didn’t work, theoretically, you should go back to the version that you have before running of your business.

Same as you do with a new salesperson. It works, it doesn’t work, and then you go back to old by letting them go, giving them coaching or whatever. So an experimentation mindset is important, and I think it’s super important that people understand that by not experimenting, you’re still experimenting, you just don’t know the results, which is lying blind. So that’s why very large and very successful companies prefer to have the data so they learn from it each time.

Wow. So what does a small company do before they have enough traffic to be statistically significant to get enough? Is it possible to have some kind of a testing traffic which would get you over the hump to get to a point where you are getting some flow, which then creates the, you know, the volume of traffic, or that work from there.

Is it possible that’s, that’s, so it’s impossible, because statistics only work if you target the people that have the same composition. So I have 10,000 people that are interested in my products or they come to my website, and then I would buy 90,000 additional traffic that I can show a kitty and saying, get a free kitty here. And they come to the site, I’m really disappointed. And they have done not the same intention, the same. And so they will skew the data. They’re not the same kind of people.

So the results should only tell you what your customers or your visitors prefer. Like, I don’t care that it’s statistically significant in that sense, just make your customer happy. And if you can’t do statistics, go and talk to them more often, that’s fine. Go and make a change and see what they say. Is the call center more busy because you did that? Is there more complaints or less complaints? Everything can be tested as long as you have some measurement.

Everything can be tested as long as you have some measurement. Click To Tweet

And then you take a period of time saying, I’m going to make this change. I’m going to make an offer of free shipping for one month. And I know my data from last year this month. I know my data from the last three months. And I offer it for one month. Then I stop it. I go and look at what I potentially learned, and then I go and continue that, stop it, or change to a new idea.

So basically, we have to take maybe a step back. So if my website doesn’t have enough traffic to be statistically significant for any kind of testing, maybe it’s about how I generate traffic for the site. So before I can measure conversion, I have to create traffic.

First it is, yeah, you can do things like short term marketing strategies is usually ads. Like buy ads, gives you instant traffic. You just of course have to attract similar users with the same intent to your website. And so traffic that is bought from an ad probably converts different than the traffic that organically came to your site through referrals or something like that. So conversion rates, the percentage of the people that come to your site compared to the person that buy is different by the amount of traffic, by the source of traffic you get. So I always suggest getting for more traffic first and then doing A-B testing later. Like it’s not the first thing you do.

And then you convert your A-B testing process, it can only work on my own site or let’s say if I generate Facebook ads, I can use your system on Facebook to A-B test my ads or I have to use Facebook’s thing to do that.

Facebook has indeed their own testing platform likely for testing the ads, so you can optimize your ads. Email software, most businesses have a pretty decent email list, usually people have decent email list. Just changing the title in whatever tool you use can be as simple as MailChimp or maybe it’s very advanced. They all have A-B testing in built-in. So just the title of your email can have a huge impact on the open rate. And so changing the title of your email to experiment with, for example, what people think about you, what resonates with you.

So this month you send out two different emails, one has a very different title than the other. And if you learn that that new title you now thought of could be turned into the headline of your website in the future, because that apparently resonates more. You can play with different words that people maybe get some emotional sense about. And those words you can then reuse in your ads. And that’s why experimentation for large companies is so useful because they test everything from a word change.

And then that word change will go to their ads. And then from the ads, you will go to a landing page that is different than their homepage. And they then connect the ad to the landing page with the same kind of language, the same imagery. So you’re trying to understand, and this is what A-B testing is, you’re not really trying to sell more, you’re trying to understand the customer’s mindset better. And so very early on of a company that has almost no traffic, it could be as simple as changing the title of the homepage. Like what are we to you? What are we to you? I am an A-B testing tool, maybe. I’m a conversion optimization tool, maybe.

Try not to sell more, try to understand the customer's mindset better. Click To Tweet

Maybe I’m a personalization tool to you. Whatever word resonates in the end will be like, I’ll pick that one because apparently that’s what they call me. And so you can actually use this kind of methods to get closer to the language and the thinking of your customer. And that’s what you really want. Because if you get there, you build that connection. And nobody’s really interested in the first sale. We are interested in the permanent connection to you, to me, to my brand. So we can stay friends for a long time. And you think of me when you need that product.

Nobody's really interested in the first sale. We are interested in the permanent connection to you, to me, to my brand. So we can stay friends for a long time Click To Tweet

I love that. So, basically start with your email list, be at the email list, and then test emails, maybe 50 to this headline, 50 to the other headline, and then go from there. And every time, test something in your email and try to figure out what is resonating, and then move it to the ads and move it to the web.

Maybe take that to the ads. You can take it to the website. You can take it to your ads. Ads, of course, is probably more expensive than your email list testing. But what you take from your email list, you take to your ads. And then as soon as you figured out the repeatable motion, which is what businesses do, they find channels to scale their business. So first is the email channel. You figured it out. You’re like, okay, I think I optimized my channel really well. Let me now get more traffic.

I think I hit my, what we call local maximum. It’s like the maximum I can get out of this channel for now. Let me do ads. And you take your learning from your email to your ads, could be Google ads, Facebook or whatever platforms you want to give your money to. And then you optimize that with A-B testing on that channel. And then you have enough traffic and you can then do an A-B testing tool on your site. Or if you have an app, you can test the app store messaging or the images on the e-commerce. As long as you think in the experimentation mindset, I’m good. You don’t need to be our customer.

I love that. This is very useful. So thank you. So let’s switch gears and let’s talk a little bit about your philosophy of how you built this company. And you talked about, you know, our theme is always managing blueprints. What are the frameworks out there that entrepreneurs use? And you talked about Holacracy, which is, you know, a framework that very few companies actually that I talk to use. So I’m really curious, what is Holacracy and why did you choose it?

I think there’s awesome Holacracy conversations on TED Talks, by the way, for people that want to talk to the founders. And I’ll give my interpretation the way we took it at Convert.com. Because like a hierarchy, it has its flavors depending on the company it actually lands on. So why I picked Holacracy was connected to how I educate my kids. It’s kind of a strange link, but I realized that my first daughter, now 15, got a more traditional education.

She went to a Montessori school and went to a more traditional school where you just get homework and the teacher is a more authoritarian person that kind of decides how things run in a class. And that’s how I used to run Convert as well, very similar. So I was in the philosophy of, I’d say, the four hour work week book from Tim Ferriss was one of those inspirations where you would be making money in US dollars and you would outsource it to somewhere on the other side of the world and leverage that difference in currency and you would get a lot of work for one dollar.

And the only thing you needed to do according to that book was make checklists and consider people on the other side of the world, robots for your business, in human robots, they would just follow the checklist and they would do that work. That sounded really great and fairly easy, so I considered myself a person that could make those checklists and that’s how I started. So I think we started off really wrong. We started considering human resources as currently not available in AI, so we use humans for it, which is not a very human thing to do.

At the same time, lots of people still do it, right? We consider sometimes human resources as not people. We call them as like human resources. You’re just a person that if I had the chance, would replace you with a robot, but currently the technology is not up here, so I’ll use you to do this checklist.

It’s kind of commoditizing the human element.

Exactly. I think everybody saw some clips of Charlie Chaplin’s videos on the Ford Motor industrialized complex and I think that was what I thought would be better to let my son explore the world because I’ve seen elements from my daughter that I didn’t like. It’s like, you don’t have to really teach children how to walk. I can give you a checklist. I can give my son a check off if they could speak. But lots of stuff, humans really don’t need help from anybody. They will learn it all by themselves if you give them the right environment.

Humans really don't need help from anybody. They will learn it all by themselves if you give them the right environment. Click To Tweet

And the realization was that I prefer that my son would go more on a journey of art discovery and I would present them with the environments that are conductive to that exploration. So we didn’t instantly put them in the school, we just went to the jungle. And I lived in Mexico at that time and we brought them to parks and coordinated with other parents. And we set up music classes, we just let them play with sand and eventually I thought that we’re all fine. I think the realization was at one moment I was treating my son of three years old better than an average employee with more respect and with more trust than I would trust somebody that I may have hired from Indonesia.

And yeah, that felt really bad. It basically was like, this is not the way I want to do this. And I have a lot of learning to do. And at what moment, I mean, we all watch those TED Talks and you sometimes come back to the same TED Talk and the same book and you read it again. And all of a sudden it clicks. Like, it’s like, this is what I need now. This is the time of my journey that this is helpful. And I saw the talk on Holacracy and from the company HolacracyOne, and that resonated.

And that’s went to the opposite direction completely. It basically says you should trust your employees because they sense the environment that they work in. And if they see a change necessary to express the purpose of that company, connected to the customer, you should let them make that change and you should trust them. And therefore, you don’t really need management and then hierarchies and then in the end you decide. to the edges of the company, where the connection is with the customer.

You should trust your employees because they sense the environment that they work in. Click To Tweet

And so that’s something I started exploring and I very quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to do that by myself because I am not a great person in management. I micromanage. I’m not also always the best person in communication. So I saw very quickly that the only way to get from here to that new utopia was for me not to lead that project. I was the problem. This whole company is representing something I designed. So if I want to redesign something, I am the cause of that original problem. I cannot be the redesigner of it.

What does it look like for a company to run on Hol0cracy? What are the major principles of Hol0cracy?

So, after I hired Morgan to help me transition to this new idea, it basically, you download the Constitution, the Holacracy Constitution, like a country, you can download it, this is version 5.1 right now. And you promised that you will run your company according to the constitution, not according to your daily mood or the bosses back-channeling things.

What are the major…

The constitution said basically there is a purpose of an organization and you cannot harm the company’s purpose. And you’re free to do whatever you want, as long as you don’t harm that purpose. And then very quickly becomes clear. So this is how you start. You design a purpose. Like in a company, maybe you say mission and vision. That’s kind of the area. But after that, you let it completely go free. Like then you have 20 people and saying, so what do I do now? Okay, design the purpose for you. Okay, what do I do? I’m in support.

Okay, design how the purpose of the company can be expressed in your daily connection to the people. And so all these people start designing their own purpose. It’s like, oh, it’s my purpose to communicate as best as I can, helping the people as fast as I can, solving the problems that exist with our software or the implementationof it. And great, this is my purpose. It’s like, great, are you happy? Yeah. Okay, are there more people like you? Oh yeah, I have three colleagues. Now three people own this purpose. Okay, so it’s not a job title? No, it’s a purpose. Let’s call that a role.

And there’s now three people doing the same thing. Oh yeah, but I also maintain that software. And the other ones don’t?Great.That’s a new role. And what that role does? Well, the purpose is to maintain the software so these free people can work. So that’s a new role. And in that role, I only do that? Yeah, sure. Now you do two things. Now you own two roles. And then all the roles naturally move towards structure, like people like structure. And so you can see all these roles like a circle. And then they all navigate.

So we are all doing support for customers. Let’s make that a circle. And let’s move the purpose of that circle to support our customers. And then we give the circle a purpose. Now the Holacracy Constitution then says, if you group together multiple roles, there should be a lead link that decides on the resources. They decide on the priorities. You can decide on your priorities in your role, but if now there’s a group, then you need to have a lead link. A lead link has a secretary and a facilitator, sorry, the circle has a secretary and facilitator and a rep link.

A circle then now starts existing with maybe 20 roles, all grouped together, self-organized. And if they have conflicts, saying, oh, now there’s support, but you also need to do the software. Yeah, tomorrow. No, you can’t do it tomorrow because I have a new person starting in this role. I need this account to be ready. Oh, well, it’s different priorities. Like I disagree with that. I think the customer goes first. No, you should onboard us. And then a lead link would decide the priorities. It’s like, no, I get you, but it’s important to onboard a new person over the customer reply. So that’s your new priority.

And so this naturally starts shaping and then they become circles in circles. And then priorities and height, like starts forming. So for example, I am not the CEO. Well, I’m paper. I am the CEO, but I am the lead link that manages five circles. I don’t manage it actually, I just define the priorities and resources. So I say, this is how much more budget you get in this circle, do it as you please. You can hire everybody you want, you can outsource, you can hire agencies, you can hire team members, part-time, full-time, I don’t care. Your mission is to achieve this this year with these kind of resources and that’s it. They will self-organize in that circle.

So there’s roles, circles, and circles and circles. So do you have a leadership circle where basically the top coordination happens? Yeah, we have what we call ConvertMainCircle, CMC, and in that circle there’s the lead link of the company, we call that like the CEO, and there is people, I have another role, it’s called outside world liaison, I connect to board members, I connect to the world, if we have good news to share or bad news to take responsibility for, I am the outside world connection to that.

There’s then a strategic finance person that says, oh, this is how much profit I would like to reserve this year and I would like to spend so much, like strategic decisions are happening there. And then in that circle, the lead links are represented and the rep links, which are like union members. So the lead link is a person that takes the strategy from above, like a manager, and takes it to their circle to execute. But they’re not the ones that receive the critical feedback, because otherwise you turn into a manager that is blocking information from flowing out. So there are two different people.

The rep link says, everything that we are frustrated about in the circle, we will push back into a meeting, called a tactical meeting. I am representing my circle as like a union member of all the roles that live in the circle back to the next circle up. And then, for example, I fear those frustrations and then I change strategy and prioritization and I’ll tell the lead link to do something. So not one person holds all that power because that’s where usually that corruption happens.

Like I am the blocker and the holder of information and that makes you powerful. And that power structure is what you try to remove from democracy. We’re trying to bring equal votes, equal listening into the meeting structures. And so lead link has my trust to execute. So, in that sense, they are a person that I appoint. The rep link is a representation voted by the circle. You’re now representing us for six months in the other circles. So, there’s voting and there, sorry.

Does that make the process a little bit political? That let’s say you have a lead link, the lead link feels that certain changes are needed and then the rep link basically transmits all the complaints of the members of the circle that don’t like the change and then basically the lead link gets second-guessed at the leadership circle that they made the wrong call.

Okay, a lead link doesn’t make changes. Like a lead link cannot change anything. They only have the power of the money and the priority and that’s it. The changes actually happen by vote. So any change to a role like what we call accountabilities and stuff like that are done in public in governance meetings. So I want you Steve to now clean up the books behind you. It is my intention that it would look better for convert if the books were all color coded. I think that’s my intention.

So I bring it to the circle. It’s like, it would be better that all the books were color coded because I think that would represent our purpose better. And in that meeting, you’re there and other people are there as well. It’s like, can you clarify why would that be hurting my purpose? And then in the end, we either say yes or no. People can actually completely block something. If it harms a purpose, if it harms the organization, I could block it. But if somebody says, I think you’re right, we should all color code the books behind Steve by the color coding that they set.

Would you now, if there’s no objection, why this couldn’t hurt, we just make that the new truth. And then you can have to accept that color coding is apparently the thing. Until you prove that it is harmful to us or it’s very time consuming, you can do whatever Steve, you have your own priorities. You say this is the lowest priority in my life. I’ll take it as responsibility to always color code my books for interviews, but it’s the lowest priority because I think audio quality is important, but I’ll take it.

Apparently, we think that it’s important, and unless I think it’s a problem, I cannot really block it. So there’s voting, and it’s not like the boss says I have to do something. So everybody brings tensions all the time, and the tension is we need to get better. We want to be better than we were yesterday. So we want new processes. And everybody comes up with these tensions, and they file it. And then if reasonably acceptable, we just take them. Why not? That’s why hol0cracy works.

Awesome. So what would you say is the pros and the cons of Hol0cracy. If someone is considering introducing Hol0cracy in their business, you know, what should be on the two sides of the ledger? What are the pros and the cons?

Okay. If you are a company that is not yet super clear where you’re gonna end up, so you don’t have product market fit, you need to be agile and constantly changing, then Hol0cracy probably is not fit for you because you want to be more of a leader, call it dictator, kind of everybody to the left, you all have to do what I say, otherwise you get fired. So sometimes these things are needed very quickly.

If you are running a more structured organization where you sense that everybody has good ideas and you have a product that works and you just want to constantly make things better all the time and you understand that hopefully you’re humble enough that you’re probably not the smartest people in the room anymore, then hol0cracy I think works because it gives everybody a voice. Not only the extroverts, also the introverts because the hol0cracy comes with a constitution, but also a meeting format for a governance meeting. It comes with a meeting format for tactical meetings.

If you are running a more structured organization where you sense that everybody has good ideas and you have a product that works and you just want to constantly make things better all the time. Click To Tweet

It comes with lots of training about how to do that, how to make changes in your company, how to make changes in roles. So it is an extremely structured approach to running your company. It gives you an immense amount of freedom as a leader to focus on strategy because the ship is basically sailing without you all the time and adjusting course. It’s like an auto navigator. It senses a shock from the side. It will steer a little bit to the right because all the people sense it. They feel it.

And if I then say we all have to go 180 degrees, that might take a little bit more time than a more traditional organization where you’re saying we all have to go left now. So it is only fitting I think for people that want participation of everybody, that probably see that the people, I think the great resignation is probably a good fit for here, they want to own a purpose, they want to do something and have control over their own destiny, that kind of organization I think is a good fit for hol0cracy.

And it starts off as thinking there’s no managers and then so no structure, complete anarchy, but it’s actually an extremely structured format. But that also limits you as a leader. Just because you want hol0cracy, it means you also have to give up some things. There’s no back-channeling. There’s no more like, okay, that’s a good thing. You can squeeze that into your role. We don’t have to tell anybody, but now you’re also in charge of that. Just because you played golf this Saturday. Yeah, we played golf. I like you a little bit more. And so, no, everything is transparent. Every change you make is public, like every change we have a kind of a glass frog, we have a system for a locker sheet.

Every change you make goes public. And then people can say, whoa, what did you just change? That person is now in charge of that. That’s a big no-no because that will be fraud prone. That will be like, there’s only one person in charge of that, that will break and I vote against that. So you vote and saying, I bring that to meeting. I will not allow that to go through. I want to talk about that in a meeting. Like you can’t just process it out.

And other things are like, yeah, it’s a minor change. If you want it to be the admin of Slack, I don’t care. I don’t vote and automatically my vote get accepted as yes. But if I see something that I’m not liking, then I would instantly say, whoa, I click one button and the process stops. And that’s all transparent. Everything that changes in the company is always being pushed in our case to Slack.

We see the messages saying, marketing changed the purpose. I’m like, what did it change? Oh, it just removed one word. Oh, I get that, that’s fine. And everything is completely transparent all the way up to how toilets are cleaned and how strategic decisions are made. Everything is documented. And so I think that’s a pro, complete transparency in those things.

So if I’m an entrepreneur that I like to tinker with my business, then it’s probably not for me because it reduces my ability to tinker with the business. Or if I want to make the company self-managing so that I don’t have to be as involved, would that be a good choice? So I guess these are two questions in one.

Yeah, if you want to, I can team up with my business, I just have to do it transparently. I cannot just move power to people without telling everybody else. I can appoint people to roles, as many as I like. I can remove people from roles as much as I like. I have that power. If I don’t like the performance of somebody, I will remove him from the role. But since it’s just one role, it’s not his entire ego or existence. Because every person in Convert maybe have eight roles. I just remove you from that role because that role, you’re not a good fit. You can still stay work at Convert.

You still make your same hours. Just fill these five hours with something else. There’s always other roles to do. So you disconnect as well that title from the person and the ego that comes with it. So I think that’s really good, but it’s, as I said, it has to fit your style. It as a leader, like, do you want to move everybody? And you want that power and you want that speed, and I think that’s more a traditional approach, then go for it. And if you want to do something in a transparent way, involve people, give them the power to make choices and trust them to know better, you pick Hol0cracy?


It’s not very slow, but it’s a different environment to work in.

So it’s kind of a hyper empowerment tool for your business. If you want to be super transparent and super empowering, then Hol0cracy is a way to do this. And of course the price to play is more structure. It’s less, you know, in the moment, tinkering for the entrepreneur. You have to really commit to trusting your people that they will come up with the best answers over time and therefore empower them to grow your business if you are already figured out what you’re all about.

So it’s not like you’ve got the message to market fit. You know that you are in a market where you can grow. You just have to fine tune it over time. It’s kind of a Kaizen, it’s kind of continuous improvement. Then Hol0cracy is a tool to harness your people for a continuous improvement approach.

Yes, I think that’s a really good summary.

Awesome, well, that’s very exciting. I’m glad we got to the bottom of it because Holacracy has been a bit of mystery. I read the book, but still I wasn’t sure how it worked. And I’m obviously not an expert, but I’ve got an inkling now. So if you would like to learn more about Holacracy, then what are the resources and how can people reach out to you or check Convert’s offerings as well?

I’ll give some links potentially you can put in the show notes. Convert.com is the company I started. holacracyone.org is the site to explore if you’re curious about Holacracy. I recorded a video about how we structure Holacracy1 inside Convert. I think it’s like five to eight minutes. I’ll send you that so you can add it to the show notes. And if you want to connect to me, I think I live on LinkedIn. So it’s Dennis at Convert for email. And if you use that to search me on LinkedIn, you’ll also find me.

Ok, so Dennis Van der Heijden, the founder and CEO and head of global happiness at Convert. So thanks for coming and sharing with us the mysteries of holacracy. And to you, listener, if you enjoyed the conversation, stay tuned next week for another show with another exciting entrepreneur. stay tuned next week for another show with another exciting entrepreneur. Have a great week and thanks for coming, Dennis.


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