The current episode is yet another one of my podcast series devoted to self-management and Holacracy. This time I sat down with Marc-Peter Pijper, a self-organisation coach at Viisi, a Dutch mortgage advisor. Viisi is, arguably, the first financial organisation in the world to apply Holacracy to run its everyday business. They have built up their organisation and its workings on the self-determination theory (as it is popularised by Daniel Pink in his book “Drive”) that promotes the satisfaction of three basic human needs – the need for autonomy, mastery and purpose. Viisi works with a ‘People First, Customers Second, Shareholders Last’ philosophy, as it is their firm belief that if employees are happy and motivated, then happy customers and lastly happy shareholders follow automatically. And this has paid off big time. Viisi’s has earned the Best Workplace of the Netherlands award four (!) times in a row and in 2021 they were awarded the Best European Workplace by Great Place to Work. It was an honour to have this opportunity to chat with Marc-Peter about the Viisi’s story and the lessons learned while adopting the Holacracy.
“At the time, around six years ago, we were looking for the various ways how to run a growing organisation and scale up. And we started to ask ourselves why people actually want to come and work for us? Why do they knock on our door and say, hello, Viisi, I want to work here? As we did some research into science of it, the self-determination theory came up. In a nutshell, the theory says that people are looking in their work, but also more widely in life, for autonomy; they are looking for mastery; and they are looking for a sense of purpose. Autonomy here means that people want to be able to decide how to get from A to B, they want to have the feeling that they can control how they get from A to B. Mastery means that people want to become better versions of themselves. They want to develop skills, develop and grow in certain areas. And then they seek for purpose. This means that people get up in the morning because they feel that they make a difference within their team. They feel connected to their team members, and they want to achieve stuff that is bigger than themselves with their team. So with that in the back of our minds, we looked at the traditional management hierarchy and we felt that it actually goes against everything people look for. For example, the building blocks of a management hierarchy are ‘command’ and ‘control’, but it goes against providing autonomy and mastery and purpose. So we quite quickly removed this option of running the organisation from our list. And while looking at scaling up literature, Holacracy came up as a possible option.”– Marc-Peter Pijper
Listen and enjoy!