The Manager-Less Workplace

Sunday August 11, 2019; approximately 3:18pm EST.

This is the date and time of the following series of events.

A beautiful Sunday afternoon marks a definitive ‘yes’ to taking our mini golden-doodle Charlie (a.k.a Chuck, Chuckberry, Chuck-a-roni, Chuck Chuckerston, Charles, Charlie Bear, Puppy Baby) for a walk. Armed with poop bags (for Charlie not me) and sunglasses (for me not Charlie), we head out and in tow came my iPod…to listen to Humans 2.0 with Mark Metry and guest Naveen Jain (of Moonshot and Viome).

Every step become more and more obsolete as I melted into the discussion, the tangents, the passion of the podcast called ‘Disrupting Our World For A Better Tomorrow.’ Sometimes soap boxy, sometimes preachy, always inspirational, Naveen’s words resonated with me.

The same passion for making a difference in people’s lives. The same obsession for doing what you love for one intention only – loving what you are doing with your whole being because it is what you were born to do.

47 minutes into the podcast is the pivotal moment – the core of why some people become successful is because of their ability to ask the right question.


This is my mind-blowing moment.

By simply changing the question you ask, you change the possibility of the solutions. You change not just what you are looking at, also how and why, when and where.

Now while I knew this to be critically true when I led a Learning and Development department and needed to uncover the depths of why training was being requested…it’s placement at this time and place allowed me to look at something I’ve been working on for a while, in an entirely different light.


You see, up to this point I have been working on sharing everything I have learned and experienced in leadership, and management, through the lens and importance of emotional intelligence development. All of my efforts were toward developing managers emotional intelligence so that they lead people better, make greater impact to workplace innovation, harness the power of each individuals’ potential, and behave 100% consistently as their authentic selves.

I thought to myself “Self…you need to share this breakthough with someone. Who’s going to get with you on this exploration?”

Immediately I messaged Mike Vacanti, Founder HumansFirst Club (and more).

This is a snapshot of that message via LinkedIn.

Light discussion?!? Indeed it was going to get real deep, real fast. And I was pumped.

Within 36 hours, we were off and running. Discussing this topic like champs. Being open and curious, asking a bunch of questions, exploring the possibilities, telling our stories, countering one thought with another one.

Here are some paraphrased exchanges during that conversation…

Me: “Hey!!! I am so excited to speak with you and pick your brain; this is going to be too awesome!!!” (insert squeaky eeeeeeek sound)

Mike: “I’m so grateful to have you 1-on-1 because I’m really connecting with your energy and the way you think during our posts, comments, and HumansFirst discussions.”

Mike: “We know how business works.”

Me: “I’m not sure we know how business works. We know how it’s structured, however it’s not really working is it?”

Mike: “I’ve been thinking about this question “Why do companies need leaders?” and my brain has been fired up since you sent it to me Sunday. I think when we dissect it, and I just came up with this term which I think I’m going to add to my book, we see that PRESCRIPTIVE AUTHORITY is why a manager exists - it’s control, and that is what isn’t working. If you remove this, allowing the real potential of each individual to expand, then likely, everything can be done better without a manager.”

Me: “That’s brilliant! Can I get a footnote in your book?”

Mike: “Yes!”

p.s. This is now officially recorded. 😊

Me: “What if we were to onboard people in an entirely different way. What if onboarding into a workplace was all about the individuals’ growth toward their capacity, to reach their optimum, to develop their EQ, so that needing a manager, needing a leader, a formally appointed one, was no longer necessary? What if we were to really dig into the principles of AGILE: self-organizing, self-orienting, self-discipline/accountability? Could you imagine an onboarding program that did that for each person?”

Mike: “That’s blowing my mind.”

p.s.s This response is completely paraphrased because I do not recall the exact words that came from Mike…I just remember his face. It looked like I just blew his mind.

That evening, on our way to dinner, I proceeded to retell this conversation with Mike, to my husband. Our exchange is fast and furious. We are both extremely excited.

And then my husband directs me towards Gore Tex, letting me know that this company and the man who established it, has a workplace model that is similar to what we’re talking about.

“You should definitely check it out.”


And so, in my research I came across this article which totally blew my mind. How…in the world…had I not ever heard of this before. Like EVER!!??

Musical interlude while you read the article...

If you didn’t take the time to click the link…do it. I promise it will be worth not just your time, it will be worth it’s weight in gold toward any purpose you may be aspiring to. What you will read within these lines are things we have all experienced.

Some of us to the greatest of depths that we have not yet recovered.

Some of us to the depths that have forced us into armour.

Some of us to the heights to stand up and make a stand for something different, better, right.

What I believe is at the foundation of executing every single part of this workplace structure is emotional intelligence. It would be impossible for anyone with low EQ to execute on the fundamental beliefs and guiding principles of a manager-less workplace.

(Article exerp)

· Fundamental beliefs: Belief in the individual to do what's right for the company; our organization harnesses the fast decision-making, diverse perspectives, and collaboration of small teams; "we're all in the same boat," sharing risks and rewards and committed to what's best for the company and its long term success; we take a long-term view, basing our investment decisions on long-term payoff and not sacrificing our values for short-term gain.

Without a high level of self-perception, self-expression and stress-management, an individual would not possess the skills to execute on self-belief, choosing the greater good over the individual, inclusion and collaboration, risking personal safety to innovate.

· Guiding principles: freedom - for associates to achieve their own goals best by directing their efforts to the success of the corporation, to take action, to come up with ideas, to make mistakes as part of the creative process, to encourage each other to grow; fairness - we each sincerely try to be fair with each other, our suppliers, our customers and anyone else with whom we do business; commitment - we each make our own commitments and keep them; waterline - everyone at Gore consults with other associates before taking actions that might be "below the waterline," causing serious damage to the company

Without a high level of interpersonal relationships and decision making, an individual would not be able to take action with insight and solve problems creatively, to share risk and decide the best course of action while remaining flexible to constant change, adapt priorities based on what is and isn’t impactful in the moment to the overall goal.

Here’s the mission, here’s the BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL.

An on-boarding program that develops individuals to be able to flourish in a manager-less organization. An organization that is self-orienting, self-organizing, focused on the collective over the one, diplomatic in it’s decision making, innovative in it’s problem solving, freely sharing of information-praise-recognition, freely admits to errors and failures seeing them as opportunities to grow and learn and risk bigger next time, a humans first environment that places people before anything else.

On-boarding that focuses entirely on the individuals’ emotional intelligence growth. Developing their capacity to reach their optimum EQ so that they can leverage the crap out of their IQ. Developing each person to be the master leader of themselves in the most emotionally intelligent way; reaching the peak of their overall sense of well-being, their emotional functioning, their social functioning, and their performance.

Whoa. I just blew my own mind.

This is my mission to bring to the masses.

If you’re with me…

Check out my website: or reach out to me directly.

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