Yes, it’s true. They all lost their current jobs and what’s more: Not a single employee at Diwo opposed the decision! Are you curious to know just how bad these directors must have been to be unanimously and collectively fired? The answer is: They were fantastic.

In fact, the entire initiative to get rid of them were suggested by themselves. “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do, we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do”- a commonly flaunted Steve Jobs quote that has escaped a total amount of zero people on Linkedin, but probably meant very little in practice for most people. At Diwo, the words have really been taken to heart and resulted in a very comprehensive restructuring of how we work and how we view ourselves as employees and as part of an organization.

This restructuring was not carried out on a whim and had in many ways been a long time in the making. At Diwo we have always relied heavily on attracting and retaining top talent and creating the utmost value for our customers. In today’s competitive market we simultaneously identified the need to enhance our employer branding and further increase the customer value that we bring to the table. We realized that confining our unique HR-capital (our highly skilled employees) in traditional corporate hierarchies limited the capacity of our staff and put a cap on potential customer value. We figured that by empowering and trusting our employees we could simultaneously create greater customer value.

The question then became HOW to empower our employees? Well, the short answer was easy enough to find: Get out of their way. The long answer took into account the fact that we also wanted such things as governance, measurability, continuity and the ability to scale to be part of our company structure. So, you can imagine that it took some time and effort before we felt that we had a working solution for it, but now we are really proud and happy to be able to involve you in our new way of working.

Since the first of October, after all employees unanimously accepted a proposal at a company retreat, Diwo is governed by all employees in a democratic and network-based governance structure that relies on the collective engagement and competency of the entire company. We no longer look to line managers or functions for decision-making and overall governance of our company. Instead, our efforts and employees are organized in a variety of Forums where major decisions are made. Ideas, proposals and complaints are handled in a democratic process that safeguards our organization from individual and arbitrary missteps. It is the obligation and privilege of all Diwo employees to participate and engage in whatever part/forum of the organization that they feel most at home with and where they create most value for themselves and the company.

The governance structure draws upon proven methods for governance and is of course inspired by other organizations who have already made this move. We do not claim to be the first of pioneers with this move, instead we are thankful of having some forerunners to help guide us. However, this is not a commonly treaded path and we are naturally still learning. This is what the (previous) board of directors’ member and co-founder of Diwo Carl-Johan Engberg has to say about the first two month in the new organization:

“I have to admit, I was a bit sceptic about the concept at first. Not that I didn’t trust the competency and professionalism of our employees, I was simply worried that we would experience a lot of trouble with decision-making and that things would be neglected without a designated individual to be held accountable. But in the first two months we have actually taken more decisions by putting executive power in the hands of all our employees and so far, the neglect has been, well, neglectable. Obviously we are still figuring out best-practice in several areas which was previously very clear in a traditional hierarchy, but I am confident we will find practices that are just as good or better than what we had.

Instead of experiencing poor governance and organizational anarchy, it has been a truly inspiring and enlightening first two months. The collective sense of that Diwo is making a difference for the employees of our customer has become even stronger and the individual development of our employees, especially among the junior staff, has been nothing short of remarkable. All taken together, I really feel like we are on a very exciting path here that will help us grow considerably the next few year!” – Carl-Johan Engberg

We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all organisations and individuals who have helped us realize this transformation, especially Marie Froment from Sonder for her enlightened guidance and Tenant & Partner who have been a big organizational role model for us.

Yours truly,

The entire Diwo