THE UNMANAGED COMPANY
A few weeks before graduating from business school, Pablo Cervantes began his job search in San Diego, California area. While he was reading through the classified advertisements, his eye caught one ad in particular.
“Energetic, go-getter wanted to join newly formed firm in the waste disposal field. We anticipate 500 percent growth in the first few years. Person joining our team must forget about constraints and roles imposed by most firms. Write us about yourself, Box 7654, this newspaper.”
Thinking “what can I lose?” Cervantes sent in his letter and resume. Much to his surprise, he received a telephone call about one week later. Marty Berg, the caller, said the represented Solar Waste and would like to meet Cervantes. The two men arranged a convenient time. Cervantes followed the directions to a cinder-block building in a fringe area of the city.
Berg escorted Cervantes to a corner of virtually empty building. They sat on two battered chairs adjacent to a work table. “Don’t let the appearances deceive you”, said Berg. “We’re into something big around here. We have one-million dollar contract up front the experiment with a new sun-driven solid waste disposal system. It is the wave of the future. The ad said we expect a 500 percent growth in the first few years, but that a conservatives estimate. The co-founder of the firm is a scientific genius. She thinks that she has the right idea to cure the waste-disposal problems in any sunny climate”.
“Sounds great to me”, said Cervantes. “But what job do you have in mind? I have a business background. I can sell. I can solve problems. I can help you manage the company. What skills are you looking for? What would be my job title?”
With a smile, Berg looked at Cervantes and said, “Pablo, that’s the point we were trying to make in the ad. Solar waste will have no job titles, no job descriptions and no levels of management. We will all pitch in and do whatever is needed to get the job done. You have to get rid of your hang-ups about classical organization theory to work here.”
“You mean to say, you’re going to try to fulfill a one million dollar contract without doing any planning, organizing, leading, or controlling?” “Now you’re catching on. Around here, the traditional organization is dead. We’ll work together as a group and do what needs to be done.”
“But could you at least tell me what my job title would be?” asked Cervantes. “Would I be a manager, a sales rep, or a specialist?”
“There you go again,” said Berg. “Those titles will have no relevance in our pioneering little firm. We are looking for talent and ambition. We have an unconventional product to offer society, so we want an unconventional firm to carry out our mission. There will be no fixed roles for anybody. “Okay, I get the point. But what about my starting salary if I joined Solar Waste, what would that be?
“A lot would depend on what you think you are worth and how much money we have available to share among ourselves. We don’t want to pay people fixed wages every month. So much depends on how much they contribute and how much work to get in.”
At this point, Berg’s telephone rang. After chatting for minute, Berg said, “I have to take care of an emergency right now. Could you come back in twenty minutes? Then you can meet the co-founder of Solar Waste. I think I see some possibilities here. I know she would like to meet you.”
Cervantes walked across the street to get a soft drink from a service station vending machine. He thought to himself, “Should I jump in my car and make a U-turn? Or I should look further into this potentially great opportunity?”
- What do you think of the management philosophy of Solar Waste?
- Will the organizational structure that Marty has in mind works? Why or why not?
- From your stand point, is Marty Berg describing a utopia or a snake pit? Explain your reasoning.
- What should Pablo Cervantes do after he finishes his soft drink?
The answer for question number one:
1. The management philosophy is totally crap. There are no such good management system that does not require any “vital elements” like organizing, planning, leaderships and controlling. This company is very poorly managed as it have no fixed roles for anybody, and they don’t pay fixed salary to their workers but only share the available money among them as a “wage” (which is a ridiculous thing about a company that will have a one-million dollar contract soon enough).
Here’s for number two:
The fact is, I don’t see any proper organizational structure here, and I’m pretty sure it will never work. Because of the poor management system, this company wouldn’t last for long. If you ask why, I think it’s mainly because there are no managers or any fixed roles in here. And to make things worse, they recruit people from every background which could be harm for its future. Can you imagine, what would it be, a company without a proper managerial system that let anyone (regardless their background) work as a staff?
Here goes, three:
I think that Marty Berg describing utopia. He was pursuing a utopian dream of this company’s “bright” prospect to some job applicants, (which is impossible for it to get a million dollar contract for a science experiment). And it is very suspicious to catch this Job Advertisement in the local newspaper with no special requirements needed and anyone can apply for it. Anyway, in other point of view, Marty Berg is also describing a snake pit for those who understand this unrealistic prospect at the very beginning. Most of all, Marty is lying about the prospect.
As for the last, here’s number four:
A wise man said, “Intuition is always right”. To jump in the car and make a U-turn is Pablo’s first option. If he remember what the wise man told him, and if he is smart enough to not to get involved in this hardships, then he should finish his soft drink and jump in his car, then get out of there as soon as he could.
Are there any other possible answers? post here! 😀
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