How Good Performance Measurement Can Flatten Your Management Hierarchy

by Stacey Barr |

With the right approach to measurement, teams become self-organising, more aligned to strategy, and accountable for results. Who needs managers?

Harald Matzke, CEO of cubus in Germany

I met Harald Matzke quite a few years ago. He was the CEO of a company called cubus in Germany. Now, he’s an independent consultant and part of our global licensed PuMP team.

We first met at a PuMP workshop that was hosted in the Netherlands by a very clever business intelligence company called Nova Silva. Shortly after that workshop, Harald invited me to run the PuMP workshop for his clients in Germany. He chose the spectacular location of Schloss Weissenburg, a gorgeous, German castle on top of a hill, with breathtaking views.

While in Germany, Harald and his team invited me to their Measure Gallery. Now the Measure Gallery is what we use in Step 4 in the PuMP Blueprint to build buy-in of colleagues beyond just the team of people that develops the measures.

I was so impressed with the work the cubus team had done on developing their measures that I wanted to stay in touch with Harald about their progress. And I learned about one thing that Harald did with PuMP that, to my knowledge, hasn’t been done anywhere else.

Harald and the leadership team used performance measurement (PuMP) to flatten the management hierarchy (management structure) of cubus. In my interview with Harald, he explained it this way:

“This company is 25 years old. We lived in a hierarchical structure. The two founders, Thomas and myself, who had been the top leaders and had a team leading structure as a second level. Each team had a team leader and so that was the management team. Now we believe the hierarchical leadership model is not what we need for the future…

We made a decision to completely get rid of the hierarchical structure, including the top management. Now we have 35 people in the company and we group them in five teams and these five teams are working self-organised. There’s no more boss in those teams. The principle rule is the one who’s the expert in a domain, he takes all the decisions in the domain and he’s also responsible for the result that he will create with those decisions.

The role that PuMP is playing in that organisation is a very key thing because each team has now created its own Results Map and defined their measures and their targets based on the long term strategic objective of the company. It fits together even if they work each individually in their teams.”

We live in a world where flatter organisation structures are becoming the required – not just desired – way of achieving more. Aerospace professional Kellie Gerardi, author of Not Necessarily Rocket Science: A Beginner’s Guide to Life in the Space Age, says it this way:

“The key to a team capable of doing more with less lies in a flat organizational structure where everyone feels equal ownership of outcomes and an equal responsibility to invest in each other to reach them.” – Kellie Gerardi

You’ll hear the story of this from Harald, in our full interview, where he elaborates on what the culture is like in cubus now, and the progress they’ve made with PuMP to measure what matters in the most egalitarian way…

“Why do I know that the results are brilliant? It’s because I have my PuMP measures.” – Harald Matzke, CEO, cubus
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Even if you can’t flatten your management hierarchy, how could the right performance measures, that track the right results, help teams in your organisation to be more self-organised and easily aligned to the strategic direction?

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