The Point-Of-View (POV) Dispatch is our internal newsletter where the Corporate Strategy & Engagement team covers the big ideas that are important to Autodesk and its customers. It is issued monthly. This story went out today as part of our April issue.
Organizational Announcement: Welcome, Everybody, to CEO Staff
by Happi Peeples, SVP Human Resources
April 1, 2013
Agile. Lean. Streamlined. Responsive.
These days business moves at lightning speed, and in order to keep up, leading companies are taking radical measures to ensure that their organizations are simple and streamlined enough to respond to the complexity and controlled chaos of a hyper-networked global economy. Today, Autodesk becomes one of those companies... In a move of "extreme innovation," CEO Carl Bass will radically flatten our organization in an effort to increase communication, collaboration, and alignment among all of Autodesk's ~7,000 global employees.
To do this, effective immediately, he has transformed the previously Byzantine, hierarchical, and highly matrixed Autodesk organizational structure into a beautifully simple two-tiered system: Carl at the center, and everyone else directly reporting to him.* This change was sparked by comments indicating that our organization is seen by many employees as too complicated, and as changing too often; and this idea was reinforced by the release of Autodesk Research's psychedelic "org visualizer," which showed that, in fact, the organization does, in fact, revolve around Carl. He decided to accept that fact, and reorganize accordingly.
[* Local laws and customs in some countries might not allow full, immediate implementation of this plan.]
Carl's A People Person — So He's Giving Himself More People
"I'm making this change to increase my own personal contact with each and every person in the company. As everyone knows, I'm a real 'people person,' so first of all this is a very natural move for me," says Bass. "With everyone in the company on my own staff, I will be freer to directly inflict my own personal brand of justice...uh, I mean management...on any situation, and on every employee."
Some key points about this bold organizational realignment:
Team Meetings = Company All-Hands
Now every team meeting will essentially be a company all-hands meeting — namely, a five-day affair that will be held in a former Air Force hangar in Northern California.
Span of Control
Orthodox management thinking is that the optimal "span of control" for a manager is about 7 people. Carl recognized, however, that at Autodesk we are better than that, and that he could increase our performance 1,000-fold by instantiating a span of control of 7,000.
One Manager, One Leadership Philosophy
Since Carl will be the only manager left in the company, there will no longer be variations in managerial effectiveness. As Carl recently said: "You know...people say I have a 'carrot and stick' management style — but the truth is that the stick works better, because I find I can't really hit people as hard with the carrot."
Performance Reviews Will Be a Breeze
With Carl himself directly reviewing everyone in the company, performance will be consistently measured, and more work extracted out of each employee in a uniform way.
Career Advancement: Solved!
We consistently hear that there are not enough opportunities for advancement at Autodesk, but this bold move solves that problem: as of today, everyone is a senior leader, reporting directly to the CEO. Congratulations on the promotion!
One Giant Headquarters — In Berkeley!
Construction has begun on a massive 3D-printed structure up in the hills of Berkeley that will eventually serve as our global headquarters, and house everyone in the company. This "open-plan" workspace will enable state-of-the-art communication and collaboration — meaning that Carl will be able to just yell out someone's name when he wants to talk to them. No more need for all that annoying email when everyone's within "hailing distance." And following in the footsteps of highly innovative companies like Yahoo and Best Buy, working from home will no longer be an option.
One. Big. Budget.
No more fighting over budget dollars. No more horse trading for resources among middle management. No more head fakes in which Carl approves something and then says it has to come out of your budget. With this new organizational structure, Carl will just decide what to spend, and it will all come out of one big budget: the CEO Discretionary Budget. This will eliminate tiresome budget discussions, not to mention the entire Financial Planning and Analysis department.
Organizational Roll Out
Autodesk HR will begin the rollout of this radically innovative plan in the very near future. The rollout will include:
HR will conduct 5 mandatory training webcasts on the rationale and implementation of this bold, thought-leadery organizational innovation;
We will be beefing up Carl's Workday and Kronos accounts, since he will be the only manager, and therefore nobody else really needs them;
All leadership training programs will be disbanded. We now have only one "Dear Leader," and he is already trained;
Last, but not least, we will be distributing some very attractive "origami starburst" org charts on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and screen savers to every employee, so that everyone knows exactly where they stand in the organization.
Please contact Nancy Wright to set up your weekly 1:1 meeting with Carl. And if you have any questions, please contact your HR business partner, or your new manager — that would be Carl!
[Legal disclosure: for the sake of Autodesk Legalr's blood pressure, the POV editorial staff discloses that almost everything in the above article is fabricated — Happy April Fools' Day, everyone! Note — April Fools is an informal holiday celebrated in many places in the world by people playing pranks and jokes on each other. Consider this organizational announcement as your April Fools prank from the POV editorial staff :-).]
Foolishness is alive in the lab.