Voys Model

Working with only bosses

The Voys Model is the system we use for self-management. It helps us work together as equals. It enables us to get the most out of ourselves in an environment where we have trust, responsibility, and decision-making power.

We see that it helps to develop ourselves, be happy, and thus contribute optimally to our purpose. Because happy colleagues make happy customers.

People often say we work without bosses, but we like to say we are working with only bosses.

We work with only bosses

Now we can imagine you might read this and think one of the following:

1. That’s got to be absolute chaos!
2. Can you still create value if you work like this?

To answer these thoughts, we want to explain how this works for us at Voys.

Holacracy and the Voys Model

Holacracy is a dynamic way of structuring and running your organization that replaces conventional management hierarchy. In organizations with 2 to 20 people, most businesses don’t really need management. If you want to work together as equals, what you do need is people who don’t behave like jerks.

When Voys grew beyond 20 people, we noticed we needed a dynamic system to guide us in structuring and running the business. We decided to use Holacracy to facilitate this. Holacracy distributes authority, helps give each person clarity of their responsibilities, and maximizes autonomy for each member of the organization.

Voys Model and other default systems

Holacracy only organizes the work. It says nothing about things that support us as a business like vision, strategy, culture, feedback, compensation, distributed working, budgeting, etc.

That’s why we rely heavily on social technology and developed and adapted a lot of systems and solutions to make self-management work for us. We use these tools to help us do our work and facilitate us to work as equals.

For some areas we developed a new system, like our systems for purchasing and vision determination. Sometimes we found and adjusted existing systems like Beyond Budgeting for budgeting and The Rockefeller Habits for strategy. All these systems together work to facilitate an environment of distributed authority and trust.

A business that creates value for the entire system

Another part of the puzzle is value creation. We’ve been one of the fastest-growing tech companies in Europe for 10 consecutive years. But we feel pure economic growth is meaningless if it destroys people and the planet in the process.

We want to be an organization that creates system value; a business that is a part of society and thus a part of its environment. On our Impact page, you can read more on how we are striving to be a meaningful business.


“This will never work for us”

By now you might be thinking “this sounds very aspirational, but this will never work for us”. You could have all these objections in your head such as:

  1. Our people are too young or too old.
  2. Your organization got the chance to build this from the ground up, we have to do it with an existing team.
  3. Our people won’t be able to do this.
  4. Our organization is too large or too small.
  5. Our education level is too low or too high.
  6. The type of work we do is not cut out for this.

And all of these might be a little true, which is okay. But we also see that people have so much more potential than we are able to use in our businesses that these worries don’t hold a business back as much as you would think.

Here is another way to think about it:

You probably bought a house or a car without being trained for making these decisions, which are a couple of the biggest expenses of your life. You might be raising kids, which you were not trained for at all, and is the biggest responsibility you’ll have in life.

But on the other hand, you go to the office to do a job you went to school for and have years of experience with. And yet you can’t make decisions like buying a paper clip without filling in a purchasing form to get approval.

As a society, we have created crazy systems that revolve around that; systems. At Voys, we wanted something that would work for us as people. A system that works for colleagues, the organization, and the people we support: our customers.

And to give you some perspective: we didn’t start where we are now. It’s been a 16-year journey with loads of mistakes to get us to where we are today. We learned that everything around us has been created and thought up by people that were no smarter than you and we are. And because of this, anyone can change it, influence it, and build better systems that are future-ready. You just have to be willing to run the experiment.

“Everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”
– Steven Jobs