500 Days of Self-Management

Today is my 500th day working in self-management. It represents a good opportunity to take a quick look back and share with you what my experience has been so far !

Go with the flow

When I joined Clarity Upgrades, I had previous knowledge in self-management methods like Holacracy®, sociocracy, collective intelligence, … But I wasn’t hired for a particular job in advance, as the company was just getting started. All I knew was that I wanted to contribute in any way possible to spread these ways of working into the world.

The first question I was asked was “What do you want to do ?”. My quest toward identifying my concrete added value had begun.

I decided to go with the flow, depending on what was needed at a certain time. I was willing to experiment with different things and identify little by little what I enjoyed doing. Fortunately, self-management makes it really easy thanks to a system allowing us to figure out on a regular basis which roles (little pieces of work) are needed based on the work that’s being done. We can then fill these roles and twist them along the way. When a role is not needed anymore, we delete it.

I took some roles to satisfy my geeky side (tech tools), and others to get creative and to bring structure (building presentations and visualizing content). Some allowing me to keep in touch with theory (academic stuff), and some to get my hands dirty and learn on the field (training & coaching).


Self-management or not, that’s probably how it goes in a start-up. You get to do different things and adapt as things change rapidly. What I think might differ here is the freedom that I have to build my custom path and precisely decide the skills that I want to develop, as long as it adds value and contributes to our purpose. And a good part of this is possible thanks to being organized with dynamic, clear and explicit roles, and not job descriptions.

Knowing that I can take my own path freely while keeping in touch with what is needed for the organisation and adapt as things unfold is the best feeling I’ve experienced so far and one of the main reasons why I’m enjoying the ride.

Furthermore, this way of working makes me feel that I’m really on par with Hendrik and Fabian despite them being more experienced than me. That’s the magic of clearly distinguishing people from their roles. And for a generation Y guy like me, it counts a lot !

Challenges and grow

But if freedom and autonomy is good, it also has a cost. The cost of taking responsibility and developing leadership in your roles. And sometimes it’s challenging.

I think that working in self-management is like facing a mirror of some kind, relentlessly sending you back to yourself and to your own power to act. It requires you to take true ownership of your roles. That is to say daring to take initiative and/or to make proposals, prioritizing wisely and being transparent. This sometimes brings me pretty quickly to face uncertainty and to deal with my weaknesses.

But at the same time this represents a constant invitation to get out of my comfort zone, learn about myself and grow. And fortunately it’s still totally okay to ask for help when needed ! But before doing it I try to ask myself “am I looking for help or feedback or for some kind of approval ?”. The limit is sometimes thin. But I’m convinced that all these little details and reflexes are part of what makes working in a self-managed company a deep and fulfilling experience.


During these 500 days in self-management I have learned one thing : with freedom and trust comes responsibility, and all the challenges and opportunities to grow that go with it. It feels good, rewarding and fulfilling. And it’s only the beginning !

If you’re interested in creating a working environment where people can thrive as well, feel free to contact us. We will be glad to help !