Why Self Management? We Are Already A Great Place To Work

Joost Minnaar
Written by Joost Minnaar January 13, 2018

At Incentro we are once again awarded as a [Great Place To Work. An awesome recognition that focussing on happiness is an important factor to success. And yet, after receiving this recognition, we are not there yet.

Because one thing is certain: the things we are happy about today, in a while we take that for granted and are not so happy about that. So we have to keep developing. I work in the Rotterdam Office of Incentro and want to tell you more about how we look further than the happiness of today.

Autonomous Offices

At Incentro, we are continuously in search for what makes us even more happy. Every Office within the #worldofincentro does that on its own way and pace. Because, through all of our offices, not only do we share our special culture, also the principle of autonomy. Eckhart Wintzen and Ricardo Semler are important inspirators for us.

One of the most important reasons of the autonomous offices is that everyone within an office feels more connected with an organisation as part of a smaller group (read: office). You are not seen as a number between hundreds of colleagues and you are more engaged with the office you work for. If an office grows over 60 employees, we divide ourselves into two different offices. Just like biological cell division.

If an office grows over 60 employees, we divide ourselves into two different offices.
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All offices have the same so called hygiene rules:

  • We have to score at least a 7.5 on employee happiness,
  • We need a financial healthy basis.

But within those rules, the offices are completely free to follow their own path to Digital Happiness. Because of the culture within Incentro, the offices are connected to each-other. So, we are very eager to help each other.


In the radio-commercials we call ourselves ‘ An IT Company’. And as such, we are now in the middle of a very hectic market. Innovations come by so often and customers continuously ask for adjustments in our service offering. There is so much demand for our knowledge.

At the same time, there is a lot of demand for IT specialists, recruiters are trying there best. As developer, your LinkedIn inbox could be burning because of all the invites.

So, on one hand a lot of demand from customers, on the other hand a lot of demand for developers/specialists. We are just in the middle of that. Great! That means we need to keep ourselves sharp and we cannot sit still.

Self management as the answer

In our Rotterdam Office our answer to these challenges is: Self Management. A lot has been written about the term, by supporters and opponents. The term ‘self management’ is somewhat unfortunately chosen. Because in our definition it’s more about the team, not the person itself. Besides that, the principles of self management are very powerful.

Our answer to our challenges is self management, the principles are very powerful
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Currently we have 5 ‘self managed’ teams. Every one of them started from the passion of a couple of employees with a common vision. These teams are completely responsible for the success of their own team. And with that, responsible for the success of the Rotterdam office of Incentro.

The teams look at the world from their own personal expertise and ambition. They have the strongest connection with the market demand, because they work right in the middle of that. A group of managers/directors are not able to compete with that, because they stepped out years ago.

This way of working has huge advantages, here are a few:

  • It causes engagement within the office. As an employee, you are far more part of the office/organisation. Together, we are working hard towards the goals we create ourselves.
  • We are super flexible in smaller teams to keep answering the market demand based on the questions of our customers. Because if we do not answer, we stop existing.
  • We offer (new) employees a lot more than just a salary and assignments. Together we build towards the common vision.

It was a very useful process and we are not there yet, by far. While stil at an early stage, we feel that we are on the right course. We learn fast and we keep evolving.

In the beginning of the process our colleagues stood with their heels in the sand. Now with their toes, to help pushing forward.

It is no surprise that I am an ambassador for self managed teams. I would love to talk to you about your and our experiences.

Written by Joost Minnaar
Joost Minnaar
Co-founder Corporate Rebels. My daily focus is on research, writing, and anything else related to making work more fun.
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