Self-management, advice processes to increase your salary, energizing multiple roles to express your talents, participating in strategic decisions via generative decision-making processes, practicing radical candor, or feeling safe to come out as LGBTQ2S+. ET Group’s story was not always like this.
This is the tale of a company that transformed from an ego-driven and toxic environment to a thriving self-managed organization where people are empowered and valued.
ET Group had a “traditional” ownership structure, multiple managers, and siloed responsibilities which resulted in power struggles, unnecessary procedural delays, and lack of accountability. Like many other companies, we were lacking a focus on our most important resource - the people.
So we soul-searched for ways to reinvent businesses so they could be better, healthier, and more meaningful places to work. We felt strongly that ET Group could evolve to become a healthier and more innovative environment.
We dove deep and studied Teal Organizations and Holacracy and decided to prototype a series of innovative structures, practices, and processes in ET Group. After experiencing promising results, we proposed a fundamental power shift in the organization to adopt a self-managed structure and decentralized decision-making processes. To date, we have witnessed 6 years of healthy growth, industry-leading profitability, top talent attraction, and top-performing innovation within the services that are delivered to ET Group’s clients.
We switched our mindset to acknowledge that we can trust each other - because we care about each other, and we value the different gifts we each bring to the table. We recognize that everyone wants to do amazing work, and we do not need mechanisms for people to be incentivized and motivated.
To innovate in a highly decentralized and agile manner, ET Group has invested significant resources to learn and strengthen their muscles around new ways of working. Working with leading changemakers and facilitators, we host regular labs and workshops where challenges surface and potential solutions are co-created. We continue to nourish our evolution by providing coaching, and creating teams focused on innovation and the ongoing evolution of the organization.
What we are trying to create at ET Group is a space for people to experience a totally different way of being who we are. It is okay to not feel great that day and say it. You do not have to wear a professional mask all the time, because we are showing up as who we are and not pretending to be someone else.
The team's talent has enriched ET Group so much that we have introduced new technology to clients, won industry awards, created new revenue streams, reduced costs by streamlining processes, learned how to work more effectively together, and are recognized as an innovator by clients and peers.
We pioneered collaborative Strategic Advisory Services using human-centric design thinking and participatory leadership approaches. We nurture long-term relationships with our clients.
“Life is about seeing and appreciating each other as wonderful beings with different gifts, talents, and dreams. It is about being in service of each other, and life itself to create beautiful things together. As a collective, it is imperative we shift the narrative and realize what makes us truly happy and fulfilled is to be in service of each other and the planet as a whole.” ~ Dirk Propfe
CEO, Dirk Propfe speaking at Tony Hsieh Awards 2021
In December 2021, ET Group President and CEO Dirk Propfe accepted the Tony Hsieh Award on behalf of our organization. The award, presented by the Greenlight Giving Foundation & Keith Ferrazzi, honours the life of the late Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh and the ways that he continues to inspire organizations to be innovative, authentic, and create better ways of fostering connection. Tony believed that there was always room for improvement and that above all else, people come first.
Read more about ET Group's journey and the Tony Hsieh Award here.
Watch Dirk Propfe's acceptance speech on behalf of ET Group here.