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The Liberated Enterprise: a model that challenges

The Liberated Enterprise: a model that challenges

Are you concerned by the model of the liberated company?

It is defined as an organizational model in which employees are free and responsible for the actions they take.

Some examples:

  • a pioneer: FAVI (metal parts for automobiles)
  • MAIF,
  • the Pasteur Clinic (1800 employees),

... but also famous foreign companies like :

As proof of the relevance of this model, we have some exemplary success stories.

But... there is no shortage of examples of companies that thrive using traditional organizational models!

So I'm still wondering if this model is going to become more widespread, or if it's going to remain an exception.

Today, I simply propose a few lines of thought, because it seems to me that every manager would benefit from confronting his or her operating mode with that of liberated companies.


 According to a 2018 survey, French employees are among the least engaged in their work, Europe-wide. 

Frankly, does this surprise you? It's so common to hear terse exchanges on the first day of the week like:

-How are you?

-Like a Monday........(in a grumpy and rather desperate tone that does not let us hope for a great enthusiasm for the following days).

Add to that the "Bullshit jobs" phenomenon that has made 1/3 of the Western payroll recognize itself, and a crucifying study on happiness at work:

Yes, the traditional model is in crisis.

In this respect, it seems that the liberated company has indeed found a way to generate motivation again.

In fact, by gaining autonomy, employees find more meaning in their actions, and they take ownership of the work: it really becomes THEIR work, the objectives are internalized, and involvement is spontaneous.

In addition to this intrinsic motivation :

- to have control over its action,

- be proud of what we do,

there is a part of mobilization that is done within the teams:

-they are no longer subject to the orders of the Management, but...

-...really in the same boat, and made to face their responsibilities.


I say it outright, one objection that prevents me from fully embracing this approach is that it can only work if there is a responsible staff in full conscience.

Wanting more autonomy is one thing;

assuming the implications of choices and behaviors for the company's long-term future is another...

I will devote another post to this particular issue that I find essential.


The liberated company bets oncollective intelligence: it wants to put 50 or 1000 brains in a network to make decisions.

We consider that the teams and actors are legitimate to determine the actions, the distribution of tasks, the daily organization of work.

One of the advantages of this model is that itsaves a lot of energy and time in monitoring and reporting, allowing you to focus on development.

The concrete cases show that it works quite well, because the employees know the context well, and are close to the customers' needs.

This horizontality obviously raises fears, but the liberated company always operates according to clear rules, and under the supervision of a Management that guarantees the overall vision. 


To the credit of this model, we can recognize that simple indicators such as turnover, business development, but also the rate of absenteeism quickly give the measure of success.

Some control remains, but in the form of short control loops, not long reporting chains that give the actor the impression that he is not recognized.

I also mention the culture of transparency, which works both ways:

- employees need all the information they need to make the right choices

- the teams show their way of working (especially since in this context, internal communication is essential)


I read a convincing testimony from a digital company manager(Agesys), who said he wanted to recapture thestart-up spirit of their early days: involvement, pleasure in moving forward, ability to adapt quickly.

The liberated company is necessarily agile: while respecting the vision and values, nothing is fixed, it can reinvent itself permanently to adapt to the fluctuations of reality.

In this context, managers become "facilitators" or "coaches": they bring their expertise to support teams and help them acquire new behaviors.

The overall good performance of liberated companies, in a context of a working world in identity crisis, makes me find the approach convincing enough to be at least considered.

Moreover, there is not really a radical change of state of the companies that adopt this model: they choose the method of small steps, or "incremental change", the first step being perhaps an awareness.

I leave you to reflect on theimmense reserve of energy and unexpressed potential that could be activated if employees regained a strong sense of belonging and exemplary involvement...

In all freedom,


(who will return to Harley-Davidson after having expressed all his potential)

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