Maximizing productivity and ensuring company growth in a flat organization

Published on Jun 10, 2023

Are you looking to boost productivity while ensuring that your company stays on track? A flat organizational structure with minimal managerial overhead can help achieve both of these goals. One way to implement this structure is by building an organization around "pods" or mini startups focused on specific domains.

Building Organizations with Dennis Just

Dennis Just, former CEO of Smallpdf and Venture Partner at 3VC, gives some actionable tips to help you create a more efficient and effective organization.

1: Creating Three Layers of Shared Context for Scaling within an Organization

To facilitate scaling within an organization, active conversations, sharing, and rituals create a shared context. Fostering a strong culture and value system can make it easier for employees to help each other, leading to internal issue resolution. Intent-based access can also help employees find the information they need. Provide information to your teams, but don’t overwhelm them with it - too much transparency can create a sense of anxiety. There are two areas where open communication with employees can be challenging for companies: bottom line communication and transactions such as financing rounds and M&A.

2:  As asynchronous as reasonable: Streamlining Meetings and Collaboration with Silent Meetings and Notion

A weekly 30-minute meeting to align on OKRs and silent meetings are used as the formats of choice to streamline the conversation and provide end-to-end context information, as well as ensuring everyone is heading in one direction.  Notion can be used to collaborate and answer any questions, eliminating the need for additional meetings or information-seeking throughout the week. The company should also align on OKRs at a quarterly level to allow for clear communication so everyone knows their responsibilities.

3: Pods for Autonomous and Accountable Teams

Creating pods consisting of maximum 8 people makes it easier to visualize and scale the organization, with the ability to easily add domains and adjust the team composition as needed. 

The pods should be autonomous and given time to define their mission, but also measured to ensure accountability. Planning and reporting on hiring and investments in a clear and concise manner is better than presenting a complex org chart. Lastly, talk about bets that will have an impact on monetization or business growth.

By implementing a flat organizational structure with minimal managerial overhead, creating a shared context, streamlining meetings and collaboration, and utilizing pods, companies can achieve greater productivity and growth.

About Dennis Just

Dennis Just is a seasoned entrepreneur and manager with an obsession for beautiful products, scalable services, and growth.
At the age of 16, he founded his first company in the e-sports sector, which he sold three years later after finishing school. After studying at the Technical University (TU) in Berlin, Dennis founded, managed (and sold) several companies before he joined Smallpdf as CEO in 2019 where he's (among other things) responsible for their industry-leading efficiency metrics.

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