Controversial “Amoeba”: Why China is difficult to land

Controversial "Amoeba": Why China is difficult to land

Recently, there has been a lively discussion between management academia and business circles about the value and significance of this management model of Amoeba to Chinese enterprises. Before answering the question, we need to figure out what the “amoeba business model” is and what is the underlying logic of this management model’s difficulty in landing in China.

The Amoeba business model is the business model pioneered by Kazuo Inamori, the Japanese business owner. Inamori Kazuo’s early years of entrepreneurship, one person was responsible for both R&D and marketing. When the company grew to more than 100 people, he felt miserable, and he was very eager to have many clones of himself who could go to various important departments to assume responsibility.

Therefore, he used the concept of “Amoeba” to break up the company and split the departments into independent financial accounting operations to solve the problem of employees’ lack of awareness of independent operation. Kazuo Inamori calls this kind of independent business entity that divides labor through functions, dismantles small business units, and then calculates costs, revenues, and profits, called the Amoeba business model.

Kazuo Inamori created two Fortune 500 companies-Kyocera and Second Telecom (KDDI) . It is the Amoeba business model that allows these two companies to thrive and flourish. The Amoeba business model and Kyocera Accounting are known as the two pillars of Inamori’s business philosophy.

The success of Kazuo Inamori made “Amoeba” famous. Hundreds of companies offering management training and management consulting under the banner of “Amoeba” have also appeared in the Chinese market. Most of these companies have changed the traditional profit center method of management accounting, piercing the concept of “Amoeba”, and providing service products designed with small business entities and profit and income distribution as the main incentive model.

Different from these “Chinese version of amoeba”, in the “Inamori Kazuo version of amoeba” business model, the amoeba members do not directly participate in the distribution of operating income. Honor hook.

Inamori Kazuo responded to a question from Haier Group executives on the “amoeba assessment” in 2010: “In Amoeba, the’added value’ created by each person per hour is used to express performance. A certain amoeba’s unit Time’ creates high benefits and makes a great contribution to the enterprise, so people throughout the company will appreciate them, respect them, and thank them. But it is limited to honorary praise, not money to stimulate. Taking into account the entire enterprise When the situation is good, I will increase the income of all staff to make everyone happy. This kind of salary system can encourage employees to help each other and share happiness and hardships together.”

In 1991, the well-known management scientist John Kotter wrote an article that Kazuo Inamori used personal leadership and corporate culture to eliminate it while maintaining the autonomy of the profit center characterized by amoeba. the potential conflict of interest, Ivory this is sometimes called the “culture of control” (cultural control) .

Robin Cooper, one of the proponents of activity-based costing , wrote an article in Harvard Business Review in 1994 and referred to amoeba as a ” Micro Profit Center .” He believes that MPC not only reduces the focus of decision-making and avoids organizational rigidity, but also has the risk of organizational conflicts caused by the maximization of local interests. Therefore, “management philosophy” has become an indispensable means of reconciling this potential risk.

The author believes that Kazuo Inamori is firmly opposed to directly linking Amoeba’s business performance to employee income. Its purpose is to emphasize the softness of corporate culture, management philosophy, and personal leadership , just like the analysis of John Cot and Robin Cooper. Function to avoid conflicts of interest between amoeba and the company as a whole.

Low-level logic that is difficult to land

Amoeba’s model splits large companies into small business units with independent accounting systems, and allows all front-line employees to participate in the company’s operations. This has indeed improved team vitality, communication efficiency, organizational agility, and individual employees’ performance. Initiative.

However, amoeba’s careless operation can easily cause employees to lack a global view, pay too much attention to the tasks of the small team, pursue the interests of the small team while ignoring the overall interests of the enterprise, and lose the efficiency advantage and cost advantage brought by the scale. .

Although small teams are sometimes full of vitality, the coordination of the organization is not in place. Not only does each amoeba fail to maintain a high degree of consistency with the overall strategic goals of the company, there are competitions or competitions, and may even run counter to each other. It is easy to be broken by competitors. The skirmishers.

It is a gang that walks together because of economic interests; it is a team that walks together because of a common goal; it is an organization that walks together because of co-creating value. Kazuo Inamori’s version of Amoeba solves the above problems by weakening the material drive and strengthening the foundation of entrepreneurial philosophy and corporate culture.

Therefore, in the Inamori version of amoeba, although the value created by each amoeba is calculated, the company does not use this value as the assessment basis for the income distribution of amoeba operators; while “altruism”, “respect for heaven and love”, and “personal Inamori’s philosophy such as “interests subordinate to collective interests” and “integration of justice and benefit” has become the top priority of Amoeba’s management from top to bottom.

Kazuo Inamori’s management philosophy has been successful in Kyocera, Daiichi Telecom and JAL, which he personally participated in. But in other Japanese companies and Chinese companies, successful introductions are rare.

Due to the extremely fierce and realistic competitive environment in the Chinese market, the “Chinese version of Amoeba”, while dividing its business units, introduced levers such as revenue sharing, competition mechanisms and even equity incentives to motivate managers and employees.

The “Chinese version of Amoeba” is market-oriented and material-driven independent operation. “Inamori Kazuo’s version of Amoeba” is an independent management based on the “psychology” of pursuing collective and social benefits. The core values ​​of the two are completely different.

In fact, the Chinese version of Amoeba has better solved the problem of stimulating the vitality of the internal market-oriented small business team through the introduction of the profit-sharing mechanism and the competition mechanism. However, the shortcomings of “how to form a joint force” and other issues are exposed. It is getting bigger and bigger, and basically no good solution has been found.

Internal pricing cannot go down, vicious competition between amoeba, mutual plagiarism, short-termism, all kinds of internal friction… These have become some entrepreneurs’ criticism of amoeba.

For example, some companies just started Amoeba for a short time, because the small teams have too much internal pricing differences between each other, and they are stuck; some companies have successfully introduced Amoeba under the strong push of the boss, and at the beginning A few years, a certain degree of success has been achieved, but three to five years later, the original organizational vitality brought by the amoeba model has gradually become ineffective, and the drawbacks have continued to magnify. Instead, the amoeba has become a shackles that put these companies on the verge of extinction.

In fact, the problem of amoeba is not the problem of amoeba itself. The problem of amoeba is the problem that all enterprises will mechanically copy any advanced management model. Just like a traditional management consulting company that relies on a few sets of plan templates to build the world, it cannot help its clients adapt to a rapidly changing world. There are no two identical leaves in the world.

Running a business is a complicated thing because your customers and employees are constantly changing. For an organization to continue to develop, the organizational model must continue to iterate. Different companies have completely different team genes, employee ideas, and internal and external challenges. Even the same company, at different stages of development, faces major contradictions and minor contradictions that are far from each other.

Therefore, it is unrealistic to expect to use a fixed and perfect “routine” to solve all the problems of the sustainable development of the enterprise once and for all.

Around 2015, the demographic dividend disappeared, Generation Z rose, and organizations entered the first year of the transformation of a new model. More and more companies paid more attention to organizational development and innovation. But at this time, two extreme situations have also emerged: one extreme adheres to the doctrine of utilitarianism and completely imitates the advanced organizational model; the other extreme pursues seclusion, does not believe in any non-native methodologies, and relies on their own exploration and practice.

Behind the rigid method reflects the eagerness for quick success and quick gain, and the vain attempt to find a shortcut, which is done overnight and once and for all; behind the closed-door policy, it reflects conservative and closed, blindly xenophobic will lead to blindness. The “dry method” was used to blunt the skin, but failed to understand the “heart method” behind the dry method-Kazuo Inamori’s management philosophy. It can only be used to impersonate others. From the light to the laughter and generous, into embarrassment, to the worst.

The more complicated things are, the more you have to return to the original point of essence to analyze them. When companies encounter pain points and development bottlenecks, they are rushed to go to doctors, but there is no magic medicine that can cure all diseases. Those medicines that work well are often the most toxic. In today’s unpredictable era, both the Chinese version and the Inamori version of Amoeba are not embarrassing, the embarrassing thing is to copy them mechanically.

The organization of special forces restarts

Similar to the debate about whether amoeba is good or bad, there are also:

Is a hierarchical organization model better, or a flat organization model?

Is “Pyramid” better or “Inverted Pyramid”?

Is authoritarian management better or democratic management better?

Is centralization and scale better, or authorization/decentralization/small team?

Is a functional team better or a cross-functional team better?

Is there a standard answer to the above question? Companies in the start-up period, companies in the development period, companies in the mature period, companies in the decline period… Companies with revenues of several million, to tens of millions, hundreds of millions, tens of billions, tens of billions, and then hundreds of billions Can a large-scale company have the same organizational model?

The answer is obviously no. When it is small and beautiful, it is full of energy, but when it is large, it lacks synergy. Organizational development will eventually grow from small to large. Walls and pits will appear along with it. The strategy must be refreshed in time and the organizational model must be bravely restarted.

The success of any enterprise cannot be copied. What needs to be learned is the underlying logic behind the successful practice methodology. The enterprise internalizes its own successful practice, and actively reverts to external experience output, forming a virtuous circle. Therefore, there is no fixed model that has been tried and tested, but only an adaptive, dynamic update, and self-evolving model.

Organizational development and organizational reform need to adapt to local conditions, keep pace with the times, and run through the entire enterprise life cycle. Never try to find a seemingly perfect model. Every organizational form is proposed to solve the problems encountered by enterprises at the current stage. Therefore, organizational innovation is endless; at the same time, companies with different cultural genes also determine their In the end, different organizational forms and copying a fixed model are not only undesirable, but also destined to have no vitality. Otherwise, no matter how advanced the management model is, it will be ruined in a mechanical way.

Take Se’s transformation as an example. The biggest difference from Amoeba and other management consulting is that it does not output a fixed organizational model, but summarizes and outputs a set of methodology and tools based on countless real cases in reality. These methodologies and tools can empower companies to form exclusive organizational development plans based on their own unique cultural genes, and such plans themselves can be adjusted in a timely manner based on changes in the internal and external environments.

Entrepreneurs are also organizational changers. Only in strategy refresh and organizational restart can more people be achieved, empower employees to release hidden potential, innovation, performance and entrepreneurship, and create greater customer value. Self-driving, self-organizing teams are successful because they have a greater sense of responsibility, can respond to changes more quickly and continue to innovate. People in this type of organization are happier, which drives happier customers.

We have made minor adjustments to the Yang Triangle model of Professor Yang Guoan. We believe that: continuous success of the enterprise = strategy “refresh” × organization “restart”

We need to continuously improve our core competitiveness and reduce unnecessary actions; in order to ensure that the strategic direction is roughly correct, we need to refresh the strategy from time to time; the strategy will perish without dynamic adjustments or “advance with the times”.

Organizational restart is the guarantee that the organization is always full of vitality. The restart of “Mind Method + Dry Method” has given new ways of organizing development. Strong individual + fast team + good organization, allowing organizations to achieve new growth in evolution, achieving chaotic balance in disorderly dissipation, and in the transformation from the first curve to the second curve, from fighting each other to forming an organization Together, Minzhi seizes the organizational dividend.

In the digital age, strong individuals are on the rise, but the big data that individuals have and can handle have very limited digitization capabilities. Only under the coordination of the organization can we realize the transition from consensus and co-creation to symbiosis and win-win.

Therefore, organization is the most important ability of today’s enterprises, and agility, innovation, and coordination are the scarce organizational capabilities.

Self-employment, team collaboration, and organizational co-creation are the three levels to meet the challenges of digital transformation, and fight at the same time: organizational change and development. Organizational dividends are also created after the redesign of the organization under the interaction of the three-tier relationship.

After Internet+ enters the digital age, business success no longer depends on the outlet, but on organizational efficiency and special forces to win. The special forces of business are the ability to restart the organization.

The special operations capabilities of special forces are all-dimensional. Special forces combat is not a two-dimensional world or a three-dimensional world, but a contest against the enemy in a multi-dimensional world. No matter how accurate the gun, no matter how high the skydiving, no matter how deep the diving, it is not a single skill, but a comprehensive combat capability. Special forces in the true sense are always a group and do not rely on individual soldiers to fight.

When the organization is divided into small business units and has completed an agile turn, but there are only competitive transactions, how can we talk about deep sharing and co-creation?

Only by cooperation can we talk about sharing. Otherwise, the small business unit will only have management “inner volume”, resulting in a waste of resources for the organization. High-level special forces battles also require coordinated combat by sea, land and air. But coordinated operations are still not enough. The invincible US special forces have suffered heavy casualties in front of al Qaeda.

Different from the US special forces, al-Qaeda has a dynamic adjustment of strategy and tactics, a networked organizational structure, flexibility and ease of movement, and internal information sharing and dissemination extremely fast, everyone has a lot of information. In contrast, the U.S. special forces have strict hierarchy, lack of trust, compete for resources with each other, and are selfish.

Under frustration, the US special forces learned from the enemy and reflected on them: in terms of consciousness, a high degree of unity of thought, removal of physical partitions in the office, two-hour inter-departmental meetings a week, exchange of intelligence, coordination of resources, and unified operations. At the executive level, it adopts an organizational model of “gathering to fight, and dispersing without seeing”. The traditional control structure has become a team nested structure. Mutual embedding and sharing will deepen inter-departmental connectivity.

In the value chain, the “individual ability + the vitality of a small team + the joint force of the ecological organization + the resilience of the biological organization” are simultaneously used. Employees participate in management, customers participate in operations, multilateral collaborative innovation incubation, four forces are unified, and after the organization is restarted, a strong organizational dividend will be formed.

Do not learn patterns and methods

In the VUCA era we are in, we need to have an orderly balance in chaos. Refreshing strategy and restarting the organization using scientific methods, and continuously adjusting and forming strategies and organizations that fit itself is the only way for an enterprise to maintain its vitality.

Organizational development is like building a house, requiring “foundation + top beam + roof”. Organizational development and innovation also need “bottom logic + principle pillars + top-level design”, which complement each other and are indispensable, otherwise the collapse will be sooner or later.

Organizational development is a three-dimensional system engineering: the front, middle and back are combined: front-end training + middle-office empowerment + back-end support. Combination of bottom pillar and top: bottom logic + pillar strategy + top design. Combination of near, middle and far: current situation insight + path steps + future vision.

People-centered, the company’s values, mission vision, strategy, and management system are mutually supporting construction, and the fertile organizational soil and the continuous inheritance of the corporate culture are the foundation support.

The methodological framework of the Saishi Institute follows the following management philosophy:

Regard trust and information transparency as the core of the organizational model, and treat adults as adults;

Use common sense and decentralization to break bureaucracy to help leaders grasp the overall situation rather than absolute control;

By empowering people and giving them the autonomy to make decisions, cultivate fertile ground for employee self-management;

By clearly defining roles, goals and perspectives in daily work, a high degree of consensus among all stakeholders is promoted;

Finally, by advocating and cultivating a mindset of continuous experimentation and continuous learning, innovation can flow freely in the organization.

After establishing cooperation with large, medium and small companies from all over the world, we began to document the process of gradually achieving self-management and self-organization. In the process of organizational reform, enterprises must clarify goals, adhere to principles, and create action plans together. In this process, “participatory management” has changed from “self-driving organization”, “brave leadership” to “everyone is an operator”, from co-governance of labor and capital to governance by doing nothing, gradual and orderly progress, linking and fusion, vertical and horizontal strangulation, forming Organic rich ecology.

An enterprise is an economic organization, a human organization, and a social organization. Sai’s advocates a small team (8~12 people is appropriate) , not a small business unit, a small team is not a business-centric, but a customer-centric small team. The goal of Sai’s organizational change is: to achieve high performance, employee happiness and corporate social influence.

The underlying logic of organizational development and the new future-oriented organizational model allow companies to combine their genes, development stages, and industrial attributes to practice their own “psychological methods” and produce their own “dry methods”.

Any organizational model is for improving efficiency, orderly growth, and sustainable development. However, management is non-transactional, and entrepreneurs must be ordinary people and have an ordinary heart, so that they can respect and return to human nature and common sense. With the increase of rational people with managerial personality and everyone is a leader, the organization will become more orderly, agile and beautiful.

Back to common sense in management, back to the essence of organizational development: value creation. Cost reduction and efficiency enhancement, quality improvement and activation, and continuous innovation are the original meaning of value creation.

Kazuo Inamori often said: What is right as a human being. Today everyone needs to think: what is right as an organization. Back to essence and common sense, which model does your business adopt? This question is left for you to find the answer.

This article is from WeChat public account: Bottom-upDesigner (ID: Bottom-upDesigner) , author: Wei Haozheng

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/controversial-amoeba-why-china-is-difficult-to-land/
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