By Hamish MacDonald for Enlivening Edge
THE “PROBLEM” WITH A GREAT BOOK
Most employees/team members are unlikely to share the same level of passion about Self-Management that readers of this article do. They are even less likely to read, digest, and then apply a deep book such as Reinventing Organizations to their work – no matter how important efficient management and true leadership may be to an organization. Most folk simply want to do what they do and do it well; cut code, do the accounts, close a sale, talk to customers, etc.
So, what to do? How to more easily get understanding and buy-in throughout an organization?
ONE SOLUTION: A ‘ONE LESSON PER PAGE’ GUIDEBOOK
Earlier this year I asked Frederic Laloux’s permission to adapt and simplify the wonderful structure provided in Reinventing Organizations into a simple guidebook for my company, what we call our “Culture Book”. (Frederic gave his permission freely, and simply asked for some attribution if that would be appropriate. Thank you, Frederic!)
MAKE IT FUN, AND RELATABLE TO REAL LIFE
I then asked Scott Adam’s licensor for permission to use about 30 of the wonderful “Dilbert” cartoons in our Culture Book. Dilbert’s dysfunctional company of course represents the antithesis of what Self-Management is all about. I wanted to juxtapose the principles of Reinventing Organizations with some loved cartoons to add some fun and color to our Culture Book. Here is what a sample page of each lesson from Reinventing Organizations looks like…
We were already 70% self-managed as a company, but our Culture Book helped take us to 100%, because Frederic has done the heavy lifting to ensure that the myriad of work situations throughout a company are addressed with synergy, so that all the parts work towards a common purpose – a company with living evolutionary purpose and wholeness.
REMEMBER THAT THERE WILL ALWAYS BE OBJECTORS – BUT THE REWARDS ARE HUGE.
No matter how succinct or simply you present it, there will be those who simply don’t take to Self-Management. Our organization has been no different and there have definitely been team members who were reluctant. Some have in fact left. But those who discover the power of Self-Management love the empowerment and “wholeness”it imbues them with.
Recently a top web developer within our company suddenly announced they would be leaving. Within mere hours of the news, multiple people stepped up to assume various parts of the soon-vacant role. Somebody offered to take over group communications and two developers gladly assumed ownership of two areas of technical expertise, and for a final skill set it was determined that with a workaround solution we would not need to fill it permanently for another 90 days or so, giving plenty of time to find the right hire.
And what was my role as CEO in this chain of events? It was reduced to simply asking some salient questions to those involved to ensure that everyone was comfortable with the changes. In other words I was “just” a Coach. That was it! I was able to sleep soundly that night, because everyone had acted with Wholeness and with Evolutionary Purpose. Nobody had to “tell’” anybody else what to do. No eyes were rolled. Nobody ducked for cover. No drama played out. All that happened was that some empowered people took advantage of the freedom and responsibility that has been invested in them, and they took the initiative to together solve in hours what would otherwise have been a big problem. And best of all for everyone, they are all motivated to make it work!
Thank you, Frederic, and to everyone involved in this Movement. I look forward to comments and learning from others various ways that we can best communicate these principles simply and quickly.
For those interested in taking a look at how I summarized the principles of Reinventing Organizations, our Culture Book is posted publically for free download as a PDF on our website at https://thediary.com/culture/ (Note, the parts of the PDF based on the four sections of Reinventing Organizations are from Pp 29 to 68)
Hamish MacDonald is the CEO of Lifetime Health Diary, a Health IT company that was conceived in Japan, developed in New Zealand, and now has its headquarters in Arizona, USA. Hamish has been a student of management strategy for three decades, and firmly believes that “less is more.”