In the beginning I felt drawn to ‘self organisation’ simply because I am not a very good at managing others at work (nor did I want to..). Over the years I came to realise that self organisation also appealed to me at a much deeper level. It enables people to stay connected to themselves whilst working with others. And as a consequence it makes work more enjoyable and connections to others more authentic, energetic and valuable. As a fringe benefit it also proves to be much more effective way to achieve a common purpose.
Challenge however was to find a form of ‘self organisation’ that does not end in an unproductive chaos. The answer proves to be a mix of a clear purpose, dynamic structure and an inclusive culture supported by a very clear set of principles and rules. In short it boils down to:
1. A power shift from people to ‘purpose’, resulting in a hierarchy of purpose. With alignment with that purpose as benchmark for every decisions.
2. Moving from a static to a dynamic approach to organisation structure. Structure is constantly adapted to whatever is needed at that moment to get closer to the purpose.
3. Tapping into to full potential a all involved through a combination of shared purpose, inclusiveness, freedom to self organise your activities and to make decisions.
4. Moving from limited number of ‘functions’ to many much more specific roles with a clear proprieatary purpose and responsibility. Flexibly assigned based on capabilities.
5. A standard approach to conducting meetings and taking decisions that guarantees a safe environment, participation and autonomy of all participants.
6. Embracing ‘tensions’ as a valuable source of information for what is needed and a periodical ‘role meeting’ to adapt the organisation structure accordingly.
7. Ongoing accessible full transparency on all roles, responsibilities etc. enabling all involved to propose improvements in line with realisation of common purpose. Currently investigating the value of creating a network with fellow practitioners that makes the above more accessible for those interested in a controlled implementation ‘self organisation’ in their own organisation. On this topic see also Back to the basics of self organisation