The popular view of organisations is rooted in century-old ideas of authority power and hierarchy. We believe that these ideas are unhelpful and no longer fit for purpose. We attribute much of the ‘don’t like Mondays’ feelings towards work shared by so many disengaged people to this outdated style of leadership and management.
This approach presupposes that the senior people in the organisation know best and have the answers. They do not and this charade is damaging to formal leaders, their followers and to every stakeholder.
It also assumes that the work of the business is to execute known, repeatable processes, efficiently and at scale. In 2019, few businesses have that luxury.
Our view of high performance, adaptable organisations is that they are communities of human beings in which ‘everyone is responsible for everything’. This means that people throughout the business are required to perform ‘acts of leadership’, using initiative in the collective best interests.
This works when the ambition of the organisation is simple and transparent. This ambition encompasses its results and its reasons for wanting those results. Every individual must also know their objectives and how these contribute to achieving the overall ambition. Finally, everyone must have explicit ‘freedom within constraints’ and be in no doubt about those constraints.
But taking responsibility is scary; growing up is dangerous. Enabling it requires a sure and caring touch. And a lot of experience.
“Effective organisations are communities of human beings, not collections of Human Resources.”
Thank God it's Monday
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