I have made several posts now regarding the direction I have in mind for the IT organization, but in a nutshell, what I have in would enable an Exponential IT team by basing the organization and operation on 3 things: (1) self-management, (2) wholeness and (3) purpose. In other words I believe that everyone should have a clear purpose, they should bring all that they have to achieve this purpose (wholeness), and they should do it by managing themselves. In my next post I’ll talk about why I’m such a strong believer in these three concepts; however this post will be more focused on what we have done to move these ideas forward without shutting the door on team engagement.
In my humble opinion, the best resource (currently available at least) that explores most of the available ways to implement a self-management concept is the book Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux, which explores different organizations that have already implemented self-management in different ways. If are looking for a better understanding of this concept, I strongly encourage you to read this book. While I’m keen about self-management, wholeness and purpose; I’m also keen to find the right way to implement these concepts. When I say “right way,” I mean how to implement a new way of operating with all of our current company associates. In my experience, the best way to achieve goals such as these is to find a method that is closest to the current way your organization is working, and refine it to your organization’s unique culture.
The closest implementation to our current operation is Holacracy, mainly because it is a very structured way to get to self-management (too structured in my personal opinion). Since we are currently a structured organization, using a structured way to implement self-management, wholeness and purpose would be easiest for our team. Therefore, we decided to use Holacracy as a reference model from which we can adjust.
Since I truly believe that each reference model, or suggested system, or best practice, etc. needs to be refined to the implementing organization’s culture in order to be successfully adopted and used, we needed to send a clear signal to the group that we are not going to implement Holacracy as it written in a book or to follow the Holacracy constitution as it is defined. With all that in mind, our first step was to refine Holacracy to our culture as best we can – we will be implementing different system based on Holacracy (something very close to what Blinkist already did with Blinkracy). At the end of the day the idea is not to suggest a final draft, but rather to make a statement.
After I gave a presentation that explained the main ideas we are going to adopt, an example of what our organizational structure might look like, and defined how day-to-day activities such as hiring, firing, promotions, merit increases, bonuses, reviews, etc. are going to be done, I then moved to the next step, which I will share once we have finished vetting the basic proposal and have refined it with the entire group.
So, the first thing to do was to collect all of our IT leadership team, and expose them to the proposed implementation, and gather their feedback. Since this team is going to be the first to be impacted by the implementation, it was imperative to get their buy-in first. After several discussions, we determined that our next step is to agree on the proposed structure and operational guide, which will explain to the team that while we are changing how we are going to work, we are not changing what each of us will be doing. Armed with this clearer picture, our next step is to propose this first draft to the entire IT team and then let them help us refine it further.
In parallel I randomly picked up 10 team members in the hopes of getting their opinions on the advantages, disadvantages and challenges of these changes. The feedback I received was very good. Now we will continue to work with the leadership team in order to create an agreed upon structure and operation guide that we can propose to the entire team.