I used to work with Lionel when I was at Spicers but it is some time since we have spoken. We had a little chat today through LinkedIn. He said I looked happy and as it was a recent photo then I suppose I did, or do. I replied that I was and it was the work on trying to create a different kind of organisation that was keeping me motivated. I’m thinking so much about it these days and what is making me think is that, as usual I’m reading a lot.
I read today a blog about ‘How a forest is like a company’. Steve has asked me if I wanted to be a tree. ‘In a forest, there is no master tree that plans and dictates change when rain fails to fall or when the spring comes early. The whole ecosystem reacts creatively, in the moment.’
I love the idea and the metaphor yet a forest is not an entity with a single common purpose. In the forest each tree competes with every other for resource and only needs to ‘consider’ other trees when it comes to sex. The patterns within the forest arise from the chaotic behavior of the different players. You can only stretch a metaphor so far.
What I need is a forest that grows for a common set of aims or objectives. A wood with a view.
I’m also reading ‘Maverick! The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace’ by Ricardo Semler. Mike said I would like this one. I’m enjoying it and it has given me some great ideas.
So what is it that I want? An organisation that is customer focussed and self-organising that is free from hierarchy, free form location and free form dogma. We’ve come a long way and we’ve done a lot yet there is so much more to do.
It would seem that our natural reaction is to control, to decide and to manage. That is what we have been trained to do. That is how we got to where we are yet what I want to be and what I want to do may well be different. I want to be free to do the things that I think are right for the business. I want the opportunity to chat to those people who can help me either through experience or insight. Do those that I work with want anything different?
I don’t want to get bogged down in the politics of structure yet the way we are organised doesn’t help. Our service is still filled with pregnant words such as managers, leaders and staff.
I need to let go further. I need to be more forest. What we need is four jobs. I was going to use the word titles but that wouldn’t help. For the sake of clarity I’m going to call then direction, tactics, coordination and delivery.
If you can think in the future and paint pictures with words then you are direction. If you can encourage effort into getting things done than be in tactics while if you can muster a group around a common task then try coordination. If your skill is delivering things then do what you are best at.
Free from hierarchy, free from structure and free to get on with what you do best. Free like a beautiful butterfly.