Fluid Organisation

Today the publisher sent back the now fully designed inside of our book, The Fluid Organisation. First in Dutch. English version will follow, probably in the summer.

So much is being written about the need for organisations to move to a next level. Our book gives you the handful of practical methods that bring that reality within reach. The key is not soccer tables in the lunch room or searching for the soul of the organisation, but it is all about allowing and triggering everyone to proactively share information and identify issues for discussion, to make sure these are discussed, and next actions are decided, based on the wisdom of the crowd. This so-called ‘action circle’ needs to spin and spin at all levels: operational and strategic, individual and team and organisation.

You see the element of self-management here: you create structures that trigger everyone to define for themselves what to share and what issues to have discussed, and no hierarchy is needed to approve that. Even when talking about those or deciding the next actions no hierarchy is needed. Sometimes people may have objections against decisions and usually a good exchange of perspectives and information helps to find common ground and decide. But sometimes people can still not agree, and then it is good that some people are happy to go along with the views of others. This is where leadership and asymmetric influence is important. Not forced influence at all, but accepted influence. This is hierarchy and it is a good thing. It creates a good atmosphere and stability, and it stops anything from blocking the action circle, it creates speed too. There is ample research backing that up.

Hammers are great for driving a nail into wood, but hammers should not be used for tightening screws or for stripping wire. Similarly, good hierarchy is great for last-resort settling of differences, but it should not be used for information sharing (top-down cascading of information…aarrgh) or as the primary means of decision-makers (boss, tell us what to do …aarrgh) or as the basis for differences in privileges (the corner office and executive parking spaces ….aarrgh), etc etc.

Our book shares the practical ways to make this happen. The magic is in sticking to them and making them happen at all levels, and helping people to grow and make maximum use of them.