Pace Layers help visualize, distinguish, and discuss different kinds of work and teams within an organization. Here, I bring together a bunch of great thinking into a single construct. Enjoy!
RACI is vague, hard to use, and reinforces the "what the hell is happening here" status quo. DICE is specific, easy to use, and shines a bright light on dysfunction.
I adore shared scheduling as a tool for designing business. tl;dr At Black Glass we're synchronizing five "office closed" weeks and four mandatory (at a minimum!) weeks of PTO.
Instead of having The Boss Decide™, use this facilitation method to make the wisest decision possible with the minimum amount of preparation and politics.
Role-Based Team Structure is the best way to articulate expectations for your team. It provides durability, flexibility, and clarity. It builds a playbook for running your team. But perhaps most importantly, it helps divvy up the work in a more equitable, sane way.
Strategic Compression is a way to improve the usability of strategic thought. If your business, project, function, division or team are facing high uncertainty, you need an adaptable, usable approach.
TL;DR: PowerPoint is a terrible tool for organization design, and we need a trusted alternative designed to match our values. And, sorry, leader-owned maps of reporting lines aren't the answer.
Hierarchy lets leaders learn more; it pushes the org to learn about itself, not about customers; it creates busywork. A network of teams is the answer.
This is probably one of the best things I've listened to on the opportunity for Organization Design in the Financial Services space. It's a podcast from Investor's Field Guide [http://investorfieldguide.com/collison/], and at the surface is about how Stripe thinks about investing its capital into growth, and generally
Explaining why big, transformative top-down projects never seem to work, and two simple recommendations to fix the glitch: less strategy; more structure.
Tesla and vertical integration; hotels and the theory of the firm; Shipt dystopia; Range's newest raise; digital service.
Decentralized justice systems... might be the future of corporate governance?
The truth about most organizations, especially the big ones, is that they're structurally quite fast-moving and dynamic.
I've left August to join R/GA. Some reasons why, along with a few thoughts on consulting.
The correct answer to a question about the level of distributed authority doesn't just respond to the will of the people, or to some theoretical norm – it has to be in conversation with the market dynamics of the industry and the company's position in that market.
When we surveyed a bunch of organizations, we found that effectiveness was correlated with leadership helping create networks within the org.
Several years and one company ago, I found myself in a mid-project meeting with a group of clients from a large hospitality company. We were sat in an innovation room that could have been plucked directly from the d.School – every single furnishing came from their catalog. Sitting at the
I'm going back and reading through my old Diplomacy & World Affairs texts. They're useful: > Cooperation is contrasted with discord; but is also distinguished from harmony. Cooperation, as compared to harmony, requires active attempts to adjust policies to meet the demands of others. That is, not only does it depend on
This is what I delivered yesterday at a corporate offsite in beautiful Calistoga, California. It was a one-day session; the ask from the client was to get the team to think big and consider their business from a clean sheet. My bias is to do that while leaving them with
Several months back, Erica and I were doing an introductory session with a Global Operations team inside of one of August's larger clients. We started with a quick retrospective to understand the issues facing the team. Along with the usual teaming stuff, we noticed an issue that, for the team,
“Change Activism” has been a handy if hard-to-use phrase to help me frame how I view change in an organizational context. We invite teams to try simple practices that make it easier for them to change actively, on-purpose, and informed by user data. When these practices work for teams,
As I was peeling carrots for soup last night (snow day!), I realized that I always do it the same way: by doing the big end first. If you peel the carrot the other way, starting with the skinny end, the diameter and the newly wet surface don't give you
Last year while in London helping Joe set up August's London office, I stopped by YCN to do a quick interview about how we help organizations learn. Good fun – have a watch!
Consulting is a simple business, with few logistical or financial challenges to master. Even so, we take operations pretttty seriously at August. Probably more seriously than most businesses of our size, but that’s what makes us great. Right? Over the last 18-ish months, we have developed five spreadsheets that
Occasionally in the course of running our business, we will create excess profits. > Excess? Profits? I thought we were a for-profit business! Turns out you can have too much profit. For example, if you’re not expecting to have a big profit at the end of the year (because a
Why do founders behave so poorly? Why do they struggle to distribute authority? Why is it so hard for employees to have their voices heard, for their good data from the edge of the organization to be incorporated into decisions? I believe all of this stems from asymmetrical risk. Almost
Spencer [https://twitter.com/pencerw] shared the following quote with me last week, from Jeff Bezos’ most recent annual letter: > Some decisions are consequential and irreversible or nearly irreversible — one-way doors — and these decisions must be made methodically, carefully, slowly, with great deliberation and consultation. If you walk through and
At the beginning, August had two key goals: making a significant contribution to human productivity growth; being the fuel for meaningful innovation.
Three old technologies can help us move toward seven universal performance criteria for organizations: purpose; fitness; vitality; fairness; power; connection safety.
Using Amazon as a way to understand what works, what doesn’t, and what’s got to change.
How self-organization helped a small consultancy grow revenue, profitability, and engagement – all at the same time.
Are organizations degrading the human experience, or are they poised to accelerate our progress toward dignity and achievement in the 21st century? Yes.
Watch out for approaches that prioritize clarity above all else. Clarity can make you a cog in a machine, it can stunt your personal growth, and can pressure organizations to stick to the status quo.
Standardizing timing changes everything. Scheduling and resourcing used to be a complete mess at Undercurrent. Individuals and teams would be double- and triple-booked some weeks, while their colleagues had nothing to do. Building a team required hours of concerted effort: Who works well together? What’s the right team for
1. Start small. Everyone should agree at the outset to limit the scope of what the lab aims to do. Groups seldom follow this advice; there seems to be a natural desire to add features and commentary, even when they’re unsolicited. 2. Be okay with the duct-taped solution. Someday
Purposeful autonomy has been, and always will be, the main goal of organizing.
This [http://edgeperspectives.typepad.com/edge_perspectives/2014/01/what-is-to-be-done-part-1.html] series [http://edgeperspectives.typepad.com/edge_perspectives/2014/01/what-is-to-be-done-part-2.html] of posts [http://edgeperspectives.typepad.com/edge_perspectives/2014/01/what-is-to-be-done-part-3.html] by John Hagel is important. If you don’t have time to read it: We need
Four things to reconsider about Holacracy: confusing word choices, a legalistic constitution; heavy dogma; a closed-source codebase.
Four key things to keep from years practicing Holacracy: Rule of Law; Continuous Participatory Reorganization; Structured Decisions; Defined Output Formats.
This development tool is designed to give strategists clarity into their path forward, help them define and deepen strengths, and give managers a way to guide their directs.
Build discoverable complexity (otherwise known as interestingness) into your business and brand.
These are all really two tips: focus on service and execution; if it’s not working, get out.
Along with a few other folks in the UC “Management” crew, I spent Monday and Tuesday learning about Holacracy. It’s an extraordinarily complex interesting organizing idea that deserves a much longer set of posts, but the five-second version is that it’s a explicitly structured, distributed-authority, adaptive decision-making system
High-quality strategies in ecosystems offer four things: loud feedback; flexibility in acceptable outcomes; shared indicators for failure and success; recognized connection points.