Life of a Head Goose.

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Quark, quark, quark…

Geese are interesting creatures. One particular aspect recently was brought to my attention, as an example of team leadership. Have you ever wondered why geese fly in V-shapes?

It is very straightforward. They do so because it gives them better aerodynamics and allows them to fly longer distances while spending less energy. It requires one goose to step up and become the head goose. What is appealing, is that this role switches all the time. Even indication of altruistic behaviour can be observed (E.g. when one goose drops out V-shape due to health, 2 geese will stay with the sick to ensure it will have a V-shape formation to fly in).

It is a compelling analogy giving insight in how a group can rotate leadership. As one steps up and toils away the others will ride along – now you might say they feel peer pressure and obliged to follow or motivated and willing to follow. The underlying condition is that it gives us a few things to consider

– Can teams leverage this for their performance?

– If leadership becomes distributed this way, would everyone become managers?

– How can you ensure this is a motivational factor and not a stress factor?

– How can this be communicated if at all?

– Is this type only suitable for introverts or extroverts?

More of these questions has already been raised in the Leaders Everywhere Challenge.

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MIXing it up!

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So for some time now, I have been taking part in the MIX a.k.a. Management Innovation Exchange. It is a forum launched by renown management author, Gary Hamel. He wanted to explore a new management framework and boldly set the goal for the project to be the discovery of Management 2.0. This was supposed to be achieved through a framework similar to the one seen at Mozilla, with a few dedicated hackers/programmers in the eye of the storm, then several hundred of beta testers and hopefully new standards and millions of users. Not a modest task at all.

The MIX has been producing interesting content and has reviewed several cases and companies setting new standards in management theory. We have Gangplank, who gathered creators and innovators in a collaborative incubator. Roche, who busted bureaucracy by running an experiment with travel expenses being transparent.  The Wikimedia Foundation, who constantly seeks advice from their 70.000 monthly volunteers. Or, W. L. Gore who de facto removed management from the equation and now seeks to figure out where that will take them. Check out more of the stories from the mix.

Through a social media platform from SABA, I have been able to interact with academics, scholars, business owners, industry experts, and fellow students. Our goal was to hack the management 1.0 and turn it into management 2.0. This process was guided by Gary Hamel and his team. Here, is how the design looks like:

Hackathon Flowchart Management 2.0 process

Currently we just completed hacking and are about to commence the review of these. So I want to spend the next coming days on reviewing these ideas. From our initial phases in the hack, we established some of the major factors to management 1.0 and management 2.0. These factors formed some principles, which will be used as evaluation guidelines for reviews.

Management 2.0 Principles Hackathon

Principle In one sentence
Openness The willingness to share information and do business out in the open.
Community The ability for people with shared purpose to organize and engage.
Meritocracy An environment where ideas and people succeed based on the quality of their ideas and contributions.
Activism Tapping into individuals’ desire to stand up, opt in, and express themselves.
Collaboration The capability of groups of people to work together, divide tasks, and leverage individual strengths.
Meaning The most powerful motivations come from within.
Autonomy The freedom to act on one’s own, making decisions without the need of specific direction or approval from higher levels of management.
Serendipity The occurrence of events by chance in a beneficial way has always played a fundamental role in innovation.
Decentralization Rather than a top-down approach where activity and decision-making are closely held in small, central areas—decentralization allows it to happen anywhere.
Experimentation An environment where ideas can be tested quickly and improved continually.
Speed The unprecedented pace of change and immediacy of information.
Trust An acknowledgement that each of us is acting on good faith and good work will be reciprocated.

It has to be said that these principles have far more detail (you will need to create a profile) to them than stated above. I would also like to point out a few other principles that I might think are relevant.

Money and Capital

One of the main issue for the slow progress might be due to focus on money or capital. This seems to be very natural since we have attached value of companies to this variable, and naturally this should be a key performance indicator, if not the most important. We can transfer money into almost everything we need (food, shelter, Iphone, vacation, etc.). It will be empirical that a new management model addresses values that are intangible. Feelings are the most common nominator here. How does the new hack address new values?

Ownership

Another main issue is the implications with ownership. You cannot expect people to care, if they have no attachment. If you only give them the job, they are only required to maintainance what is stated in their job description. If you want to change management you need to address ownership and let people take physical ownership in their desk, chair, product and maybe even enable them to buy the company itself on a long-term.

Terminology – Employee, Colleague, Professional, Peer, or Fellow Citizen?

A third point is how the people in the organisation are addressed. There are several types of people, and these prefer different styles. So how can these be accommodated? Naturally the hierarchical way has been a default setting for the companies. This was mainly based on the army model, where the over all goal was to win by promoting competent individuals. So this makes sense for companies to use. However, reviewing the history we find several ways an organisation/nation can obtain the same means with insufficient resources to fund an army. Closely related to the army we have guerilla warfare and terrorist warfare with their own individual framework very different from hierarchical. Further away we have success by unification and assimilation, if you are unwilling or cannot afford to fight; give citizenship. So a new management model, would have to address how the organisational culture treats its peers.

The following is a full list of all the management hacks that were compiled during the inventing phase and which I will attempt to review previous mentioned principles.

  • Autonomy (Reality) Check
  • The Freedom / Accountability Swap
  • Advancing Autonomy a Step at a Time
  • Collaborative Business Planning and Execution
  • Collaborate. Agitate. Converge.
  • Secure Digital Collaboration
  • Anonymous contributions
  • Leader Meter 2.0: Spotting the natural leaders in your company
  • Embracing “Skills 2.0”– Leading by example to create a new way of working
  • Show Value of Community by Working Outside In
  • Short-duration teams
  • Reverse budget for experimentation
  • Open Up Clip By Clip
  • C o-creation in organizations – a new model for creating shared value
  • Using “Traditionally Virtual” organizational structure
  • Leading by letting go
  • Why points trump the hierarchy to reward contribution in knowledge organizations
  • Systemic/Holistic Management: Connecting the Dots with Project Monitoring 2.0
  • Tweetstorming – Reprogram Meeting DNA to Open Brainstorming to All
  • Organisational acupuncture: releasing energy for innovation by small targeted interventions
  • All work can be viewed as a service