For a successful organization, in which the success of the organization goes along with the pleasure of employees in their work, selforganization is a vital basic element.
In many organizations employees complain about the demotivating working climate in which they work. They are trapped in hierarchical structures in which rules and procedures are designed to control employees. The starting point is mistrust. The result is that employees do not take responsibility and show victim behaviour.
To break these patterns we need to change the way we look at organizations and the related behaviour. We speak hereby of social innovation.
There appears to be (ref. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us door Dan Pink) three factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction. The factors are autonomy, mastery and purpose. Employees have not chosen a profession in order to execute precisely defined tasks and on top of that to be controoled. They have chosen a profession of which the autonomous practising together with their colleagues gives them purpose. This implies self-organization. Self-organization is the starting point of the desired social innovation.
Self-organization, what is it? Self-organization means that employees can think for themselves, are good at their work and can organize their work within their field of expertise. It also means less overhead, less management layers and less managers. It doesn't mean there is no need for managers, but it does mean that the expectation of them is that they are facilitating instead of steering and controlling. These managers provide vision and they provide the means and bounday conditions within which employees can act autonomously and take responsibility.
Self-organization is not a noncommittal approach, on the contrary. Employees cooperate to realize the vision of the organization and take thereby full responsibility for their work and the results achieved. My experience is that this new way of working is considered to be ideal but difficult to realize by managers as well as employees. The good news is that there is no need for a classical reorganization but that this transition can arise organically from the shared desire.
This organic change process is characterized by taking small steps and constantly using feedback from real life to make corrections. The emphasis shifts away from planning and control to working flexibly from the intention, whereby the ability to learn is paramount. The emphasis is on developing basic but effective skills, which you can find back in methods such as continuous improvement, Lean or Agile. The emphasis is on influencing behaviour not on introducing new methodologies. The goal is a more flexible or agile organization.
You can apply this approach to the whole organization as well as to parts of the organization, such as staff departments, support departments and R&D (Research & Development), or to specific processes or activities, such as project management, studies and meetings. I support organizations in all these areas, thereby using my extensive knowledge and practical experience.
Are you interested? Contact me to exchange views on this interesting issue.