Kategoriarkiv: Methods

Pre-conditions for self-organization

The following is a quote from Harrison Owen on the World wide Open Space Technology email list October 14, 2014. I have changed the formatting.

”The essential pre-conditions for self-organization are:

  • A Real business issue (something that people really care about).
  • High levels of complexity such that no single person or group has a prayer of figuring it out.
  • High levels of diversity in terms of people and points of view.
  • Lots of passion and conflict.
  • A decision time of yesterday (urgency).

Given these five conditions, self-organization just seems to happen … unless … and this may be the point of the problem … it is arbitrarily constrained … which usually means that somebody already has the plan/program/design and they are just looking for buy-in or (worst case) they are simply trying to sugar coat the pill, and make it seem like the folks are creating something, when in fact the cake is already baked.”

Related posts:
Pre-conditions for self-organization
Self-organization is the real operating system
Emergence is simply what life does
Empowerment is a red herring
Pre-conditions for self-organization
What if the organization is a living system?
Facilitating an Open Space
How to enable and sustain self-organization
TEDxTalk on Open Space Technology

Beliefs influence results

Peggy Holman writes in Open Space Technology: A User’s NON-Guide, pp. 48—50, that different methods can work in a given situation but what matters most are the beliefs of the facilitator.

My belief (and I don’t have sufficient empirical evidence for it to be more than an opinion) is that while method may be one factor in success or failure the beliefs of the facilitator are an even greater factor.

The core beliefs of the facilitator influence their actions and the unspoken cues they send. Are there methods that are better fits in different circumstances? You bet. And yet, I can take the similar circumstances and put different facilitators in them using the same method and get results with widely differing impact. Further, I believe I could take the same facilitator, use different methods and get similar results. I don’t have empirical evidence for this. It is an opinion reached by observation of, discussion with, and reading of comments from a variety of people using a variety of methods. I think what started me down this path was the deep conviction of virtually every expert that their way was the most effective.

My untested theory is the factors involved in success include sponsor beliefs (particularly around their passion for and audaciousness of the desired future, sense of invitation to participate, generosity of spirit), facilitator beliefs (particularly around people’s capacity to act wisely for the good of the whole as well as themselves), and method.

When there is a perception that people need to be led, then they will prove that out. If the perception is that participants will figure things out for themselves, they somehow do.

Practices related to self-management

Self-managed organizations adapt continuously, fluidly, and organically provided a few basic practices are put in place. Frederic Laloux emphasizes the following three practice in Reinventing Organizations (pp. 270—271):

  1. Decision-making (by consent): Make sure that all can make any decision, as long as they seek advice from people affected and people who have expertise.
  2. Conflict resolution: Establish a conflict resolution mechanism that will help people work their way through conflicts.
  3. Peer-based evaluation: Be transparent with people’s salaries so that colleagues can react with advice to increase or lower the number.

Sociocracy explicitly addresses the decision-making and peer-based evaluation through its consent decision-making and performance review processes.

Wise democracy

Here is an interview where Nicholas Beecroft interviews Jim Rough on Wise Democracy, Choice Creation and Dynamic Facilitation. Dynamic facilitation takes people into a choice-creating conversation which generates the potential for new outcomes. Jim has found that deep wisdom emerges from a randomly chosen group when the group seeks to serve the whole. He has found that what emerges often is transformational to the whole community. Jim points out that democracy requires ongoing attention and adaptation to the actual needs of a situation. Jim integrates this approach, which is called Wisdom Council, into existing structures to help meeting the challenges which we face.

How to enable and sustain self-organization

Harrison Owen, the originator of Open Space Technology, lists eight steps for the care and feeding of self-organization systems in Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World. The number of steps can be fewer or more, depending on how one counts, but these are the eight essentials:

  1. Do Your Homework Before You Start. First consider where you want to go, why you want to go there, and what might happen along the way. Until there is some clarity about where you want to go, the likelihood of reaching there is small. But clarity of where you want to go is just one part. It must be complemented with caring. Why you want to go must have enough heart and meaning.
  2. Extend an Invitation. An real invitation is one that can be refused. This carries the risk that people might choose not to come, but it also assures that those who do come actually care to come. Again, clarity and caring are essential ingredients.
  3. Come to Circle. The circle is the geometry of free, open space, and rapid communication. Physical circles of people are rich and productive. In circle all people meet face-to-face with free, open space in between. This enables free, rapid communication. People need the maximum freedom to create their own pathways, together.
  4. Welcome Passion, Responsibility, and Authentic Leadership. This is really another way of saying, make sure the whole person is welcome. The real issue is diversity, the particular differences in each individual. When whole people are invited to come with their passions, they will assume personal responsibility. Genuine responsibility cannot be commanded. It will only appear voluntarily. If we invite passion and responsibility, authentic leadership will appear in abundance, which will provide focus and direction as needed. This has nothing to do with the appearance of The Leader. There will be many emergent leaders, each a nodal point for caring, if invited. This will continue as long as the invitation is renewed. Invitation, in short, is not done once.
  5. Remember the Four Principles. The principles are descriptive, not prescriptive. They don’t tell people what to do, but what will be happening. The principles are:
    Whoever Comes Are the Right People. When people who care about the same thing come together, there is a possibility that useful work will begin. The critical issue is not how many they are, but how much they care.
    Whatever Happens Is the Only Thing That Could Have. Don’t worry about what might, could, and even should, have happened. The past is over and the future hasn’t happened yet. All we have is now, and every little bit of conscious awareness and attention helps.
    Whenever It Starts Is the Right Time. Things start when they start. The sense of time and structure are emergent and internally generated. When external controls are enforced, performance will likely decline
    When It’s Over It’s Over. Everything has a beginning, middle, and an end. When the end comes it is best to acknowledge the fact and move on.
  6. Observe the Law of Two Feet. If, at any time, you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet and move on. This may sound prescriptive, but we all follow this law. We are no longer present, nor do we care to be present, when our interest dissipates. In short, the Law of Two Feet keeps our attention on what has heart and meaning for us, what we care about. To ensure focus and adaptability, use your feet.
  7. Keep Grief Working. Grief work transforms the pain of ending into the joy of a new beginning. We might wish to escape it, but there is no alternative. It will proceed with, or without, our assistance, but it can be facilitated. Facilitation is not primarily about doing something, although it can help, but simply about being a companion on a difficult journey. The grief cannot be avoided, it can only be passed through.
  8. Formalize the System. The need for the formal system is real, but is best met in moderation. Good maps are helpful if they reflect the territory. In no case will the maps create the territory. The key question is ”What is the minimal level of formal structures and procedures necessary to sustain system function?” And less is always best. In short, it is the system that drives the procedures, not the other way around. Ensuring the free flow of information is the single most important concern in formalizing the system, because effective communication is essential for the continued well-being of any self-organizing system.

Related posts:
Pre-conditions for self-organization
Self-organization is the real operating system
Emergence is simply what life does
Empowerment is a red herring
Pre-conditions for self-organization
What if the organization is a living system?
Facilitating an Open Space
How to enable and sustain self-organization
TEDxTalk on Open Space Technology

Nio grundläggande mänskliga behov

Här är nio grundläggande mänskliga behov från Marshall Rosenbergs kurs i Nonviolent Communication:

  • Försörjning (grundläggande fysiska behov, mat, luft, vatten, tak över huvudet)
  • Trygghet (skydd)
  • Kärlek
  • Empati
  • Vila (rekreation, lek)
  • Gemenskap
  • Kreativitet
  • Autonomi (starkt behov av att välja vår egen väg i livet, finns vid liv i oss från tidig ålder)
  • Mening (leva livet fullt ut, bidrar till livet, att se hur vårt arbete har gjort människors liv rikare och livet på planeten rikare)

Cynefin framework

Cynefin, pronounced kuh-nev-in, is a Welsh word that signifies the multiple factors in our environment and our experience that influence us in ways we can never understand.

In this video, Dave Snowden introduces the Cynefin Framework with a brief explanation of its origin and evolution and a detailed discussion of its architecture and function.

Circle guidelines

Here are basic guidelines covering the following components for calling a circle:

  • Intention
  • Welcome Start-point
  • Center and Check-in/Greeting
  • Agreements
  • Three Principles and Three Practices
  • Guardian of process
  • Check-out and Farewell

TEDxTalk on Open Space Technology

Here is Harrison Owen’s TEDxTalk on Open Space Technology and self-organization from September 2013. Harrison Owen says (5 min from start) ”If human systems are fundamentally self organizing, then control as we have sought it is impossible, and management as we have practiced it is questionable.

Related posts:
Pre-conditions for self-organization
Self-organization is the real operating system
Emergence is simply what life does
Empowerment is a red herring
Pre-conditions for self-organization
What if the organization is a living system?
Facilitating an Open Space
How to enable and sustain self-organization
TEDxTalk on Open Space Technology

Future Search for product line redesign

Future Search is a planning meeting setup which has been in use since the early 1980s. IKEA has used Future Search for product line redesign as described in Faster, Shorter, Cheaper May Be Simple; It’s Never Easy by Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff.

I find the approach interesting. Here’s a short summary:

  • IKEA sought to redesign a specific product development and distribution system.
  • The managers already knew that to restore their market advantage, they had to flatten the hierarchy and broaden the lines of communication. What they didn’t know was how to do it.
  • Several of the IKEA managers had attended Future Search training. They wanted to modify the method without altering the basic principles. They also believed that resources and expertise would line up if people were involved from the start.
  • What happened was that the new product line design came out of a dialogue born from the deep knowledge in each person of their connection to the product. Many things happened at once, greatly shortening the time from idea to action. Actions could be taken without asking persmission from anyone not present. Having all key people in the room dramatically improved the participants relationship to their work and their coworkers.

Creative forces of self-organization

After reading We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy by John Buck and Sharon Villines, I have become very interested in sociocracy, a.k.a. dynamic governance. Gerard Endenburg, who started pioneering and applying dynamic governance, has recently written an interesting article about the Creative Forces of Self-Organization together with John Buck. In this article, they discuss the principles and some of the methods of sociocracy in detail. Below are a few quotes from the article:

…the self-organizing process spurs creative thinking and catalyzes new structures and ideas.

…to be self-organizing, a system must meet two conditions. First, the components of any self-organizing system must be equivalent, that is, not controlling each other. … Second, to be self-organizing, a system must have an external source of energy.

The three defining elements of dynamic governance [consent, circles, and double linking] create the conditions needed for self-organization to occur.

Only a dynamic governance structure, that is, one in which all the members are fundamentally equal, fundamentally not trapped in a boss-servant relationship, supports the natural phenomenon of self-organization.

Dynamic governance has considerable unexplored potential for many areas of human endeavor.

Contrasting Sociocracy and Holacracy

Sociocracy is an interesting dynamic governance method which is described in We the People. Aspects of sociocracy are incorporated into Holacracy. This video contrasts the underlying intentions and practical differences between the two methods.

I think this is an example of where the same principles, but with different intentions, leads to different practices. I would also assume that there are different interpretations of sociocracy itself. There might be practical differences, however slight, depending on the individual understanding and the actual context.

Related posts:
Sociocracy requires a new mindset
Scrum vs. Sociocracy
Sociocratic principles can be implemented in many ways
Sociocracy is a method, and still it isn’t
Implementing sociocracy without sociocracy
Sociocracy as practiced by the G/wi
Policies vs. agreements
Scaling sociocracy is all about the context
Unspoken sociocratic principles
Cultural dimensions of sociocracy
A prerequisite for sociocracy is a socios
Book Review: Holacracy
Book Review: Sociocracy
Holacracy vs. Sociocracy
The big misconception in sociocracy

Related posts in Swedish:
Holakrati, holokrati och sociokrati
Hur införa sociokrati i en organisation (del 1)?
Hur införa sociokrati i en organisation (del 2)?
Sociokrati är som permakultur, fast för människor
Sociokrati är som en skogsträdgård
Kurs i kväkarnas beslutsmetod, som bygger på att nå enighet kring beslut
En historisk tillbakablick på kväkarnas beslutsmetod
Sociokratibok: Idag publiceras boken
Några tankar om sociokrati
Min gästblogg på #skolvåren: Att organisera oss rätt

When software developers embrace visual facilitation

Øredev is an annual software development conference held in Malmö Sweden. The program staff at Øredev were so excited about visual facilitation that they invited ImageThink be conference speakers and teachers. Here’s the story: ImageThink in Sweden. One of the conference participants thought that ImageThink’s workshop was probably the most useful event at the conference.

Visual facilitation training (continued)

I have had two fantastic days with Fran O’Hara in her Graphic & Visual Facilitation Training at Wallace Space in London. Visual recording is a very effective way of capturing the essence and key messages of a meeting. It became very clear during the training that Fran has many, many years of experience. She has an excellent ability to meet the needs of the course participants. I left the training with new basic skills and a strong motivation to continue practicing. What took me with surprise is how physical the visual recording is. I really enjoyed the contact with the paper and the experimentation with different techniques. The training was a great, positive experience. Thanks!