Ex Libris Kirkland

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Subtitle How to get life back into work to build the high-performance organization
First Written 2014
Genre Business
Origin Germany
Publisher Betacodex
My Copy paperback
First Read May 04, 2023

Organize for Complexity

Pt. 6. Leadership in Complexity
Alpha management = FFF - Facts, Fear, Force. Beta = RRR (MK: yoooooo) -> Relate, Repeat, Reframe.
p. 84. Focus leadership work on system, not people.
p. 85. Promote results-based achievement culture.
p. 86. Alpha = stakeholders are in conflict, mgmt adjudicates. Beta = interests are intertwined and interdependent, we all can win.
p. 88. Leaders can stimulate growth of internal connections.
p. 90. Leaders can get the right people on board. promote self-discover and mastery of those already on board.
p. 92. "Transparency makes ambition, a healthy spirt of competitiveness, and group or peer pressure, possible"
p. 93. make targets/measures/comps 'relative'. Dangling carrots fails in knowledge-based work. Let purpose drive behavior.
p. 95. 'Consultative Individual Decision Making' -> empowered individuals sharpen their problems, consult with others, are empowered to make choices.
p. 96 BetaCodex rules:

  1. Team autonomy: Connectedness with purpose, not dependency
  2. Federalization:  Integration into cells, not division into silos
  3. Leaderships: Self-organization, not management
  4. All-around success: Comprehensive fitness, not mono-maximization
  5. Transparency: Flow intelligence, not power obstruction
  6. Market orientation: Relative Targets, not top-down prescription
  7. Conditional income: Participation, not incentives
  8. Presence of mind: Preparation, not planned economy
  9. Rhythm: Tact & groove, not fiscal-year orientation
  10. Mastery-based decision: Consequence, not bureaucracy
  11. Resource discipline: Expedience, not status-orientation
  12. Flow coordination: Value-creation dynamics, not static allocations

Noted on May 4, 2023

Pt 7. Transform or remain stuck
p. 100. You can't work in your old model and get new results. Gotta work ON the new model.
p. 102. Orgs are born in Pioneer mode, can grow into Beta mode or bureaucratize into Alpha mode (MK; cf my scarification theory of management)
Make sense of urgency tangible. Unite the group. Write your org a letter. Go with the change energy, not against it.

Noted on May 4, 2023

I'm making an outline summary as I go to help me track.

Pt 1. Complexity - why it matters to work and orgs.
Taylorism - divides work into 'managers' and 'workers', part of the machine age industrial revolution. Managers plan, control, decide - while Workers Obey, Follow, etc. We call this method of working 'Alpha'. (presumably an alternative will be called 'Beta'). This creates gaps: social, functional, time-based. This is only efficient in an age of assembly lines, increasing industrialization. It works for factories (maybe) but not social or knowledge work.

Complicated vs complex. A Swiss watch is Complicated - many simple parts that interact predictably. Complex systems have many parts that interact unpredictably.

It takes PEOPLE to deal with complexity. Machines can handle complication.

Pt 2. Humans at work - how to fulfill and capture potential.
Theories X and Y. X = people dislike work, need structures and incentives to perform. Y = opposite, people work because they are intrinsically motivated to. When you survey people, they basically say "most people are X but I am Y (because I am special). But that's dumb, you're not special. If you believe Y is true about you then it should be true for everybody. People are driven by motives, and real motives are intrinsic, you cannot meaningfully motivate someone else. 'Any attempt to motivate can only lead to demotivation.'
"We call the phenomenon when an individual voluntary connects to work and organization 'connectedness'"
p.29. Most management tools are X technology - both rewards and punishments. Rules, timesheets, overtime pay, vacation, culture surveys, dress codes, bonuses, pay scales, etc. That's all top-down shit.
p. 31. People are all different.
p. 33. Networks of people become strengths because they support each other.
p. 34. Individual results in an organization is a myth, only teams can do work. (MK: huh?)
p. 36. Data and information don't equal smarts.

Noted on May 4, 2023

Picked this up as background reading on a new project. Interesting but abstract; I think it would benefit from some more concrete examples of application!

Noted on May 4, 2023

Pt 3. Self Organizing Teams & the Networked Org

'Chunking' - a group of things together is perceived as a chunk. (MK: gestalt + human factors, baby!) "We call the individual chunk a cell, the cluster of cells a 'system', the cell boundary 'sphere of activity'."
p.41. Alpha organizes teams/cells/groups into function. Beta organizes along lines of work.
p. 42. Alpha has rules/responsibility boundaries. info leaves cell to a manager. Beta has transparency and social pressure that self-regulates a team.
p.43. small teams -> visibility -> Social Pressure -> shared responsibility
p.44. Must be team-based, not individuals in a cell
p.46. Alpha teams communicate up to a manager, who passes info down to another team. Beta teams communicate directly to other teams.
p.47. Departments do not equal 'cells'

Pt 4. Orgs as systems: designing for complexity
Don't imagine orgs as pyramids, it's a broken metaphor. Imagine instead as a multi-nested network. This is how the real world works; you don't have a boss of your neighborhood or RPG group. Value is created from inside out. Formal hierarchy is only good for external compliance or trivial matters.
BUT you can have center/periphery distinctions in networks. Periphery is what touches the marketplace. The center is deprived of this because its insulated. In Alpha, customer problem solving has to pass from the outside, thru layers, to the center, and back. But Beta decentralizes this and lets Periphery players interact with the marketplace with authority.
Decentralization is better than delegation.
Culture is like a shadow. You can't make one directly but it is a reflection of your shape, and is in a sense autonomous. You can't change your culture, but you can change what you do that casts that shadow. And you can observe that culture/shadow to see how you're doing.

Pt 5. Dynamic robust networks for all, how to pull it off
DO NOT design your org with a pyramid chart. no line structures, no departments, no shared services, not central staff.
Define Spheres of Activity. Let each write a manifesto of what it does. Let value creation come from the pull of the market, NOT a push from a central authority.
"we call the links between individual networks 'strings'"
"the link between peripheral cells and the market, 'market pull'"
Market Pull is anything an external stakeholder demands.

How to draft the org.
Step 1. start from market inwards
Step 2. design central cells as internal supply units. They supply services to periphery. Ideally they price and sell their services as-need and peripheral units buy those services as needed in an internal market. Could serve hr/personnel/finance/legal needs(MK: like a recharge service in a large org)
Step 3. Iterate.
You should have principles, not rules (eg, 'don't do evil' instead of 'if x then y')
People no longer have positions, but portfolio of roles. I do X in this situation, I do Y in that. Everybody juggles roles all he time.

Noted on May 4, 2023

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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