Adopt a federated structure rather than the existing monolithic structure.
Organisations tend to be top down, hierarchical and monolithic. This creates two fundamental problems:-
a Individuals do not perform to their full capacity but to the capacity acceptable to their managers (broadly defined).
b Meeting the demand of customers (broadly defined) is not the highest priority of all in the organisation.
These fundamental problems result in sub-optimal productivity, sub optimal meeting of customer demand, sub optimal profits or surpluses and sub optimal sustainability.
We need to change our approach to governance to suit a bottom up and federated structure. It needs to be bottom up so customer demand drives the organisation. It needs to be federated so small functional units (maximum size about 150) in the organisation can perform their function independently while conforming to the purpose and values of the federation to which they belong. The sort of governance we want is summarised in the acronym START:-
S takeholder engagement at all times;
T rust based on the individual integrity of each person involved;
R esponsible behaviour by persons in organisations;
An example of this sort of governance is Douglas Integrative Governance 247 (DIG247). Its key aspects are summarised in the IFEDS Model. This IFEDS Model is for start-ups but its main features can also be applied to existing organisations in the transition from the managerial to the distributed economy. Each part of the IFEDS Model is a node in a network of relationships which employs fully the integrative capacity of individuals to ensure enough stability to meet efficiently, effectively and competitively the needs and wants of end-users/citizens while remaining adaptable enough to self-organise to meet changes in those needs and wants. Within the network are what have been termed “value exchanges” by Verna Allee (originator of Value Network Analysis) rather than the “transactions” of the managerial economy. Value Network Analysis is one of the primary complementary tools when implementing Integrative Improvement. http://www.ValueNetworks.com offers “the technology, methodology, and experience that it takes to deliver break through business results through value network analysis - from board room to shop floor, to business webs, to global humanitarian networks. “
The nodes of the IFEDS Model are:
I ndividual end-users/citizens;
D irect Support Advocates (DSAs); and
The IFEDS Model works as follows:-
• Individual end-users/citizens who join a Federation in a geographical area express their changing needs and wants face-to-face and/or virtually to a Direct Support Advocate (DSA) for the area who is a member of that Federation.
• Direct Support Advocates (DSAs) obtain for end-users/citizens the goods and services they want through Enterprises of that Federation.
• Enterprises staffed by Enterprise Catalysts (ECs) and other Enterprise Integrators (EIs) facilitate the connections between Direct Support Advocates (DSAs) and Suppliers. This includes training and coordinating of DSAs and provision of enabling technology.
• ECs, EIs, end-users/citizens and DSAs, are all members of the Federation.
• Federations are governed by Federation Catalysts (FCs) and other Federation Integrators(FIs) who provide coordination for up to seven Enterprises engaged in efficiently, effectively and competitively meeting the needs and wants of end-users/citizens through Enterprises and their DSAs.
• Individual end-users/citizens' certification that they are satisfied with the goods and services supplied initiates the release of cash into the Federation for distribution in accordance with prior contracts.
Applying DIG 247 in practice begins in the same way whether it is a social entrepreneur, a single business person starting out, a large corporation, a public servant planning the implementation of a government program or an activist in a civil society organisation. Each person involved simply acquires the NEW Integrative Thinking (NEW IT) and Douglas Integrative Governance 247 (DIG 247) training modules and templates and works their way through them.
The NEW IT Modules are designed for self-learning and take the learner in easy steps through the strategic and tactical planning, action, review and evaluation stages of an Integrative Problem Solving process which is applicable in any context. A problem is simply defined as the difference between what one has and what one wants in any context. Accordingly, problem solving and planning is simply the process of negotiating the change from what one has to what one wants. Changing to good governance is no exception.
After completing this Integrative Problem Solving stage the people involved are ready to establish governance policies for whatever type of organisation they have decided upon as being most appropriate to the circumstances – Direct Support Advocates Team, Enterprise, Federation, Supplier – or all four. For instance, a rural development project might start with just two Direct Support Advocates as Catalysts. Nevertheless, it would start out with governance policies based on the DIG 247 Templates and build connections, relationships and interactions following the IFEDS Model. Similarly, a civil society activist group might start with two or three advocates in the equivalent of a Direct Support Advocates Team and as new issues arose foster the development of similar small groups - one for each issue – which would remain connected with the first group. In this way a Federation would start to develop.
On the other hand, a large existing corporation might start by setting up the framework of a Federation with other corporations as Enterprises and Suppliers and existing local end-user/citizen focussed people who could be trained as Direct Support Advocates. Similarly, a government program might be implemented from the outset by a Federation with Enterprises and Direct Support Advocates Teams in local areas.
In all these instances and depending on their qualifications, Direct Support Advocates, Enterprises and Suppliers could be providing their services for more than one Federation.
Throughout the process of Integrative Problem Solving using NEW IT Modules and the writing and review of Integrative Governance Policies using DIG 247 Modules, any new and appropriate enablement tools would be integrated with those mentioned in this description.
The usual challenges of attempting change in top down organisations (managers versus other staff, conservatives versus progressives and vested interests) are avoided by approaching the matter as training and professional development for all. After everyone in the organisation has done that training they have a common basis for communication and a clear understanding of what is involved so transitioning to the new federated structure and governance should be facilitated.
Adopt federated governance policies.
APPENDIX TO ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE INTEGRATIVEIMPROVEMENT INSTITUTES PROJECT by Graham Douglas
NOTE (added September 2009): For an extensive annotated bibliography relating to Applied Mind Science in the field of Integrative Thinking please see NEW IT Module 1 at http:www.integrative-thinking.com.
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World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 2005, “Regional perspectives on 'Sustainable Livelihoods and Business'” at http://www.wbcsd.org/web/publications/sl-egionaldialogues_080205.pdf.
Zuboff, S. and Maxmin, J. 2002, The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism, Viking Penguin, New York and at http://www.thesupporteconomy.com/ 2006.
Silly me, I responded to your comment on my hack before reading through this particular hack. Seems like you are onto something. Inverting the pyramid to allow your customers to drive the most important slice of the organization - the front line - seems practical, but challenging to accomplish with out budgetary discretion. Now I see what you were saying in the comment over on my hack.
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