May 31, 2011 at 10:50am
All work in a company is divided into projects/tasks and auctioned on an internal company market. It quickly becomes apparent who's good at what, and what needs to be outsourced. Work is tracked using modern tools, like OpenProject mashed into Google Docs. Most employees should receive low base/retainer salaries.
Hypothesis (not that it's possible to say if this is falsifiable, or not):
Most organisations carry too much dead weight - the salaryfolks. The market as a whole compensates for this inefficiency by allowing elite agile orginations to emerge (like expensive consulting firms and banks), which regularly interact with the dead-weighted segments of the market. This natural segmentation of talent, according to company culture and market position, might not be the most efficient equilibrium for talent dynamics (the movement of talent in the marketspace).
The core component of this solution is an internal job market, not for general job-descripted roles, but for every specific project and/or task that the organisation needs to accomplish in order to operate as a business. Such a brokerage would only be possible if there existed a cheap and reliable method for quantifying projects/tasks, and listing them for a select market on a basic electronic platform which brokered the supply of talent and the demand for projects/tasks to get done.
The select market might be composed of internal staff, and anyone else from the company's external familiars, to the world's entire population of freelances.
Work listed within a company, on such an electronic trading platform, should also be tracked using the same framework (one might call it a language) which was used to quantify the tasks at the time of listing. The definition of a task is merely a set of necessary conditions which need to be met, before the tasks is deemed complete. This definition provides sufficient information to workers who wish to bid on the task, who further claim the right to certain compensation, once they are able to meet the task's necessary conditions for fulfillment.
- work should get done faster, as people tend to work faster when they do what they find intrinsically or extrinsically valuable (operational improvement)
- employees should spend less time "on the job" doing things they don't find intrinsically or extrinsically valuable (morale improvement)
- given the same employees, and with the same number of hours contributed per employee per period, the difference that the proposed solution would make, would be to create more time for recreational mental activity, thereby driving innovation (more strategic resources are made available to the company)
- given the same output from employees, a difference that the proposed solution might make, would be to reduce the cost of salaries (financial bottomline improvement)
The degree to which this concept of business architecture can be implemented will vary significantly, based on the stage of an organisation's development.
Startups could be initiated to use nothing but "work auctions," instead of "salaries," from day-zero of operations.
Whereas, older, less agile organisations may only be able to implement "work auctions," in small, fun, and exciting ways to begin with. They would usually also have to implement some change management techniques in order to increase and improve the company's rate of adoption of a "new," and "unusual," economic framework for performance and compensation.
I've been working professionally in teams since being picked for leadership training, for school organisations in middle-school.
I have a BA, major in Philosophy, from Bates College - for whatever it's worth.
Post college, I have read a number of texts on the management consulting industry, and what is does, and how it executes some of those jobs. Some of these texts were academic, and others were not.
My first job in the corporate sector was at Watson Wyatt, which provided me with some exposure to contemporary commercial jargon in the human resources sector.
I later assisted a number of former General Electric employees who were setting up a social enterprise called Leaderonomics that focused on talent management - so I learnt more jargon, and knowledge of contemporary practices there.
Recently, I spent a couple of years helping to manage the technical development of a web startup, Ukuya. In that setting, I built web-based task tracking tools, and sometimes coordinated the work-flow of the team.
You can never stop crediting other people for influencing the work that you do, but I'll leave it at that for now.