Taking a leaf out of the recent North African uprisings there is something profound and real about the way leaders are chosen and once chosen how they maintain power and hegemony. I have come across organizations that have the same smell about them, stale and ‘balkanized’ in their fear that someone will usurp information and take the coveted place of ‘leader’.
Too many organizations are still addicted to outdated hierarchies based on political slight of hand and dirty moves. But hierarchies are not always bad, even IDEO has a project ‘leader’ with a bell. Point is who chooses the leader? Why do some hierarchies’ work so well and others make a person want to kill the boss?
Allow employees to determine who will head the hierarchy. A possible model could be > 10 people will vote for 1> 5 groups of ten people will vote for 1> 2 groups of 50 people will vote for 1 and 10 groups of 100 people will vote for one. This pattern can be expanded or contracted depending on the size of the organization. In a system like this starting with the single employee as the binary denominator, the individual actually has a say in the highest level of management for an organization where he/she decides to spend a fair part of their life. The tens, fifties and hundreds are department based and so you get a ‘fair spread’ of representation through the organization. Selection is based on the sustainable capacity of that elected individual to deliver on a wide range of specific organizational objectives or roles. The objectives and roles form the mission statement of the organization.
Allow ‘natural’ leaders to be given a democratic chance to reach their potential by the voice of the employees. Develop an organizational system that does not lose touch with the realness of the circumstances of the people that work there or the environment it operates within.
Benefit: People engaged at all levels in the well fare of the organization, active buy-in achieved without bribery.
Metric: Poll/voting census
Benefit: Right of leadership tenure based on delivery, engaged leaders focused on shared organizational goals.
Metric: Re-election by the voice of the employees based on subjective as well as objective reasoning in relation to organizational goal realization and role development.
Benefit: Employees who feel ‘ownership’ in the process of production through autonomy of election process.
Metric: Qualitative as well as quantitative production statistics.
Implement the system in a pilot operation compare productivity, engagement and staff retention data with the means of industry and scale up the idea if data supports such a move.
Engage in a rigorous training regimen (re-socialisation) ‘we are in this together mentality’ and ‘if its to be its up to me’ paradigm.
Reengineer executive/facilitator remuneration packages based on added responsibilities that are visible and equitable. Education is required in order to achieve this.