Turn leaders into "teamers" and use the "market efficiency" strategy to create an efficient organization
We spend a lot of time developing leaders and then we rely on them to run our organizations, make the right decisions, and get things done. But leadership as a concept has flaws:
(1) By creating leaders, we sometimes diminish others.
(2) By creating leaders, we create followers. We focus on developing leaders but not as much on developing followers. But followers need to develop as well.
(3) Followers distance themselves from leaders. This removes a certain level of trust, communications, and performance from followers. Dominant voices and group think destroy team work.
(4) Leadership creates the hunger for power and power can corrupt people. Corrupted people often make the wrong decisions.
Let's define a leader as a person that possesses a number of competencies, such as awareness, emotional intelligence, communications skills, ability to influence others, etc. Now let's take one of these skills out - "the ability to influence with authority" and let's add two new skills - "great team player" and "creative thinker". Instead of calling this newly minted person a leader, let's call him a teamer.
We are now ready to create a great organization. Forget leadership. Let's create teams. Our perfect organization will consist of teams, small enough to be make quick decisions but large enough to bring efficiency. These teams will consist of teamers, people with great leadership skills who don't care about subordinates or followers but have all of the other leadership qualities that make them great communicators as well as highly effective team players.
Now let's add some motivational factors. Every teamer should be an owner in every sense of the word. Every teamer should be rewarded partially based on his own contribution to the team, and partially on results achieved by the team as well as the organization as a whole.
Now let's add some checks and balances. Every teamer should be accountable to his team mates. Team mates dictate every teamer's salary, direction, tasks, and whether or not he makes it in the team.
Now let's add complex decision making. Complex decisions should be made by boards. These boards should consists of cross functional teams.
Now let's create a process that assures we have the right people in those teams and they are prepared to make these teams highly functional. Let's focus our educational efforts on building great teams. Make sure teamers respect and trust each other, build on each others' ideas, stretch, innovate, create and manage healthy conflict, come up with decisions and commit to execution, hold each other accountable, and focus on team results, rather than self.
Now let all information free and create a system of 100% transparency. Let everyone in the organization know absolutely everything.
Now, let's set our teamers free and let them create chaos. An organization consisting of the right teams with the right people, the right personalities, the right training, and the right attitude will act like a market. The market is efficient (at least that's the widely accepted theory) because it consists of people working for their self interests. An organization with the right teamers will also be efficient if people are set free and are allowed to pursue their own self interests. The boundaries setup by this system will act as motivators and checks and balances to make sure the system stays as efficient as possible.
At first, you will see total chaos, but then the system will self stabilize and turn into a powerful, self-sufficient, unbeatable, high performing machine.
An organization will become much more dynamic and efficient. There will be a higher degree of trust and productivity. There will be no side effects of leadership. People will stop worrying about their rank, promotion, and power and will focus on what matters most. Communication will be open. Ideas will flow more freely and will be more likely accepted. Change will become a way of life. People's jobs will be easier to do because they will now focus on what's natural to them, rather than what's developed through brainwashing. People will be motivated to think differently, try more things, apply their imagination, better utilize free information, take bureaucracy out of decision making, take annoyances out of work, and make work more fun.
1. Create a limited test inside of one department of an organization.
2. Put a lot of efforts into teamer development.
3. Stop reinforcing old behaviors.
4. Start promoting new behaviors.
5. Gradually convince people to change.
6. Free new behaviors.
7. Make this change one department at a time.
8. Make departments talk
9. Create a culture of transparency.
Of course, this is easier to launch in a startup organization than an existing company, especially if it's large.
Me (Matt Shlosberg) with some ideas borrowed from the works of Henry Mintzberg, Russ Ackoff, and studying success of W.L. Gore.