A hack doesn’t have to be based completely on a new principle or idea; it can be a collection of older ideas and inventions used together to provide a new way for solving a specific problem.
ORG 2.X is such a solution. Its goal is to promote the practice of leadership regardless of organizational level or job role with the aim to solve the organization’s problems or implement innovative solutions.
ORG 2.X is an ad hoc and dynamic structure added to the organization that provides freedom from constraints of traditional hierarchies, without necessarily being forced to face the challenges and difficulties that accompany changes in the organizational structure, but at the same time it provides many of the advantages seen in lean and flat structures, encouraging leadership practices, innovation and problem solving.
- Traditional organizational structures prevent to tackle a lot of problems. Top management is overwhelmed with duties and can’t deal with everything, at the same time the base doesn’t have the chance to contribute beyond the job description.
- A flat and lean structure has many advantages, however implementing one in existing organizations is challenging. Structure is connected to many things, including the business model. Changing the structure will affect operations definitely, and it will take a lot of time and effort.
- Opportunities for people to play a leadership role in the organization is rare. There is no space for people to practice leadership and show what they really are capable of.
The solution is to have the benefits of both worlds at the same time by introducing an ad-hoc dynamic structure to the organization, without necessarily having to tempt with the current one, especially when changing the current structure is especially challenging.
This structure, called ORG 2.X serves as a hacker space for people who have solutions for problems and ideas they want to implement in the real organization.
The principle of ORG 2.X is similar to the open source development philosophy, but it is not necessarily for software development but rather for any type of problems and solutions inside an organization.
The 2 in ORG 2.X stands for the fact that it is represents a second existence of the original organization, based on different principles. The X stand for the fact that it is highly dynamic. It can grow and shrink, and its internal structure changes based on the formation of teams and their activities, as well as the number of problems at hand.
It works as follows:
Top management gives away the responsibility to resolve specific problems it doesn’t have time and wits to deal with. Also the employees start to think about issues that they think need to be dealt with.
In an ORG 2.X workshop all these problem and issues get raised and introduced to the members of the organization. The person who introduces the problem is called the initiator.
Each problem or idea gets voted for based on its perceived importance and the 15 issues or ideas with the highest votes are chosen to be resolved /implemented.
The initiator rallies to get support from the workshop participants and forms a solution team. When done he or she will have formed a TEAM 2.X. Again, the 2 and the X because it is a dynamic team that consists of people from different background and organization levels; the size can grow and shrink, and teams can merge, split, or collaborate to work together on a specific problems or ideas. The criteria to join the team is how much the member can contribute to the solution.
The value here is that the membership or contribution to one team doesn’t prevent a member to be active in other teams, playing different roles in different place. This embodies the concept of LEAD 2.X.
In traditional leadership settings a person normally plays one or few roles in one place and in one group or few groups of people. Inside an ORG 2.X and based on the LEAD 2.X principle, a person can chose to play as many roles as he can manage and in different place and groups at the same time. Leadership therefore doesn’t happen only with the initiators; it could happen with any person playing and of these general roles:
- Initiator: the person who has the original idea or solution or interest to solve a specific problem.
- Doer: a person heavily involved in the implementation.
- Thinker: a person who is heavily involved in planning and innovating.
- Motivator: a person who sees his role in providing emotional support and encouragement.
- Organizer: a person who’s strength point is managing things and bringing order to chaos.
- Connector: a person who has a large network of connections and who contributes mostly by hocking up his team with other useful people who provide value to the team.
- Negotiator: a person who’s role is getting resources and value to the team.
- Advisor: a person who gives advice and direction to those who consult him.
- Communicator: a person who communicates the goals and achievements to others in an efficient way and rallies for more support.
- Facilitator: a person who contributes value to the team in any way not mentioned above.
The organization is free to add or remove roles in the way that it sees relevant to the organization’s work and environment.
Each person can play different roles and in different places, and each role requires from a person different skills and experiences.
In order to keep track of the ORG 2.X structures and formations, as well as the roles each member is playing, a Web 2.0 solution is needed.
Something similar to OpenTeams can be used, but it has to be customizable so that the functionality of endorsing members can be added, just like the one used in LinkedIn, with the difference that it will not only be used for skills, but also for documenting the roles each member is playing. Each member in the teams endorses everybody after every work session or contribution to the team, with a brief description of the value provided and the role he or she played.
The real value of ORG 2.X workshops is when they are organized periodically, let’s say 4 times a year (or depending on what the organization sees suitable). In each ORG 2.X Workshop the teams reports on their progresses and new ideas and solutions get proposed in order for new teams to be formed.
- This solution is practical and applicable to virtually any organization, since whatever structure existing, an ORG 2.X can be added or removed based on the problems and number of initiators, without any additional hassle.
- This way ORG 2.X works allows for continues problem solving and innovation that benefits the organization in its original setting and circumstances, with a space for everybody to be a leader in the field and role he or she likes. This is also a chance for problems and issues to be tackled away from bureaucratic burdens and challenges.
- The ORG 2.X web application allows to have an account of the leadership roles that are played by every member for self-evaluation or further evaluation by the organization itself. Management could assign people to new task and job roles based on the portfolio of leadership roles played in ORG 2.X. People with a distinguished profile on ORG 2.X web application can also be rewarded.
- The concept of TEAM 2.X allows members to get used to ad-hoc teams and people from different backgrounds, with different skillsets and roles in the real organization. This also bring organization member, otherwise dispersed, closer and in an environment different the existing one, with different roles and responsibilities. It allows members to rediscover each other in new circumstances.
- The concept of LEAD 2.X allows the members to try to practice new roles he or she is not playing normally in the original work environment. For instance, if a person sees himself a thinker, he or she can try to see how it is to be a doer by provide value to his team under this new role. It might end up that this person figures out the hidden talents and skills the original work environment doesn’t allow to come out and be challenged. He or she also might find out to be born for different jobs or role he or she is playing in the original organization.
- ORG 2.X also introduces some change, and therefore fun. Organization members might do better at their original job if they have a way to break of from their everyday routine, but in a highly productive way.
- Allocating time for work inside the ORG 2.X organization. It would mean allocating a few hours each week for members to be active in ORG 2.X, or paid hours in the weekends and holidays. However if the organization realizes the value, and does some trails, this challenge might be overcome.
- Large organizations might face some challenge organizing ORG 2.X workshops, or managing ORG 2.X web solutions. However the value gained should be considered, especially that the concept can be federalized, with each division or business unit having its own ORG 2.X, but the outcome shared and benefited across the whole organization.
- If a teams become too big, it might be challenging for one member to endorse the others members. However like in LinkedIn, when endorsing the roles of one member by a second member, a suggestion might be send to other members for endorsement. Also each person might endorses himself and find out if others agree with him or her. All these functionalities must be built in the ORG 2.X web solution.
- Management needs to agree upon the type of problems which it wants to give away the authority of solving.
- Management also needs to decide upon how often it wants to organize ORG 2.X workshops during the year.
- A web application needs to be chosen and customized based on the ORG 2.X concepts. It must provide the functionalities of a social network with group creation and endorsement.
I'm inspired by the speeches and talks of Gary Hamel.
The ORG 2.X operations model depends highly on the open source operations model.
I've also been inspired a lot by the Startup Weekend which was held in Baghdad end June this year. I had the honor to be one of the coaches there. A lot of the ORG 2.X principle is based on how Startup Weekends work.