So, self-management simply recognizes the reality that everyone is a creature of free will and it’s no one’s job to motivate anyone else. It’s no one’s job to create a culture. People will exercise their free will and that exercise will result in a particular culture. Many people describe multiple cultures or subcultures within a particular organization and that makes a lot of sense. It’s really about individuals having the resources and the freedom to exercise good leadership, innovation and judgment to fulfill the mission, vision, values and purpose of an enterprise. That is what determines the culture. Because there are many different facets to it, I’m not sure I buy into any particular article, book or definition. There are lots of ways to look at it, but this is always my starting point.
What would you say your main hope, or your main goal is from being a part of this collaborative book?
Doug Kirkpatrick: I want to inspire business leaders, decision makers, founders, partners and CEOs to seriously consider new ways of working and not simply default to the traditional command and control vertical alignment. My background is in organizational self-management, but there is no one single solution or one right answer or one perfect recipe as to how to make it work. It is important to consider alternatives to traditional top-down authoritarian bureaucratic structures, hierarchies that exert command and authority and which have the power to force you to do what other people want you to do at any given time. I think that is a major source of current disengagement. Those structures must be replaced with a liberating structure that respects the voice of each and every individual. That is my dream and that is what I hope this book will offer leaders and decision makers as they contemplate how to organize their enterprises.
In your chapter, you focus a lot on the power of social technologies and how it liberates organizations and helps them unleash self-management. Could you briefly share an overview of what your main argument is in that chapter and how social technologies liberate organizations?
Doug Kirkpatrick: Sure. There’s a group of social technologies called Liberating Structures. One of the principles is that organizations which rely on meetings, presentations and status reports to get work done collaboratively are really missing the boat. It’s kind of like trying to communicate with an alphabet that’s only got three letters. You may be able to get some points across, but your conversation is not going to be very rich. You’re going to miss a lot of opportunities for collaboration. Social technologies allow organizations to hear the voices of individuals sometimes for the first time, to unlock innovation, to release leadership, to resolve conflict, to heighten awareness and to accomplish all the things that we should be trying to accomplish in a healthy culture that wants to get stuff done.
Could you briefly share a success story that you’ve had with a company that you’ve worked with?
Doug Kirkpatrick: We worked with a brewery in California that was taken over by the grandson of the founders. The desire was to implement a self-managed enterprise. So, we trained everyone who was on board at the time and they have since created a vibrant culture of personal responsibility, personal accountability, transparent communication and organizational self-management. They’re not 100% yet. They’re probably 60% or 70%, but well on the way to becoming a truly beautiful, liberating and innovative self-managed enterprise.
For more information about Doug Kirkpatrick, visit www.nufocusgroupusa.com.