Image: Courtesy of farm4.static
Transforming an enterprise into a community is consistent with an increasing amount of dissatisfaction with the dominant concept of what a corporation is and who owns it. Community enterprises are created by common purpose rather than a common place. Nobody owns the community. Communities consider members as citizen and not as human resources. Citizen with varied responsibilities as well as rights.
Transforming an enterprise into a community is imperative to allow the system to focus on interaction of all parts and not on separate actions. A community enterprise allows everyone to participate in making decisions that affect them directly. In addition, control is circular, not linear. We don’t recommend eliminating hierarchies because labor must be coordinated in a complex working environment. But hierarchies don’t equal autocracies.
Each manager will have a board, consisting of the manager’s supervisor, his subordinates and pertinent stakeholders. Most managers will be part of three levels of boards, interacting with five levels of management. This amount of interactions and access significantly reduces internally generated problems.
The boards are tasked to plan, police themselves, coordinate and integrate with other boards, improve quality of work life and overall performance and, last but not least, approve the board chair.
Boards meet at least once a month. The difference to normal meetings, that often accomplish nothing, is that managers don’t consider them as work interruptions. Instead, board meetings help managers to manage interactions with all stakeholders and facilitate their work. Boards don’t operate under the tyranny of majority, their goal is to operate by consensus. If consensus can’t be achieved, board members are tasked to work under the premise of consensus through experimentation. However, board members have to consent on the success metrics of the test and a follow-up plan.
The agenda can be set by any member of the board. In the early stages of the enterprise transformation, a facilitator might be used to help the board with the first baby steps. This should be supported with an initial introduction to group processes.
Each board acts independently, can implement any decision if it doesn’t affect any other or the organization as a whole. Managers should ask their boards for advice on decisions they have to make but the responsibility for the decisions is solely with the managers, not the boards.
Empowering all stakeholders compered to empowering a few managers will improve the performance of the enterprise dramatically.
Let’s discuss this further in Part 9.