Five steps towards self-organisation

We have started to see our decision-making and development responsibility from another perspective. Today, everyone at Sonder both sense and have a great responsibility for decision-making in the development of our company, within our areas of responsibility as well as for our personal growth. In practice, this means that I take initiative and do what I need to do for my own development. If or when I need support, I have my colleagues close at hand.

Some decisions are required by laws and regulations to be made by our board, and some important decisions are made at our management meetings (where all colleagues are present each Friday afternoon). Developing self-organisation this way suits us and our organisation, and we strongly believe in the development of more self-managing organisations. In what form and how depends of course on the unique traits of each organisation.

It’s clear that the interest for this kind of management is growing. Coaching leadership, authentic leadership and continuous feedback are some of the trends that share a mutual cornerstone – the belief that people both want to and can make the right decisions. So far so good, but how do you make it happen?

Some useful tips on the way

All must know why the organisation exists

If all employees are to take responsibility, make decisions and simultaneously keep on moving in the same direction, then the purpose of the organisation must be clear for everyone. Read more about it in our whitepaper A new way to lead and organise.

Define common ground rules

How we make decisions must be as clear for everyone as the purpose of the organisation. A few and simple ground rules that describe how and when we make different kind of decisions need to be designed and put in place. Challenging the idea that some decisions can only be made by some people in an organisation is a good start. Making decisions after an advice process with two knowledgeable colleagues is a useful tool.

Preach for self-leadership

Getting to a state where more people are active decision-makers and involved in the development of the organisation won’t happen overnight. Managers and employees need to communicate the message and help each other to practice new decision-making processes.

Working continuously with trust and transparency

Transparency is a pillar in self-leadership and self-organisation. All decisions, and the reason for them, have to be transparent for everybody. It is equally important that all my colleagues have trust in me and the decisions I make are based on what I believe is the best for our organisation. The overruling of decisions due to lack of trust is a killer for the development of self-leadership in an organisation.

Acknowledge your colleagues’ differences

These changes may feel entirely natural for some. Making decisions on your own, or after taking advice, will be more or less difficult for the members of the organisation. We behave and act differently in different situations – an understanding that has to exist and be made use of.

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