We've all heard of giving employees more autonomy. We know that we need to help them achieve mastery and help them develop their own sense of purpose. We want employees to be empowered to make good decisions on their own. Few seem to argue with this.
But when I mention the idea of "almost no leadership hierarchy" and "everyone leads," I usually receive a look of shock, awe and bewilderment. To most people, that sounds like chaos.
As a strategic planning facilitator, I spend a great deal of my time helping organizations create functional charts that clearly delineate a leader for each function. For many years I have believed this to be an effective way for organizations to operate. So this idea that "everyone leads" is rocking my world, too.
I want to know more about pure self-directed teams that have almost no leadership hierarchy. Does it really work, and is it only for tech companies like Google? This page will be an ongoing collection of information and thoughts on the topic.
BOOKS that DISCUSS SELF-DIRECTED TEAMS
Pink, D. (2009). Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Fisher, K. (2000). Leading self-directed work teams. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Brown, J. and Isaacs, D. (2005). The world cafe: shaping our futures through conversations that matter. San Franciso, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE IMPLEMENTED THE SELF-DIRECTED TEAM APPROACH
Zappos, under the leadership of Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay)
A blog article that questions the Zappos non-hierarchy method:
Semco, under the leadership of Ricardo Semler
An interesting blog article about Semco:
W.L. Gore & Associates, under the leadership of Bill Gore
An interesting blog article about lattice hierarchy:
3M, under the leadership of William McKnight in the 1930s and 1940s
Herman Miller, iconic American furniture
George Nelson's Five Tenants that Lead to Great Design:
METHODS for ENCOURAGING a SELF-DIRECTED CULTURE
Open Space Technology (OST)