There is a lot of talk about empowerment in business. To bring into the condition of power. Empowering people.
Nice, better than nothing…but what if we shifted from empowerment, to giving people power?
If we removed hierarchy and operated businesses as a living organism? You know, like nature has done for a few billion years?
Trust would have to be a foundational organisational value. Not trust as a platitude, but real trust.
There would need to be a few conditions…and it is these conditions that generally scare the beejesus out of the Board and leadership team.
The executive team would kind of no longer exist. The management teams job would be specifically to support the success of the people in the company…those people who now have the power.
All data must be available. To everyone. Because if it isn’t, then you will get the in group and the out group and a new form of hierarchy would emerge. Besides, how can someone have the power to make decisions on the factory floor if they do not have all the information?
If there was a decision making process in place…if people have to seek counsel from everyone who is likely to be affected by the decision, before they acted on the decision, and if information access was available to all, and if you had a culture of trust and respect…this just might work.
Indeed it does work, and has been proven to work in many organisations around the world. Some have worked this way for 20 to 30 years…
Check out Re-inventing Organisations, Frederic Laloux’s great book, for more.