New Work – a term originally coined by philosopher Frithjof Bergmann to describe an alternative to the current wage labour system – has become an umbrella term for all things cool and trendy in the business world: from agile teams to flat hierarchies and self-organisation, from digitalisation to focusing on purpose and autonomy.
Obviously, here at Structure & Process we are happy that New Work is becoming more and more popular and “mainstream”. However, this popularity also means that everyone and their mother are trying to jump on the New Work bandwagon, and sometimes the rhetoric around it can seem a little – well… repetitive. I mean, how often can you hear things like “catalysing the emergence of co-creative innovation” without rolling your eyes?!
So, after laughing about this kind of fluffy jargon for the umpteenth time, we decided to offer something constructive to the conversation. And so we proudly present to you… the New Work Buzzword Bingo!
Designed by Lara Listens, it’s meant to be brought along to your next New Work unconference, team retreat, leadership keynote speech, or simply your casual weekly newsletter perusal. First pilot trials show that the resulting fun is directly proportionate to the number of colleagues who jointly participate in the Buzzword Bingo – collectively empowered impact at its finest!
In “Planned obsolescence”, Eugenio Molini speaks about working in such a way, that his client no longer needs his service. He then extends this perspective to his whole career, confronting the fears that come up with it.
The Structure & Process Partner Meeting is one of our favourite formats for joyful, meaningful collaboration.
The main ingredients have remained mostly the same for the past few years: an agile agenda, a dedicated meeting facilitator, clarity on work modes, space and time for personal exchange, the pile of success, good food… – you can find details about all these elements here.
More recently, we have been increasingly inviting external guests, which lead to Open Partner Meetings: In these, we collaborate with clients, colleagues, applicants, friends and other interested (and interesting!) people.
The actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.
The customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing of something.
Repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it. (Source)
We noticed that the practices at Structure & Process can basically be summarised in three categories: personal organization/productivity, community building and governance.
Our personal productivity practices enable us to do good work in the first place: host yourself first, to make yourself available for collaboration.
Then we come together and form a community: We build personal relationships and discover our shared interests as the basis for co-creation. We refine our purpose as an organisation, grounded in community.
And then, to function smoothly as collaborators, we buildgovernance systems/practices that allow us to orchestrate and focus our efforts.
Here is how some of our practices showed up at the last Open Partner Meeting:
“What do I need?” – Our favourite starting point for solving problems and getting stuff done. Turns out that asking this question is a practice in and of itself. The answers become part of the agenda.
We ask “What do I need?” (or, when facilitated: “what do you need?”), not: “what do we need? What should we do?” We make our work personal.
Capture, process, do – whenever a meeting or session leads to actionable items, the habit is to capture those items, process them to a place that makes sense (personal todo list, shared Trello board) and then do it when the time is right. Things don’t get lost, and action happens at the right place and time.
Knowing that you and your partners run on some version of this system builds trust and allows being present in the moment.
Circles – every morning we check in together as one coherent group of individuals. At the end of the day we check out again, sharing whatever moves us at that particular time.
We prioritize relationships and quality of life – during Partner Meetings there’s plenty of time for food, music and good conversation :-)
Whenever we go into planning mode (“what is the next thing to do now?”) there is no consensus building on the agenda point that everyone wants to do, but rather taking the initiative to host a session and then seeing who shows up (open-space-style).
We are very clear on our individual roles and accountabilities, which makes task assignment easy, efficient and relaxed.
One of our Holacratic Governance Meetings took place during this week. Guests could watch and ask questions about the process afterwards.
Practice with us!
The next Open Partner Meeting will happen on October 24-26 2017, again in Dresden. Our guests typically get more clarity on their questions related to organisational development, collaboration, personal path in business/life and generally have a good time… They explore their own projects, or collaborating with Structure & Process. Some have found jobs and love! ;-)
Here are our Links of the Week, curated from several of our partners’ reading lists.
Facilitation & complexity
Chris Corrigan writes about the danger of being attached to an outcome in facilitation or consulting situations. Referring to the story of a recent Netflix series that dealt with this topic, he asks the question:
how do we let go of a pre-conceived outcome so that we can truly learn what’s going on and make decisions based on good information?
Aaron Dignet draws an interesting framework to systemise current approaches and experiments for a more open, fluid business organisation: He takes the head count of the company and their specific risk and puts together a helpful matrix for self-assessment: How to choose a model of self-organization that works for you.
This is an article that is a bit painful to read when you are a person that loves to make plans and strategic decisions (like me). Chris Clark shares a conversation with Frederic Laloux about the steps that would normally follow a successful book like “Reinventing Orgnizations”. But Laloux keeps to his mindset shared in the book, refuses to make big plans and just has one major advice: Follow your personal answer to the question: “What’s next?” Where Is All This Teal Stuff Going? The Future of Reinventing Organizations.
Kilian Kleinschmidt leitete Flüchtlingslager in aller Welt. Im Interview beschreibt er unter anderem, wie Menschen sich in diesen Lagern selbst organisieren, sich ihre individuellen Freiräume und damit ihre Würde selbst schaffen. Das tun sie oft gegen den Widerstand der Organisatoren, die Standardisierung und Kontrolle bevorzugen würden. Heute sagt er: “Es hat bei mir ein bisschen gedauert, bis ich begriffen habe, dass der Mut zum Chaos ein menschlicheres Miteinander ermöglicht.” „Arroganz des Helfens“
John Stepper asks why especially Germans are interested in Working Out Loud. He points out that it doesn’t depend on Nationality: “They share the universal intrinsic motivators of autonomy, mastery, and purpose, and they feel working out loud can give them more control over their work and life while increasing their access to learning and their sense of connectedness.” Why Are So Many German Companies Interested In Working Out Loud?
Die Bahn als innovatives Unternehmen? Im so genannten d.lab wird seit April kräftig experimentiert und entwickelt, um eine “Verbesserung des Kundenerlebnisses” herbeizuführen. Geschäftsführererin Kerstin Hartmann erklärt im Interview genauer, wie das gehen soll: Im Bahn-Labor der innovativen Ideen.
In der Ideenschmiede kann man übrigens mitmachen, vielleicht die Chance, gelegentlichen Bahnfrust in “konstruktive Bahnen” zu lenken?
A chef reflects on being a good leader for his team and what is needed for that. In a nutshell: Be the best, work the hardest, know your team. Read all of his 8 points to get the full picture: 8 Things That Actually Make You a Good Chef.
Here comes a list with 8 other points. The author is pointing out how conventional meeting settings are wasting time and money, while people actually want to network, create and develop: How to Waste $270.000/h in 8 Easy Steps.
7 is a nice number, as well. So, here are 7 recommendations how to refactor away organizational debt after the start-up phase in a company. The author argues that it is crucial to be aware of that debt and the need to repay it. Not taking care of it will lead to a loss of the valuable and necessary employees that built the company: Organizational Debt is like Technical debt – but worse.
Life is a constant change. James Altucher wants us to embrace that change and transform this energy into a happy and satisfying life. In his article he answers more than 50 questions around reinventing yourself on a daily basis. One of them: Read a lot of books.
Zeit Online stellt vier Initiativen aus der Start-up Szene vor, die sich aktiv für die Verbesserung der Lebenslage geflüchteter Menschen engagieren: Von Computerkursen über Jobs bis hin zu besseren Unterkünften. Start-ups für Flüchtlinge.