Shattering the stuffy hierarchy


Driving human initiative and offering everybody the opportunity to contribute on a day-to-day basis. Removing bureaucracy and management bottlenecks to uncover and liberate creativity at all levels in an organization. Encouraging people to make smarts decisions and give everybody the opportunity to flourish. That sounds great, right?

Self-organization is a very powerful way of working together and getting things done. It helps to build an environment in which people can work to their natural best. Why is this so important? This question can be approached from two completely different angles:

An organizational point of view
Modern businesses face an increasing complexity every day. If you drive human initiative, everybody can contribute passionately to the challenges you face and capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead. What we need now more than ever are environments that stimulate the necessary adaptivity and responsiveness to maximize performance and outrun change.

The human perspective.
Deep down, all people want work to have meaning, importance, and significance. It’s no fun going to a job where you feel like your existence there has little to no impact. Everyone is eager to make their voice being heard and to make a difference. All we need are structures that encourage human initiative and make it possible to make a significant contribution to a higher cause.

Becoming self-organized, where to start?

Working in a self-organizing way is not ‘just’ anyone’s cup of tea. Using our Humanizing Work framework, helps you to investigate and get a better understanding of the process and the ingredients needed to implement this successfully. This is the first step in designing integrated strategies and change trajectories that have a deep and lasting impact.

#1 Culture

Self-organization starts at the heart, with identifying your unique DNA. Who do you want to be and what do you want to accomplish? Why do you want to become more self-organized? What is that shared passion to which everyone needs to be committed? And what are the related principles and values you are always prepared to fight for?

#2 Structure

The next step is to embed your values, this unique people-oriented DNA, into the structure of your organizational design. What practices, processes and procedures are needed to support you in the self-organizing path you want to take? What adjustments do you have to made? The three major topics to deal with are:

• Roles, tasks, and responsibilities.
• Distributed decision making.
• Conflict resolution.

Clear structures are the boundaries and the necessary precondition to get successfully rid of the traditional hierarchy and to make it possible to play the new rules of the game.

#3 Mindset

Identifying your basic principles and setting up new structures, is in many ways the easiest step in the transition to self-organization. Self-organization is about a different way of working, a different way of thinking. This requires a different mindset. Developing this mindset by training the essential skills and practices of being self-organized, is by far the most intensive and biggest challenge you have to face.

#4 Behaviour

Finally, you need to put what you have learned into practice. Guiding your people and their teams during their daily activities is an important final step in making self-organization a success. This primarily involves facilitating teams and coaching people to deal with the new dynamics.

Starting with self-organization is exciting and challenging for people, at all levels within your organization. It is certainly not an easy process, but it is achievable and a great asset when properly implemented and embraced! It’s a great tool to drive human initiative and to become more responsive and adaptive. But above all it will help you to continuously improve your organization.

Why? Because when the mindset is changing, nothing will be taken for granted anymore. Step by step, you will start questioning all existing strategies, practices, processes and procedures; giving them a new meaning. Isn’t that exciting!