Kill the Hierarchy! Principles Management

In this post in the series “Kill the Hierarchy” I explore how a flatter organisational structure requires principles management or decision–making guardrails.

Guardrails on a road stop drivers ending up in dangerous areas and they are often placed in the most problematic areas where it is easy to do the wrong thing.

Just as guardrails help make drivers safe and keep them on the road, they can also do that for an organisation. 

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Agility - Five Things It Isn't - The Video

This week I joined some eminent colleagues the ITSM Crowd to discuss the Agility article that had gone crazy on LinkedIn.

At the time of writing the article had 3.736 views, 124 reshares, 563 likes and 61 comments. You can read it, along with the comments, here.

Watch The ITSM Crowed, hosted by Claire Agutter.

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It's With The Editor!

My second book should be published before the end of the year. Titled “Game On! Tactics to Win When Change is Constant” it uses a soccer analogy to describe how individuals and organisations can not only survive but thrive in a world of volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous change.

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Karen FerrisComment
Kill the Hierarchy! Information Accessible

Accessible information and knowledge is a key factor in productivity, competitiveness, employee engagement and growth. It is not enough to make information available; it needs to be accessible – and accessible by all.

In a flat organisation, knowledge and information flows freely and employees are enabled make decisions and drive change as they have relevant knowledge and information available to them.

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Built on ITIL: digital transformation is an organizational challenge

I recently wrote an article for AXELOS about digital transformation..

“Like conducting heart surgery, leaders need to open up and look inside their organizations to see how they are going to help their workforce innovate, experiment and make decisions.

Though the traditional “command and control” structure won’t work for today’s organizational transformation challenges, neither will sending people on an Agile course alone.”

Read more.

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Kill the Hierarchy! - High Trust

This post in the series “Kill the Hierarchy” I explore how a flatter organisational structure requires an environment of high trust and mutual respect. 

Without trust, things just wont get done as fast as they are needed. If we are removing unnecessary managerial layers we have to trust employees to do the right thing. Employees have to trust their leadership to do the right thing. Establishing trust is also a prerequisite to flattening the hierarchy in the first place. 

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Karen FerrisComment
Kill the Hierarchy! - Autonomy

I love Tracy Maylett’s description of an organisation without employee autonomy. Writing for Entrepreneur, he says:

“Without it your workforce may become the “land of the working dead,” roaming endlessly in zombie-like fashion, waiting to be told what to do next.  Not an enjoyable workplace for employees nor managers, by any stretch”.

Employee autonomy is about giving employees the right to do the work they want, how they want and when they want.

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Constant Change. Game On!

In a world of constant change, there are only three roles we need in order to create a resilient workforce - managers, coaches and players. A winning team that says "Game On!"

Watch this animation to find out more.

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Karen FerrisComment
Kill the Hierarchy! - Everyone Leads

When organisations nurture leadership on an organisation-wide level, the entire organisation and every employee will prosper and grow.

Everyone has a significant contribution to make and their voices need to be heard.

More over, they need to be able to challenge the status quo, make decisions, initiate and drive change and be seen as leaders in their own right.

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Karen FerrisComment
Kill the Hierarchy! - High Collaboration

In a hierarchical organisation, employees tend not to be engaged or committed to the work they do. There is limited collaboration.

More and more organisations are recognising that their structure is hampering effective collaboration. Its hierarchical and siloed structure obstructs cross-functional working, collective problem solving and decision-making located where best suited, and effective communication to support dynamic collaboration.

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Karen FerrisComment
Kill the Hierarchy! - Employee High Influence

For an organisation to survive and thrive in a world of constant and uncertain change, the organisation has to be one in which leadership is important, but MORE important is a collaborative workplace in which transparency and creative freedom reign over hierarchical boundaries. Organisations need to give employees increased influence which is enabled via a flat or flatter organisational structure.

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Karen FerrisComment
Kill the Hierarchy! - Fast to Change Direction

Flatter structures work well for organisations that need to innovate and respond quickly in a rapidly changing environment.

Large organisations with traditional hierarchies and a command and control management approach have to flatten the hierarchy and operate more like a smaller organisation unless they want to be adversely disrupted.

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Need a little help?

Is your organisational struggling to adapt to a world in which constant change is the new norm?

Is your organizational change management approach aligned to rapid, continuous and iterative change?

No? It can be.

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Karen FerrisComment
Kill the Hierarchy! - De-Label

In traditional hierarchical organisations, titles are very important. They are a sign of past performance, power and prestige.

Some organisations that are genuinely flat have done away with roles and titles altogether!

At Morning Star everyone is known as a “Colleague”.

At W.L. Gore everyone is known as an “Associate”.

At Zappos everyone is known as a “Partner”.

But there are various degrees of de-labelling.

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