114: Five Criteria for Regenerative Work Design

Podcast Show Notes:  #114

Carol’s Lesson: A framework for regenerative work designs typically consists of five criteria.

Five Criteria

  1. Everyone in the organization is connected, directly, to real customers and consumers to be able to initiate endeavors for their customer’s benefit, including evolve their business/lives.
  2. Work is tied to overarching strategy of the business and what the business is moving toward, to make it non-displaceable in its marketplace. Everyone is working on current projects, while designing and evolving what the work is becoming.
  3. Works to develop innate human capabilities that are rarely part of what business and organizational work systems consider themselves responsible for.
  4. Work requires people to pursue a better working society, particularly democracy, with how people are developed and engaged to think and work.
  5. People are responsible in their work to consider how to evolve potential for wealth and well-being (viability, evolution of contribution) for all stakeholders to the business (buyers and users, co-creators, including supplies and employees, Earth, communities, and investors). Not just complete tasks and make customers happy.

Holacracy Structure

Holacracy has four structures used to organize work that explain how work is designed.

    1. Circles connect workers to one another without interference from outside supervision, based on defined work that existed before the change. These are individuals who form circles as change is called for and disband when achieved. One persona can be in many circles and be engaged in various coordination events as has been pointed out by many examination holacracy. They organize around functions and divide roles, sometimes voting on who has which accountability.
    2. A Cabal, is a goal-oriented group that forms organically. Any individual can initiate a cabal that people can join because they want to be part of it. This is similar to a project team when a new exciting offer is on order, People can join if it calls to them. “They vote with their feet” is the rallying cry. It has the flavor of what WR Gore used but for Gore there is a well-defined strategy and very clear markets defined for focus.
    3. Roles are spread across the circle organization. People may play multiple roles since they can be in several circles. And change roles as the need arises.
    4. Lead Links

 

The Regenerative Business— Three Soft Structures

Rather than supervisors and managers, The Regenerative Business proposes using three nested teams (a core team, market field teams organized around customers or markets, and operating or function teams for carrying out the work). This approach allows individuals to not just be on the team, but to be fully invested in delivering the work of the strategy and the teams.

  1. The Core Team reflects the organization as whole (all functions, levels etc.).
    • Strategic thinking based on their job, and ensure the non-displaceability of the business.
  2. In Market Field Teams everyone is a part of one, by choice, and they have been responsible for particular markets with a set of customers or consumers.
    • Think about how the strategy applies to that market node (not segment since it is based on shared values, not demographic segmentation).
    • Track the industry or lives of their market, and develop new innovations for their market.
  3. Operating or function teams work as a whole to develops initiatives for the customer or stakeholder to gain support.
    • Some pursuits are years long and require additional education or resources from the organization.

Comparisons

  1. Stem from a different metaphor
    • Holacracy is based on the metaphor that an organization is a computer operating system i.e. (software development) with applications added on to manage new needs.
    • The Regenerative system is based on living systems which build capability to work organically for the good of the entire system, including the industry, Earth, and society.
      • Constantly evolving
  2. Holacracy does not target evolving customer needs
    • Assumes the same structure and process can be done with every customer
    • No clear definition of how to design for customer’s lives.
  3. Holacracy focuses on taking authority away rather than progressing the business.
    • Focus on the work itself versus team or individual contribution
  4. Strategy is done by a special strategy group and carried out as individuals in holacracy versus the embedding of strategy as everyone’s work in the Market Field Teams in a Regenerative Business.

 

Business Second Opinion Podcast_ Listen to the podcast #114 for more details on these notes. Available where you listen to podcasts including itunes, Audio Boom, Stitcher.

And read more blogs on www.BusinessSecondOpinion.com. Join the newsletter and get a background paper. Follow us on Twitter @businesssecondopinion. Suggest topics and HBR articles on which you want Carol’s Second Opinion.   And finally, pick up a copy of The Regenerative Business, by Carol Sanford, with much more about how to build a regenerative work design. at www.carolsanford.com.

 

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