Can you imagine a working place without hierarchy, bosses, chain-of-command? If you are, it is possible that an image of havoc and chaos came to your mind with everyone running around and doing their thing without anyone telling them what to do, how to do it and resulting in a complete mess, and therefore bound to become an epic fail. Is it though? software developers, including Martin Fowler, Jim Highsmith, Jon Kern, Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, and Bob Martin, to mention a few might disagree with you, when in 2001 they came up with the Agile Manifesto, on how to smoothly run a software development team and company, and later applied it to other workplaces, becoming an extremely trendy and versatile system currently used, to mention a few, by Google and Netflix.
We are looking at an organisational structure that allows massive flexibility and competent in quick answers and reactions to changes in the market, which operates without the classic hierarchy pyramid structure that we are so used to since before the Industrial Revolution. Imagine that! The core ingredients here are : Open Communication, Customer Centred, Fast Cycles and Teams able to work in autonomy, which allows flexibility and therefore requires little time to adapt to circumstances. One thing is for sure, that this does not happen overnight, there it needs work, effort and willingness to transform the mindset, starting with: Feeling the feelings – speak the words – think the thoughts of the customers and act accordingly as if you and your customers are one community for each other’s benefit; then to perceive the working place and operational space as a network of teams with clear mandate and purpose; regarding purpose this needs to be jointly agreed and shared openly with all workers and collaborators with clarity, transparency and inclusive processes that allow freedom of expression, sharing, understanding and criticism; That is very important to establish a culture of open communication both internally and externally; which will help with time to be able to learn fast, as well as to take fast and efficient decisions.
Which means you are investing in your workers, transparently communicate with them, and support ongoing learning and try out new things, and will see a decision-making empowering culture arise, and the benefit of all that is to have a structure competent in fast responses to market conditions, loyalty and belongingness to a shared purpose, and a fertile ground to experiment and try out.
So it could well be that this is the structure for you, what would you need, and what does it take, for you to try this out?