David Martí talks about Frederic Laloux's book, 'Reinventing organizations' and how organizations that base their model on just three basic principles: self-responsibility, plenitude and an evolutionary purpose, are possible.
Some say it’s a book on management, one of the most relevant in the last decade. (“The most important and inspiring business book I’ve ever read” Tony Schwartz. The New York Times.) In my opinion, in the chronicle of 12 real cases: 12 organizations from different professional sectors, in different countries, and different in size that, without knowing each other, reached the same conclusion on the model they could come up with to create sustainable organizations that generate value, both in economic terms and happiness among the people working in them.
This approach led to my interest in seeing this book published in Spanish, as well as the publication of an illustrated guidebook later on: on the one hand, I wanted to be able to share this happy news with my entourage, and also help spreading the message in our country, from the firm conviction that, here too, we are able to create these organizational models.
So, what’s it about? Organizations that base their model on just three basic principles: self-responsibility, plenitude and an evolutionary purpose.
What does this mean in concrete terms?
Self-management: there are no hierarchies, no fixed job post descriptions, no central services (only in the mediation role, to facilitate teams and for a coach); teams are self-assessed, since they are the ones participating in the selection processes for new members.
Plenitude: there are many concrete practices to make space for feminine energy, spirituality, emotions, silence, a personal care of the physical spaces, with no privileges or distinctions by position, putting in place many practices of the Non-violent Communication methodology.
Evolutionary purpose: organizations without strategic plans or closed budgets by department, no processes of chance because they are constantly evolving and attentive to what should be done tomorrow, because they perceive themselves as a living organism in constant evolution.
These are the fundamental pillars of the organizations discussed in the book. Of course, each of them have visionary leaders, centred in facilitating order more than giving orders, who develop their activity not out of fear but out of hope. What do I mean by this? That these leaders sustain some symbolic limits, time and space for the members of the organization to put in practice their professional self-management and to develop fully. They are present with an attentive observation, a smile and respect. They exert control, but from a totally different position; without the weight of gravity; without threats in case of a possible error; going about all that is yet to be resolved with a joyful ignorance; listening to the change that is unfolding within themselves, and enjoying each and every vital learning.
Since the book was published, I have met many people involved in third-sector organizations who have taken an interest in this model. Perhaps because in many of these organizations there is a stark contrast between their original purpose and their internal functioning model. I don’t find this contrast surprising, because we all grew up and were taught other different organizational paradigms.
Although Frédéric Laloux insists on the fact that there is no fixed recipe to transform an organization, and that each of them will have to find their own evolutionary pathway, this chronicle of how others did it, I believe, is a reference for those wishing to embark on a similar process.