Here are some links for those aiming to dig deeper into all the things that make up facets of managing Liberated Companies.
Advanced Management Models
I did a post comparing some major management models: What kind of Organization do modern Companies aspire to be?. The graphic below gives some orientation.
Sociocracy for All: A well-maintained site of Sociocracy resources.
Reinventing Organizations wiki: Provides details into the inner working of Management in the Digital Age, based on Frederic Laloux Holacracy model.
Lean Startup Movement: The basic principle of companies going digital no matter which sector they are in can be found in. Eric Rees, who is credited with being the first one write about this subject in a holistic, insightful manner has curated a book series on this topic. I especially suggest reading the “Lean Startup” and “Lean Enterprise”.
Google Re:work: A site promoting Googles management practices. The major focus is on HR, but there is some advice on team management, too.
Reimagining the Office: An excellent New York time article series of 2016 explaining why and how we need to change the way we run companies.
Purposeful Organizations: Tom Nixon came up with this useful Canvas to sketch out the high-level pillar of his vision of self-managed organizations. See also his post “3 steps for developing purposeful organizations“. Tom is currently working on “Maptio” – an App for purposeful organizations.
The Agile Fluency Model: A 4 stage model for integrating Agile practices in companies. Made by Agile practitioners.
Liberated Management Practices
Here is a compendium of Work hacks, Agile Work-outs or just ordinary management practices. There are no “normed” practices, but there is a host of good ideas coming out of the Agile, Lean Start-up, Self-Management etc. Movements. The list is not comprehensive and will never be.
124ALL – a universal meeting structure to discuss things in an engaging manner
Role Keeper – an exercise to increase the quality of meetings.
TRIZ – a meeting structure to envision a different way of working
BarCamp – an energizing, self-organized multi-session meeting structure
Impromptu Networking – a fast-paced energizing opener for meetings, where participants do not know each other
Resistance Reduction Votes– a method to choose between alternatives that bridge the gap between decision and execution
Daily Updates – a daily reflection and message to get you started and aligned with others
Other Sources for Practices
Management 3.0 Resources: Easy to use, well-prepared exercises
Agile Practices Subway Map: A clickable subway map of Agile Practices provided by the Agile Alliance Organisation.
List of Agile Resources: A useful open table of Agile Resources for those willing to invest time in exploration.
Atlassian Team Playbook: Great agile work-outs from a great, liberated company that walks the talk and practices those agile things, that its products (e.g., Jira, Confluence, and Trello) support. Look at the “Plays” section for a list of some work-outs.
Atlassian Agile Coach: A guide to Agile development. Has some overlap with the “Playbook.”
Business Model Canvas: A useful graphical format and method to capture the essence of a business model on one page. It is a commercial website, but basic templates are for download for free.
The Toyota Kata Web-site: A resource-rich Website on the KATA way of organizational learning and continual improvement. Maintained by Mike Rother, a real expert on the matter.
Play14: Games that allow people to change perspectives, bond and arrive at more creative solutions.
Gamestorming: Agile Games for all kind of team building purposes. Based on teh Book “Gamestorming”.
Kanban by Giulio Rogerro: An excellent Slideshare on how to work with KANBAN.
Apps useful for Liberated Companies
Technology is here to help.
Maptio – an App for purposeful organizations (under construction)
Glassfrog – an App supporting Holacracy with its nested, overlapping teams and lots of floating roles. The incumbent app that is challenged by Holaspirit.
Holaspirit – an App supporting Self-Managed Organizations, not just those running under Holacracy.
Perdoo: An App for running the management practice of Objective Key Results (OKR).
Trello: The leading KANBAN app.
Effective Experiments: I think that it is quite astonishing that with all this talk about experimenting there are so few well-known apps that are specialized in supporting experimenting. Well, here is one. An add-in- to Trello
Jira: The leading collaborative Agile Tracking app. A Swiss army knife not just for software companies.
Slack: “Email with a memory” or a “Cross-over of email, instant messaging and whiteboards.” Slack is probably the most important App for Agile teams there is to this date
Zoom: The non-plus ultra in Web COnferencing. Forget Skype or Webex.
Toogl: An App to track time. Sounds boring? What about if that one actually increases your personal productivity by helping you to limit interruptions to deep work. Timekeeping that actually works – or works better than any other approach I have seen so far.
Mentimeter: Anonimous, real-time voting or surveying via the smartphone. Great for making large meetings more interactive.
BlogchainHub.Net: A source of info about all things “blockchain” – the technology that might re-democratize the Internet and/or flatten hierarchies even more – in the future.
Object-Oriented Design: A architectural approach to Designing Software. Very technical stuff, but in the digital business, a lot of Techie Ideas fertile business thinking about organizations. Plus: There is an ever larger dependency between the structure of an organization and the architecture of a software. So as so often: Combining two formerly separate branches of research advances both areas immensely.
Classical Management Stuff
Classic, hierarchical management is not dead. Liberated companies usually employ hierarchical management. There are only very few companies running pure Self-Management regimes. Most companies rely on a manager (at any level) holding the space for some more decentralization of authority and some more local initiative to occur.
Classical Management Frameworks
Manager Tools: A best practice framework for the classical management practitioner. Hundreds of useful and podcasts for the mid-level manager. As a manager, you really should know your “Trinity of Management” by heart: One on Ones, Delegation, Feedback
Classic Business Strategy Frameworks
Porter’s five forces of competition: A classic (the 1980’s) Model to model the position a company vs. it’s competitors. Very useful to challenge established thinking inside a company.
McKinsey’s 7S Model: A classic (the 1980’s) Model to dissect a company in seven different parts. Often, simplified versions are being used for pragmatic reasons, as these are usually good enough for organizational analysis. A favorite version in consulting work is using just 4 dimensions: People, Organization, Processes, and Systems.
Business Process Reengineering: A 1990’s model of re-inventing companies from the ground up. Processes took a central position. If business objectives could be tied to business processes and these processes be optimized, dramatic improvements in business performance will follow. With business process re-engineering “process” thinking really took off, and process mapping, etc. and similar techniques are still today a dominant train of thought in any organization.
Transaction Cost Theory: An economic theory that explains economic activity or inactivity based on the costs of exchanges of goods and services. Invented in 1937 by Noble Prize Winner Ronald Coase and further developed by yet another Noble Prize Winner Oliver E. Williamson in the 1980’s. It is an early framework which has a unique place in economic theories, as it was assuming bounded rationality of decision makers, not the usual (neoclassical) key assumption of hyper-rationality. A key element is that it explains how decisions about economic transactions under uncertainty are made – one key insight for the ever-changing nature of the digital revolution.
Behavioral Economics: A blend of an economical and psychological set of theories which is pretty much en vogue these days, as it replaces the assumed rational behavior with empirically observed behavior. Experiments are made and empirically analyzed how human actors actually perform in a given situation. This relatively modern theory is very important, as one of the five drivers of Digitalization is customer centricity. By use of behavioral economics the actions of a customer can be much better understood today than ever. A spring of knowledge that can be utilized to mutual benefits for customer and companies.
Cognitive Biases: All those things that systematically distort human decision making. Pioneered by Nobel Prize Winners Daniel Hahnemann and Amos Tversky, understanding biases is a must to devise processes that enable organizations to make sense of data, to experiment and improve.
Principal-Agent problem: A central problem of our time – and a roadblock to the profound cultural shift towards digitalization. Managers are agents, taking care of the capital of shareholders, of the well being of employees, etc. They should act as the interests of their principals, the shareholders or even the employees. But they have their own interests. In a world of asymmetric information with too much capital around, managers use the insider information available exclusively to them to exploit shareholders and employees alike. This is an important reason for today’s increasing gap between managerial and workers income. No, it is not left-wing propaganda, it is established economic theory.
Classic Change Management Basics
There is much much more to say about this topic, but I leave it here at
Business Capability: A business capability is everything a company needs to a certain outcome. It encompasses resources, time, expenditure. A business capability describes what a company is able to achieve in a certain area (say next day replenishment to stores). In contrast to a process, which specifies how a company comes up with a certain result.
For setting the targets of a digital transformation, it is much more helpful to define capabilities (i.e., expected outcomes) than processes (how outcomes are produced).
Programs: A group of interrelated projects is usually bundled into a program, that coordinates targets, resources, budget and validates progress against plan. So it is really nothing more than a higher node in the classical change portfolio of a company. The smallest organization form for change involving a group of persons is a project, many projects can be grouped into a program, and all programs together are equal to the total change agenda of a company.
Many programs are coordinated change efforts using Mc Kinsey’s 7 S Model (see above) to analytically break down the needed changes into different dimensions, e.g. People, Process, Systems. The problem is program is that they are top-down driven, analytical conjured creatures of the rational mind. They usually fail to capture hearts and minds.
Setting the seed for initiatives to grown from the bottom-up is usually a more promising idea.
Projects: “A set of coordinated activities to change something from status A to status B given a time, a budget and a resource constraint.” A Project is a classical way to approach change in an organization. There is a line organization which takes care of day to day recurring tasks and a parallel project organization.
Projects are hard to master for line organizations and traditional project management practices are generally not good enough for many aspects of digitalization.
Business Theory Compendiums
Business Strategy – Wikipedia theme series. Not all-encompassing, but a nice collection of interlinked wiki sites on the theme.
Value-Based Management – a privately maintained for profit source of short descriptions of management models. An entertaining browse and good for new ideas of a quick look-up.