Self-organising is weird

Self-organising is weird, right?

I mean, it will lead to anarchy, won’t it?

Who’s in charge? Who’s going to make sure things get done? How will any decision get taken?

These are the words of people looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

They look at self-organising and can’t see how it could work in ‘real life’, by which they mean in a conventional organisation.

A hierarchical, command-and-control organisation where everyone has a role to perform.

Where we make plans for what is going to happen over the next 5 years.

Where we only do things that are allowed by the numbers we put in a spreadsheet several months ago.

Where we keep a project going to the bitter end because we’ve committed the resources to it, even though what it produces isn’t needed anymore or won’t do what it was intended to do.

(But it doesn’t really matter as most projects fail anyway)

Where we have to get multiple sign-offs to buy something we need to do our job and the cost of doing the paperwork is more than the cost of the thing itself.

It’s not self-organising that is weird, it’s our organisations.

Self-organising can work in ‘real life’ because it is, literally, the way we live our lives. We self-organise.

Except when we’re at work.

Which is weird, right?

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