Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Jim suggested reading "The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" . The book claims that Self-organization is a result of motivation. A couple of important criteria are considered:

Back in 1945, 3M pioneered the idea of giving free time to engineers. As a consequence, 3M obtained a bunch of innovative products including the "Post-It" stickers. 3M credo is "hire good people and leave them alone". They introduced the idea of giving free 15% time per week to each employeer but maintain the IP of the resulting inventions. Then, this approach has been championed by Google.

Companies such as BestBuy adopted a Result Oriented Working Enviroment (ROWE), where suprisingly enough there is no Office Time at all. Everyone can self-schedule his time and can work from home when she decides that this is appropriate.

My opinion: Self-Organizing or Hierarchical?
In my opinion, there are several key advantages for self-organization:
  1. "Self-correcting and localizing what is wrong": mistakes or bad decisions(™), either technical or management related, are self-corrected by peers via intense discussions. In this sense, anything inherently "wrong" is confined into a local state and the system is agile.
  2. "Selft-Organizing means Dynamic Evolution of the Hierarchy (Deh!), not Chaotic": Let's change a classical wrong assumption. A self-organizing system is not chaotic. A self-organizing system is one where a hierarchy is naturally emergining due to merits and competencies. In other words, the hierarchy is dynamically changing according to different needs that will change over the time. "If I am you boos, this is not meaning that I am more expert than you" (™)
On the other hand, a static hierarchical model with decisions taken top down with no self-corrections are bad since they percolate good and bad decisions by using the same channels and there is no effective way to discriminate between them.

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