Curiosity and excitement about horizontal organizations coexist with concerns and cynicism. Most of today’s work force is disengaged and the current ways of working won’t be able to take us into our future. Even if we know all this, we still struggle to figure out what to do come Monday morning.
For over 10 years I have been using our company, Percolab, as a lab of how an organization can function. With clients, colleagues and international friends, we try things out and sense make, in a never ending learning process. In 2016 I began offering workshops on the topic: Demystifying Self-Management. They helped people connect with the notion and explore some basic elements. In 2017, at SXSW in the USA, with Edwin Jansen, we gave a panel on Growing a Company without Bosses. It was a provocation and we were stunned by the response.
Weeks later I signed a book contract with my favorite publisher, Berrett-Koehler: Going Horizontal: Creating a Non-hierarchical Organization, One Practice at a Time. It is a practical book. It builds on the fabulous work in the field of new ways of working, such as Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations. Going Horizontal is all about the practice. It offers seven domains of practice to help anchor new habits and mindset as they develop. But Going Horizontal is more than a book, it is also a community and a series of practical trainings.
Who shows up at a Going Horizontal training?
In Antwerp, Belgium, six countries were in the room. Some people had specific questions while others wanted to make sense of their own experimentations. In Quebec City, Canada, workers from a pulp and paper factory joined Lawyers without Borders, an IT professional (recovering from a less than satisfactory foray into self-management), and consultants and students. Going Horizontal connects across domains and job titles.
A deep dive in Spain
The next stop is in Spain the 11-14th October, 2018 for a four day residential training in a castle in the middle of a 200 hectare forest outside of Barcelona. Beyond the enchanting venue, will be a unique learning experience. This training is offered by a powerful international team:
The day to day challenges of participants will be the basis of the program. The seven domains of practice of the Going Horizontal framework will help to grow our strengths and overcome our blind spots. Together we are exploring the new rich and yet unexplored territory of all that Going Horizontal can be. Via each training the community grows as participants can become champions of horizontal practices in their local context.
If this speaks to you, please join us in Spain! If you know someone who should be there, please let them know.
Either way you can pre-order the book Going Horizontal now via Amazon.
If you would like to collaborate to offer a Going Horizontal training or virtual book club in your area, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The future is in business as commons. In a world where business models are changing and even the traditional notion of work has lost its fit with current paradigms, Samantha Slade an innovator and pioneer in organizational and business models will present a new organization mindset focused on compensation as conversation, co-governance and sharing and collaboration.
Samantha is driven by the transition to future paradigms. With a background in anthropology, she pioneers novel organizational models and practices. Ten years ago she co-founded two businesses – Percolab, an international co-creation and co-design company and Ecto a co-working cooperative in her home city Montreal, Canada. Samantha works with governments, startups, and professional associations and foundations to tackle their complex challenges. She also co-creates commons-based collective impact initiatives and platforms. Engaged in the commons and social innovation movements, Samantha is currently writing a book – Going Horizontal – Creating a Non-hierarchical Organization, One Practice at a Time (to be released in October 2018 with Berrett-Koehler Publishers). Samantha believes that organizations can be a microcosm of the world we want to live in.
If you don’t know about Connectle yet, you should! It is an ecosystem for change-agents to explore and implement new ways of working.
They host international live streamed conversations on the future of work and share the videos thereafter. Percolab was recently invited to join a conversation on the hot topic of Continuous Learning.
Social Entrepreneur Phoebe Tickell hosted the conversation with Samantha Slade (Percolab) Harold Jarche (JarcheConsulting) Susan Basterfield (Enspiral) and Sabrina Bouraoui (Shades of Gray).
Thanks to Mara Tolja for making it all happen and the great videos.
Join in the upcoming live streamed conversations and check out the entire video collection: Connectle
Today, Samantha Slade walks onto the TEDx stage in Geneva to present her talk: “Business as a commons“.
#businessascommons #futureofwork #TEDxGeneva
Making decisions together does not have to be long and painful. The realm of “consent based decision making” is not well known even though it can help organisations make decisions collectively efficiently and wisely. We use this at Percolab, a consultancy company supporting social innovation and collaboration, based in Canada and France.
We developed Generative Decision Making Process, a consent based decision making process built on the Integrated decision making method of Holacracy with the culture and practice of Art of Hosting. We use it every week at Percolab. Our record is 19 strategic decisions in one hour!
The process requires a host, ideally, the host rotates from person to person. At Percolab everyone can run this type of decision making and we rotate organically depending on the day.
When first developing the practice it can be helpful for an organisation to invite in an external host for an initiation or supportive coaching to develop the internal skills.
Is the time ripe for the decision? Is the context clear? Is there information or data that needs to be gathered? Could an open conversation help develop the ripeness?
Hosting tips: You might need to offer the group one or two open conversation time slots to get to this point (ex. I am going to put the timer on for 10 minutes while you explore the topic in question). Offer supplementary time slots as necessary. You might need to conclude that the decision is not ripe, and this is ok. Listen in deeply and when you sense that there is a possible proposal in the air, the time is ripe. Invite the group to head into the next step.
Invite the group — would someone like to make an initial proposal? This will help the group move forward into action and there will be lots of opportunities to fine tune the proposal together.
Hosting tips: Help the proposer name a proposal in ideally one single sentence. Avoid the proposal spreading into multiple proposals. Ensure that the proposal is written for all to see (separate from the proposer) and repeat it out loud.
The group has the opportunity to voice questions to the proposer. The proposer has two options to answer — i) Provides the answer or ii) Says « Not specified » if the answer is unknown.
Hosting tips: If someone is speaking without a question (ie. reaction) remind him that is question period. Ensure that all questions are directed at the proposer and no one else intervenes. Avoid letting the proposer speak about anything further than the direct answer(keep it tight). Sense into when the clarification period is about to finish (ie. people are ready to react).
It is mandatory that each person (minus the proposer) expresses to the group their reaction to the proposal; the different voices and perspectives of all need to be heard. The proposer listens deeply and take notes. Afterwards the proposer will craft a new version of the proposal.
Hosting tips: Begin with the person who has the most reactive emotion and then go around, until everyone has shared their reaction. Make sure that the reaction is not about the proposer, but about the proposal itself — correct if necessary.
The proposer formulates a new version of the proposal in light of all that has been spoken. The host ensures that it is written and visible to all and reads it out loud.
Hosting tips: If you feel that the proposer might want to stay with the same proposal, remind her that she can. If you sense that the proposer needs support in formulating the second version, remind her that it is possible to ask for help — however do not rush into saying this.
An objection needs to express a risk or a backward movement for the organisation/initiative. All objections are expressed to the host who then decides if the objection is valid or not. If it is valid, then the proposer needs to integrate it into a new version of the proposal. (Then the objection round is repeated).
Hosting tips:Sometimes people might express personal concerns that are not in fact organisational risks. This needs to be differentiated. If it is fuzzy you may ask for help to the group. This is the hardest part of the process for the host.
Everyone visually confirms I can live with this decision by raising their thumb. This is a way of allowing all to see that everyone is fully onboard with this decision. If there is something that has not been spoken that needs to be it will show up because a person will be unable to raise his thumb. This can happen when (i) someone is struggling to find words to put on an idea that is important to them or (ii) someone is disengaging in the process (holding on to the possibility to question the decision in the hallway thereafter). Either way it will need to be addressed and the group needs to return to the part of the process that was not fully addressed.
Note: It is good to have visual confirmation as a cultural cue with which the process may be fast tracked. Someone makes a proposal and you can just do a quick check in to see right away if everyone could live with it.
Hosting tips: This is not a decision council and it is not an opportunity to lower thumbs and restart a process. It is simply a visual confirmation. If the process has run smoothly all thumbs should be raised. If someone is struggling to find voice for an objection kindly support the person and let them know that all information is important.
This sums up the process. A final word just like playing the piano, don’t expect to get it perfect first go. It does take some practice.
This article is also published on Medium in Percolab Droplets