These ten points provide the high level Manifesto of the Integral Organisation Model. They can be used to assess how our own organization is currently operating. The suggested reading provides a greater level of detail behind each point.
1. “If we don’t change direction we will end up where we are heading.”
Ninety-nine point nine percent of change initiatives do not change the direction in which we are heading. These ill-informed change initiatives focus on the symptoms and not the root causes. They change what we are doing, they don’t change our direction. If we want to change our direction, we need to adopt the following manifesto. Please read Points 2 to 8.
Suggested Reading: “What is the Fundamental Flaw in Organizations?”
2. If we are not facing towards our outcomes, we won’t hit our targets.
The fundamental flaw in organizations is that they are aligned to their internal functions and not their outcomes. This is why organizations often meet all of their internal goals but miss their external ones. Changing this alignment is the hardest thing any of us will do. But if we don’t, re-read Point 1. This alignment is the necessary building block to change our direction.
3. People are motivated by their intrinsic values and beliefs.
The majority of employees today are dis-engaged at work. Extrinsic rewards, bonuses, stock options, higher pay doesn’t change this fact. To change this the outcomes/mission of our organization must be aligned to the employees’ values and beliefs and this must flow on to their day to day work. That is, it must be aligned to the outcomes/mission not the internal functions, which is why Point 2 is so important.
Suggested Reading: “What is the missing ingredient for employee engagement?” “Horizontal Flow”
4. People develop over time.
Everyone needs time to develop. What this means is that age is a factor in personal development because age provides the time. A brilliant fifteen-year-old, no matter how clever, cannot be expected to lead an organization as well as a brilliant fifty-year-old. They haven't had the time to gather the accumulated experiences, knowledge and ongoing learning.
5. People range in the development levels they achieve.
Not all people develop at the same rate or to the same levels of capability. This means that there is a spread of people with varying capability in thinking, perceiving and dealing with complexity and uncertainty. A person’s level of capability influences their values and beliefs.
6. This range of capabilities is required up and down the layers of an organization.
Each layer of an organization undertakes work that equates to the level of complexity and uncertainty of that layer. The capability of a person has to be able to handle the complexity and uncertainty at each layer. The right person at the right level is a major critical success factor for an organization, especially the higher the layer. An organization collectively will only operate at the level of the CEO and Board; this is the lowest common denominator.
7. Lower layers of an organization need more structure and guidelines.
People working at lower layers want and need structure to reduce the complexity and uncertainty in their day to day work to align to their current level of personal development. Structure such as; job descriptions, work instructions, training and local feedback loops. They seek this structure to provide them the environment to perform their role. The counter intuitive outcome is that this gives workers more freedom to think about improving their structured work, through continuous improvement, rather than spending mental energy trying to cope with unstructured work.
Suggested Reading: “Why do sporting teams make a great management example?”
8. Higher layers of an organization must handle greater complexity and uncertainty.
Higher layers of an organization operate in ever increasing time frames which naturally increases the inherent level of complexity and uncertainty. If the leaders at these layers cannot operate in these timeframes they collapse, Point 6, to the time period they can; this year, this quarter This leads to short termism. Short termism leads to a lack of innovation, micro-management, stifling workplace practices, low trust and ultimately being blindsided by change.
9. Culture Emerges, it is not commanded or decreed.
Culture emerges from what people believe about the organization, it is best articulated as, “the way we do things around here”. Culture is a litmus test of the implementation of Points 2 to 8. If, after implementing our latest change initiative we haven’t changed the culture we are a victim of Point 1. We are addressing the symptoms and not the root causes outlined in Points 2 to 8.
Suggested Reading: “Culture is not the Culprit” from Harvard Business Review
10. Culture varies up and down the layers of an organization
One size never fits all. Just as the level of structure, complexity and uncertainty varies up and down an organization, so does the “way we do things around here” varies up and down the organization. As per Point 9, the Culture that emerges at each layer is necessarily a reflection of the work practices at each layer. At the lower levels we find a rules driven, do as I am shown culture, in the middle layers a scientific, target driven culture and at the senior layers a collaborative, future focused culture. If our organization has a micro-management, stifling workplace practices and low trust culture, we need to revisit Points 6 and 8.