There is a lot of stuff out there about what I am trying to do. Three books that I have recently read spring to mind: ‘Loose’ by Martin Thomas. The future of business is letting go. It gives a nice insight into how to break down the command and control influence within your own organisation; ‘Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time’ by Jeff Sutherland was what I had been looking for to help improve our project management productivity. A must read for anyone who has to deliver things within a time frame (which is everyone!). It felt like a mixture of Lean Start-up and the Toyota Production System; ‘Maverick: The success story behind the world’s most unusual workplace’ by Ricardo Semler, the story of putting some of these things into practice.
Yet what I am trying to do is difficult to define, at least for me. What I want is less of the more formal aspects of work and more of the more social and collaborative aspects. How do you document something that is more informal?
I don’t want a rigid set of rules that have to be followed to the letter. I don’t really want work to be templated though I do understand that in the Toyota Production Systems and the work that went on with Virginia Mason Hospitals this can be essential at times. Instead I want a vibe, a feeling and a nuanced culture. It sounds all too easy but proves to be more elusive than I would like.
I think I can boil it down into a few pithy directional statements, if that isn’t too much like management speak. So here it goes. I am looking for an organisation that:
- Has a high degree of trust, openness and honesty between colleagues, with customers and suppliers, where information and confidences are shared as widely as is possible.
- Lives the values of the public sector and delivers the best services it can by being focussed on benefit for the people of Durham.
- Is unconcerned about structural hierarchy and instead focusses on talent and ability by encouraging everyone to make the best use of their talents.
- Does not get hung up on location but rather allows people to work wherever is most suitable and in ways that are best for the customer, the organisation and themselves by nurturing a culture of outcomes rather than presentism.
- Takes collaboration between all stakeholders and co-creation of products and services with customers as a natural part of the way it operates.
I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.