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Jutta E. and John B. on Company-Wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space and Sociocracy

| Podcast with John Buck Follow 0 Followers , Jutta Eckstein Follow 0 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 28 Followers on Oct 22, 2018 |

In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Jutta Eckstein and John Buck about their new book: Company-wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space and Sociocracy – BOSSA-Nova    

Key Takeaways

  • The pressing question: if democracy is good, why aren’t businesses using it
  • The new book is a theoretical framework for organizations to help agile spread philosophy across whole organizations
  • Just using Agile company-wide is not enough
  • In the VUCA times we live in require that companies are able to make quick and fast decisions – sociocracy provides this ability
  • Beyond Budgeting provides guidance on how finance, accounting, HR and management needs to change in the new environment
  • Open Space is a great way to bring alignment and commitment into the organization

Show Notes

  • 00:40 Introduction – Jutta and her books
  • 02:53 Introduction – John
  • 03:37 If democracy is good, why aren’t businesses using it?
  • 04:41 The new book is a theoretical framework for organizations to help agile spread philosophy across the whole organization
  • 05:16 The four elements that contribute to BOSSA-Nova
  • 05:23 Winnowing down the large spectrum of ideas that could compliment the agile philosophy to the three that they selected
  • 05:46 Just using Agile company-wide is not enough
  • 06:42 The VUCA times we live in require that companies are able to make quick and fast decisions – sociocracy provides this ability
  • 07:01 Beyond Budgeting provides guidance on how finance, accounting, HR and management needs to change in the new environment
  • 07:32 Explaining what Beyond Budgeting is, and isn’t
  • 07:57 Traditional budgeting tries to combine three distinctly different elements into a single figure – targets, forecasts and what we want to spend money on
  • 08:57 Examples of how this single number approach causes dysfunction in organizations
  • 09:54 The CFO as the “big ogre in the sky” who is controlling the purse-strings
  • 10:20 Trust people first and deal with the exceptions as exceptions
  • 10:31 There will always be someone who abuses the trust, but it is not helpful to punish everyone for that abuse, and its way more expensive
  • 11:05 Another aspect of Beyond Budgeting is making targets and KPIs relative rather than arbitrarily fixed
  • 11:32 There are companies who are using Open Space in their organisation design
  • 11:52 Open Space is a great way to bring alignment and commitment into the organization quickly
  • 12:23 This provides an emergent hierarchy of purpose rather than a structure driven top down by management
  • 12:59 Open Space is an invitation to people to follow their passion, bounded by the responsibilities of the organization
  • 13:32 Explaining how responsibility plays out as a constraint
  • 13:42 Having an inviting structure allows a company to be more innovative and generate new ideas
  • 14:00 Examples of organisations run by Open Space principles – Valve, Gore
  • 14:48 Open Space brings innovation and disruption as key capabilities – Steve Denning’s Strategic Agility
  • 15:05 These approaches help grow and change organizational culture to become more collaborative and adaptive
  • 15:38 How sociocracy changes the command and control structure through ensuring that feedback is listened to
  • 16:22 How the circles in a sociocratic organization cause feedback to be listened to and acted upon
  • 16:34 Explaining consent-based decision making vs consensus-based decision making
  • 16:52 “Good enough for now, safe enough to try”
  • 17:15 Delegation is built in to consent-based decision making
  • 17:21 Explaining how the consent-based decision making approach and sociocratic circles ensure that the voice from below is represented all the way through the organization, all the way to the board of directors
  • 18:17 The congruence around customer focus in agile and sociocracy
  • 18:38 Representation of the lower level circles in the higher levels is called Double Linking – hard wiring the feedback loop into the system
  • 19:11 Most companies already have a hierarchy, but the hierarchy prevents feedback from happening rather than inviting it in
  • 19:21 Sociocracy enables you to start where the organization currently is, rather than requiring radical reorganization
  • 19:41 Even in the most self-organizing organizations there is an emergent hierarchy, sociocracy accepts this, makes it transparent and ensures that the feedback mechanism gets included
  • 20:05 Sociocratic organizations change their corporate bylaws etc to ensure that consent-based decision making is the agreed approach
  • 20:38 Examples of organizations who have the sociocratic bylaws in place
  • 20:57 The main contribution of agile development to BOSSAnova is the focus on learning – experimentation, feedback and learning at the product level
  • 21:53 The four principles of the Agile Manifesto provide a framework for this approach
  • 22:13 With the digitization of products and services in the VUCA world, software is now a key part of any organization’s competitive advantage; agile enables more effective production of software
  • 22:52 Whenever something becomes really successful, it also gets watered down
  • 23:08 All of these things involve discipline, they’re hard to do
  • 23:35 Explaining the “BOSSAnova” moniker. Bessonova is a style of music that is a fusion of samba and jazz. BOSSAnova is a fusion of ideas
  • 23:50 Bessonova is also a style of dance, and dance should be built into our strategic thinking in organizations
  • 24:30 The direct translation of the Portuguese word Bessonova is “new wave, new trend” which this thinking is trying to achieve
  • 25:05 There are some organisations using three of the four elements, Jutta and John do not know of anyone using all four at this stage, and there are some who are on the way
  • 25:35 The book also includes insights and examples from people who are using the ideas in various companies around the world
  • 26:42 Advice for people looking to implement these ideas - take this theory and start probing your own situation, identify your own success criteria and conduct experiments
  • 27:01 The book contains many probes which readers can use as experiments in their own contexts
  • 27:32 This is not a recipe or formula – these are complex problems which need to be explored in the reader’s specific context
  • 27:54 Connect with the larger networks outside your own organization and consider your social & societal responsibilities in the complex world

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