Tag: organisations (page 1 of 10)

Hierarchy is bad for business

I think this is a great post for people who realise that there might be something wrong with the hierarchy-by-default way we run organisations and society. It’s hard not to come away from it feeling a little liberated.

As someone who has spent the last few years in a co-op with consent-based decision-making and a flat structure, however, I don’t buy the ‘hierarchy is here to stay’ nihilism. Instead, although it’s not what we’ve been brought up to be used to, something like sociocratic circles can scale infinitely!

Being an adult means not measuring yourself entirely on other people’s definition of success. Personal growth might come in the guise of a big promotion, but it also might look like a new job, a different role, a swing to management or back, becoming well-known as a subject matter expert, mentoring others, running an affinity group, picking up new skill sets, starting a company, trying your hand at consulting, speaking at conferences, taking a sabbatical, having a family, working part time, etc. No one gets to define that but you.


Why do people climb the ladder? “Because it’s there.” And when they don’t have any other animating goals, the ladder fills a vacuum.

But if you never make the leap from externally-motivated to intrinsically-motivated, this will eventually becomes a serious risk factor for your career. Without an inner compass (and a renewable source of joy), you will struggle to locate and connect with the work that gives your life meaning. You will risk burnout, apathy and a serious lack of fucks given..

Source: The Hierarchy Is Bullshit (And Bad For Business) | charity.wtf

Slack emboldens the meek

This is a useful article which focuses on the lack of internal Codes of Conduct and community managers within organisations. Performativity in the workplace is a thing, and workplace chat tools can escalate those types of behaviours into new levels of toxicity.

People act differently online, and tools like Slack, while not expressly built to hook users, still make work feel like social media. Emoji reactions and replies provide the same validation as likes and retweets. “I don’t post online anymore because I don’t like being so public, but if I have something fun going on in my life, I will put that into Slack,” said Rebecca Levin, a Program Manager at research startup Maze. And as Ellen Cushing noted in the Atlantic, like Twitter and Reddit, discussions in Slack feel “categorically different, somehow less real.”

Online, everyone is engaged in a digitally-mediated performance. As Erving Goffman wrote, “We are all just actors trying to control and manage our public image.” And the pressure to maintain that image can quickly turn reasonable people into pundits. When news breaks, “there’s this feeling that if I don’t post about it on Twitter, I’m complicit,” said Charlie Warzel, co-author of Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home. “You end up weighing in as if you’re some sort of public figure, despite the fact that you’re not.”

Slack emboldens the meek; compared to an all-hands, the ease of posting makes speaking up a lot easier. Anne Helen Petersen, Warzel’s partner and co-author, has found herself in that position, and sees it as a mixed blessing. The freedom is powerful, she said, “but it also opens a portal. It’s just more discourse, right?”


Leaders often treat Slack as just another tool. But as Godwin’s Law wryly observed, any extended online discussion is a Hitler comparison waiting to happen. “You’re creating a public room where people are empowered to talk back,” said Marketos. “If something starts to blow up in Slack, you need to have an amazing response that’s defensible if it’s screenshotted and shared with a reporter.” While few HR teams are experienced in rapid-response crisis communications, for community managers, “it comes naturally, and it’s very much an unsung part of their skillset.”

Source: The Extremely Online Workplace | by Benjamin Jackson

Artificial metrics are flying by instrument

We had a conversation earlier this week about how we’re going to measure the progress of some community work we’re doing. In the end, we decided that there were no metrics that would make sense. It’s a vibe.

This post says much the same thing. Sometimes there are no  objective measurements for things that matter. And that’s OK.

Flight deck controls

Artificial metrics are flying by instrument. They’re individual “better/worse” dials that in amalgamation are supposed to tell you which way things are going, as long you are paying attention to the correct combination of them at the correct moment, and don’t over-react to the feedback loops and crash the whole thing via a PIO. Instrument-only flight is harder than visual flight, it takes extensive practice, and the mistakes have worse repercussions.

You can instead choose to just fly visually. It’s easier, it’s safer, and it’ll get you where you’re trying to go. The thing is, your entire industry thinks it’s impossible, and worse, they think it is irresponsible. They’re kinda right. You have to be good at the innate skill of flying, instead of the skill of navigating by instrument. Guess which one the “become a manager in tech” system produces. Bonus points: recognize how that is itself a PIO.

Bonus Bonus Bonus points: Consider that if you’ve learned the skillset of visual flight poorly, and you don’t use the instruments to correct yourself, how will you ever know it’s going wrong in time?


What matters for your team/org’s success is the fundamental human relationships, comradery, esprit de corps, support and space-curation, and especially, all of the prior while treating-em-like-adults. Those things make up the totality of why people want to work on your team and are excited about working with and supporting their peers. These are not invisible things. These are things you can pay attention to, structurally. These are not things you can quantify with numbers. You’re going to have to get comfortable with forming, expressing, and defending opinions based on things besides “data.” Not because you don’t have data, but because you don’t have quantifiable numbers that represent themselves, and our industry is poisoned into believing that only such things are data. We’ve got thousands of years of evolution helping us understand how group dynamics are flowing. Yes, using that is a skill set. That’s my point. Build and use that skill set. Learn how to read people’s reactions. Learn how to understand people’s motivations. Learn how to see how people work in groups and as individuals. Do the work.

Source: How to build orgs that achieve your goals, by absolutely never doing that | Graham says wrong things

Image: Jp Valery