The advantages of self-organized work are clear. Employees who independently determine how they work not only understand their own tasks but also gain an understanding of the bigger picture throughout the company. Their knowledge horizons and expertise expand, and employees feel validated, both regarding their specialist knowledge and also at a personal level. This can release huge amounts of energy.
But how can the transformation to self-organized working be achieved without overextending managers and employees? Global DiVision recommends realizing the process by means of specific changes on three levels. For team members’ self-organization to be successful, they must be provided with accompanying coaching to help them master both methodological and also group dynamics-related hitches.
Level 1: Decentralizing Organizations
Companies can introduce self-organization step-by-step, focusing on pilot projects or sub-areas with the objective of ending central control of all aspects of work and establishing flatter hierarchies. Managers continuously reduce the number of direct instructions they give; an increasing number of decisions are left to the team, who independently visualize tasks and results and make them transparent to all participants. This in turn minimizes reporting and allows employees to develop their own concepts for process optimization.
In this context, it is essential to allow experimental phases with an error-tolerant learning culture to ensure that both managers and also team members are able to grow into the new situation. Celebrate each success as it is achieved!
Level 2: Assisted Self-Organization
At Level # Two teams are allowed to make all operational decisions and bear full responsibility for these decisions. This requires all employees to self-manage; have an open attitude to learning; and be willing to engage in constructive disagreement. All individuals who are involved in a task cooperate to organize their work – within the scope of jointly defined rules and targets that everyone adheres to strictly. Control is not exercised by the manager but instead by the team members and also the customers.
The primary function of company management is to ensure that teams do not delegate operational issues back to it. Its task is, above all, to strengthen self-management within the teams and to clear obstacles out of their path so that optimum work results can be achieved. Company management should only intervene directly in exceptional cases and in the strategic context. Teams should handle daily operations independently and autonomously.