Introducing LiQUiD: Light, Quick, Ultra-Dynamic.
“Be water, my friend” (Bruce Lee)
Credit rights: Gustavo Zaera, Geir Isene
Focus on the individual
What form should an organization take to maximize the potential of each employee? What is the ideal organization for a set of individuals? How can these questions be answered if one does not know the potential of the individuals; their abilities and motivations? And if one knows the potential of each person, then should they not do what they truly excel at?
Organizing should be based on the main assets of an organization. If the asset is natural resources, like for a gold mine, then the business should be organized around the gold mine as the main value. If the main asset is a process, like that of the Toyota car manufacturer, then the business should be organized based on the process. If the real value of a company lies in a patent, then it makes sense to structure the business to maximize the profit from that patent. If the main asset is the individual employees, the organization should be people-focused.
Most companies have an organizing board – an ideal view of how an organization should work. It describes a functional machine where employees are made to fit within it. The ideal is the cooperation, the machine. This may be the best if the machine is more important than the creative genius of each individual, or if the company has no such individuals. But if the company has creative geniuses, then that is the asset that should be the basis for organization.
So, instead of drawing the map and making the terrain fit the map, one could assess the terrain and draw a map that fits. Much like marriages have evolved – from set standards of what a woman and a man is supposed to do to the modern family where tasks are distributed across preconceived limits. Much like a local community where tasks are taken by those who are best at it. And much like most societies – where no overall organizing board exists to fit the people in a country into neat departments. Except the latter were tried in places like DDR and the Sovjet Union. A liquid organizing of tasks and people seems to be the most scalable model there is.
One could assess the employees of the company, their abilities and interests and organize all tasks around the people. And without any hierarchy of tasks, every task would be on par with every other task. “Ensuring company profit” is a task just like “manning the reception”. Tasks have different importance and size, but represent no hierarchy.
Such a liquid organizing should ensure the employees best suited for the task would be the one responsible. Add the concept of 100% responsibility and one would get employees who are fully in charge of their tasks and the expected results of each. The map would be a wall with a line of photos. A list of tasks under each picture tells what responsibilities each employee has. This puts the people in focus rather than the structure. It creates people focus.
LiQUiD is Light, Quick and Ultra-Dynamic. It helps an organization adopt easily to new tasks or new employees or new business opportunities. Without a preconceived ideal for distribution of tasks and responsibilities, it is agile to the extreme. Like water.
LiQUiD flies in the face of standard organizing models. It is pure heresay. It spells the end of organizing as we know it. The following presents a simple WOIM list outlining the basics in using LiQUiD to organize a company.
Organization using LiQUiD An organization has the appropriate defined Tasks Suggested mandatory tasks: Accounting Delivery Legal Production Recruitment Sales Suggested additional tasks: Change Management Knowledge Management Marketing Media handling Office premises Process efficiency Quality assurance Staff training Strategy generation Validation & Testing (Etc.) Tasks can be big or small and can be merged or split as needed There are no hierarchy in organization of Tasks EXAMPLE: Sales is a task just like Reception or Accounting Organizing is clarified by a list of Tasks under each employee Every employee has a set of Tasks An employee has 100% responsibility of his or her Tasks Tasks = Capabilities AND Motivation Capabilities = What the employee can do Ensure the employee is also free to tackle new territory Motivation = What the employee wants to do Ensure the employee is motivated to extend the comfort zone Foster a culture of directness where saying "no" is also Ok Ensure each Task is clearly defined Exactly defined inputs Exactly defined outputs/deliverables Defined metrics for the outputs/deliverables AND/OR: Quality target for outputs/deliverables Quantity target for outputs/deliverables
People Focus using LiQUiD organizing may have the potential of making an amazing splash.