Last month I wrote that it’s time to invert the pyramid and integrate learning into all that we do. Part of the research that led me to that conclusion was the notion of complexity and Dave Snowden’s cynefin framework. The cynefin framework comes up again in Patrick Lamb’s post looking at 3 different types of accountability via Glenda Eoyang [lots of background reading here if you’re interested].
Stable systems => Outcome-based accountability
Active, self-organising systems => Learning-based accountability
Random & chaotic systems => Sharing-based accountability
Most of our HR and work practices are premised on the assumption of stable systems, but we are realising that is no longer the case. Some of the project-based work that I do uses learning-based accountability, where we are all responsible to help the rest of the team learn. For those who live and work on the Web, this becomes a natural way to work. The same can be said for sharing-based accountability, especially amongst bloggers and others who share online. We have learned that the more you give, the more you get back in the form of feedback and more learning opportunities. Last year I changed my copyright license to a more open one because I felt that would encourage sharing. I felt accountable.
If an organisation is only focused on outcome-based accountability can it thrive in more active or random environments? It seems that most markets and socio-economic structures are becoming more chaotic – just try to predict the price of gas for next month. Re-framing the concept of accountability is an important conversation to start with HR professionals and executives.