If helping the network make better decisions is a primary role of management in the emerging economy, how does one get there? I highlighted the six roles of management in the network era in my last post and I would like to build on these and show how this
is was being practiced at Change Agents Worldwide [Note: I am no longer a member of CAWW].
First of all, the founders set a good example of transparency and working out loud. Subsequent members have joined and continue to narrate their work. Also, the network does not have a marketing department, as everyone is responsible for connecting with our markets. Everyone must set an example because there is no one to defer work to. In this environment everyone is learning and everyone is teaching by example. As a result, work gets done very quickly, such as our first ebook, that would have taken months to complete by a central marketing department.
We are all knowledge managers at CAWW, sharing as we work transparently. Some, like myself, share blog posts at appropriate moments. Others share tools, techniques, and experiences. The organizational knowledge base, much of it captured in a large wiki, constantly grows. There is no central management for our knowledge.
It is important to know why we are creating this not-for-profit “collaborative sharing economy model for consulting services”. We constantly discuss the Why of our work, and ensure we stay focused and do not chase every new opportunity. Our Why is to change how work gets done in large organizations. As a result, we have a very diverse group of change agents, from various disciplines, countries, and industries.
It is interesting to see how our discussions focus on improving insights and we are not overly focused on merely improving internal processes and procedures. We leave that to people doing the work, as change agents are independent and can choose their own tools and techniques, like true knowledge artisans.
With hundreds of years of experience, an open discussion environment, and people who have worked as internal and external consultants, there is no shortage of learning opportunities. Change agents can freely join project teams and try something new. CAWW is one big learning experience for everyone, and the speed of learning is amazing.
These ‘management’ roles apply to all members, for in a network, everyone is a manager, and everyone can play a leadership role. The principles of openness, transparency, and diversity provide a solid foundation for these roles to be practiced. I think this model will help to create a new way of approaching workplace change. Large, hierarchical consultancies are no longer sufficient to help organizations adapt to the network era. As Donald Clark says, “Dinosaurs don’t give birth to gazelles.”
Helping the network make better decisions is the primary job of every change agent. It should be the job of every person in every organization. Perhaps some day it will be.