Resources for institutions that run themselves

The two key drivers of self-organizing teams

posted Oct 24, 2011, 7:33 PM by Venn Wylde

Do you see the work of organizing your teams as a drain on your most precious resources?

What if each team could organize itself?

Self-organizing teams need two things: a common aim, and members who are free to pursue it.

The aim is to deliver something to a customer outside the team who is willing to pay for it with time, energy, attention, or money.

The aim must describe the deliverable so clearly that customers can know with their senses when they have received it, and distinguish it from similar things produced by others.


The members must be free to experiment in pursuit of their common aim.

To preserve their freedom, these members must have equal voices in resolving disputes. To keep the members moving toward their common aim, each team can have one person with authority to make decisions on the fly, and feedback mechanisms with which to correct that leader and each other.

These feedback mechanisms must primarily serve to prevent and correct decisions that interfere with the members' work. They must allow the free flow of feedback from any point in the organization to any other point, regardless of scale - including the ability to replace team leaders.

To get clear about your common aim, to learn the four flexible organizing patterns that put these principles into practice, and to implement this method in your organization, contact

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