Humanocracy : Freeing up the human spirit at work
In a world of uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, organizations need to be as resilient and nimble as change itself. Rule-plugged management systems and lofty hierarchies have failed to be responsive and agile to events around them.
I stumbled across an interesting concept ‘Humanocracy’, which presents a blueprint for creating organizations as inspired and inventive as the humans inside them. By slashing stifling levels of permissions, humanocracy is a top-down decision to empower the bottom-up. Here every team member is given the chance to learn, grow and initiate new ideas within their sphere of operations. Ownership, meritocracy, experimentation and openness are rooted in the Organization’s DNA.
The book clearly articulates the reasons why our organizations are failing us, and I would like to share them with you:
A product of its time almost 150 years old, military-type commands were used on illiterate people to function like donkeys, and managers used to lever information up the hierarchy. The generally accepted view that skills are determined by academic credentials proved to be a completely flawed picture. Qualifications are indeed no indicator of person’s intelligence or troubleshooting abilities.
Bureaucratic systems dictate how jobs are to be done, with no flexibility to do the work in better ways. Most employees put only time into their work and not the required passion or energy. With a lack of motivation to function better, the lethargy is spread to others too. This is the reason most employees feel disengaged from their work and are psychologically disconnected from their employer and company.
The reason why most organizations are unable to relinquish bureaucracy is that leaders don’t trust their people. Micromanagement has ended up being a self-fulfilling prophecy where leaders control every aspect of work. This run-of-the-mill culture offers no motivation to contribute one’s best towards the attainment of organizational goals. These sorts of organizations waste more human capacity than they utilize. A caste barricade is generated between thinkers and doers, managers and employees.
In organizations stifled by bureaucracy, there is a mad rush for positional authority, bigger titles, broader cabins and fatter salaries. People compete to move up the ladder rather than acquiring the knowledge or skill sets to hold the positions. Managers are reluctant to give up their titles or shift to a mentoring role to develop human capabilities, that require you to learn from each other.
Top-down line of communication and rule-choked system paralyze organizational creativity. Gone are the days when administrators could sit in closed cabins, without witnessing what happens on the shop floor.
Moving towards a human-centered management approach
Organizations need to migrate toward an ingenious management system where employees take complete ownership of their work. As internal micropreneurs, they are trained to understand the business dynamics and are accountable to devise new solutions to keep the company thriving in turbulent times.
If you’ve finally run out of patience with barriers of bureaucracy, I encourage you to get hold of this book. Whilst it may not be possible to replace systems overnight, changes can be implemented in phases to get creativity rolling and make your organization future-ready.