3 thoughts
last posted April 21, 2014, 7:14 a.m.
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Paradox 1:

  • Organizations should be as fluid as possible to empower people to make constant improvements.
  • Fluid organizations can hide unhealthy behavior and true power structures, and leave to confusion about "the rules".

Paradox 2:

  • Constraints are necessary for creativity.
  • Unnecessary constraints inhibit creativity.

Paradox 3:

  • Information should be as transparent as possible.
  • Too much information makes it impossible to be truly transparent because the most important information is hidden.

Paradox 4:

  • People should be empowered to make decisions.
  • Decisions should be informed by the desires, wisdom, knowledge of the team.

So, what's the right way to:

  • Structure an organization?
  • Set constraints?
  • Channel information?
  • Make decisions?

Building an organization is a stream of bug fixes without regression tests—always hoping each patch closes more issues than it may open!

Daniel Erickson: "I wonder if it’s possible to write tests to tighten the feedback loop."

The thing is you can only develop an organization forward. There's truly no rolling back once you commit.

Basically: there is no dev or stage environment—organizations only run in production.


On a quick thought, I would love some structure that combined:

  • "Tension" (Holacracy)
  • Separation of Governance from Tactics (Holacracy)
  • "Braintrust" feedback groups (Pixar)
  • "Sponsors" (Gore/Lattice)
  • Circle structure (Sociocracy)
  • "Personnel with a sense of management" (Amoeba)

Child Streams


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Tyranny of Structurelessness

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