Doing Things Organically

In hierarchies, work is performed within processes and structures that are well defined and often rigid. An “organic” approach to managing is modeled on evolving and dynamic processes that change according to the circumstances and people present. It can be compared to an ecosystem, in that it is shaped by interactions among a community with a common focus. Although there is process and structure, it is a bit looser and evolves with time, according to the dynamics of a group or project.

The advantages of doing things organically include:

• Rather than following one-size-fits-all procedures, you are dealing with real-time events and developments in a project, allowing you to rapidly respond with solutions tailored to the particular situation

• There is more room for innovation, without rigid and confining requirements that do not consider the particulars of your project

• You design your approach according to the team you have and the particulars of the project, increasing your chances of success

How can you test and develop organic managing approaches that work for you? Here are a few things you can start with. If you’d like to go further, make a blog comment and we’ll start a discussion

• When you start a project, bring your team together to discuss how you will manage the project and ask for their constructive input. Topics addressed can include: individual roles and responsibilities, performance goals, communication methods and frequencies, limitations and strengths of the group in meeting the goals of the project and how you will incorporate them in your approach and how you will make space for innovation and course correction.

• Hold periodic “touch base” meetings where your team and you evaluate progress to date and make suggestions for improving performance

• Allow some freedom for team members in how they approach their tasks. The “touch base” meetings can be forums to assess how things should proceed

• Create open space sessions for your team, several times during the project, to foster innovation

Doing things organically is a natural process that works. It provides more freedom and flexibility and fits well with our current business environment of rapid response, tailored solutions and a constant flow of new information.

photo:  smarnad,