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Top 5 Fragilities of Autonomous-Team Organizations

posted Feb 18, 2015, 12:16 PM by John Oliver   [ updated Sep 14, 2015, 2:03 AM ]

  1. Overwhelming complexity:
    • Over ambitious expections that all employees will embrace the increased complexity and ambiguities of autonomous team structures.
    • How is the "adaptive challenge" managed by the organisation, as each employee overstretches their capabilities to deal with complexity? ("Adaptive Challenge" as defined by Ronald Heifetz).
  2. "Proxy" democracy: 
    • Working groups, with all the right intentions of having rotating roles and open, transparent communications, that in fact operate still with the same people (with the right level of experience and competencies) making the key decisions.
  3. Lack of developmental / coaching support:
    • Supporting the employees through their journies in dealing with the new behavioural challenges that such organizations present.
  4. Consensus paralysis
    • Domination of democratic culture, constraining the incentives for risk taking and compromising relationships
  5. Threat from "spoilers" and cliques
    • It is sufficient for a tiny minority of players who might abuse the implicit trust in the culture, for new rules and controls to be imposed by the Board (e.g. AES, "revert to designing for the 1%"; Valve Software formation of cliques).