Being a social organization means being open.

Jamie Notter and I explain how organizations can be more OPEN in our book, Humanize: How People-centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World.

Open organizations have more decentralized cultures.

  • More people are empowered to make decisions, more people have a voice, and more people are able to solve problems and act.
  • Core values are clearly defined and spelled out and shared with everyone in the organization.
  • Better solutions can be found by engaging multiple people across departments.
  • Those in positions of power are there to protect the ability of their people to get their jobs done. The default is action, not approval (“proceed until apprehended”).
  • Leadership is recognized throughout the organization as the ability for anyone to adequately respond and move forward.

Open organizations embrace systems thinking in their internal structure and processes.

  • For example, they introduce thematic, time-bound “rallying cries” that help everyone focus on a goal, regardless of which department they are in.
  • They share data internally in a centralized way so everyone sees the same information and can access what they need when they need it, without creating little islands of outdated or incomplete data.
  • They allow new voices (customers, for example) to be part of decision making.

In open organizations, individual behavior is marked by ownership.

  • Ownership is not about controlling “your” piece of the pie; it’s about each person being able to take action when needed.
  • It’s about having enough information about the workings of the whole organization to know what effects their decisions will have in other areas.
  • It’s about being able to manage conflict, and having communication skills in different media (matching responses to the circumstances in which situations appear).

We feel strongly that our organizations need to be more human. That’s where you come in.  How open is your organization? Take our quick quiz and find out.

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