Decisions make the world go round
These paradigms both have one thing in common, instead of seeing organizations organized by functions they see organizations as fluid circles that are forming around a specific thing. This particular thing is decisions.
Instead of organizing according to functions it’s all about decision centricity. This is because all we do at work, or at least the majority thereof, is a series of decisions. Knowledge work is all about making decisions but as it often is with decisions they cannot be made by one department or function alone because no department is an island (and no person either as we know). Let’s take an example and look at a marketing decision. Marketing might want to produce some product marketing material, but to carry this decision forward, it needs to collaborate with a set other functions. First and foremost the product team needs to be included and then maybe also the business development team because the question needs to be answered if this material would support the sales process of the organization and fit with the strategic direction. This simple decision shows us how a cell would quickly form around a decision and this can be taken forward infinitely throughout organizations.
On top of that, it is just more practical to organize around decisions it allows companies also to stay agile and respond quicker to the challenges of an ever-changing environment. Let’s imagine an entirely hypothetical scenario. You are a technology company that produces imaging products with a historic basis on photography. You have been around for a long time, and you are one of the major businesses in your field. What happens if there is all of a sudden another, a lot smaller technology company that creates an application for photo sharing. The application might change the way we look at photography forever, and people will almost stop using analog photography, which is where your business is. It’s time for you to make a decision and you are better quick about it. If the decision to decide is how should the strategic positioning of your company for the future be or should you acquire this small photo-sharing company to gain a foothold in this new evolving digital market. You need to get all the relevant people as quick as possible organized around this decision and make sure you evaluate it from a different perspective to then make the decision that is best for your business in the short- and long-term.
Decision centricity is similar to the familiar adage in holacracy that the job description is old by the time it leaves the print or is updated on the website. It’s not positions and functions we need to organize ourselves in but its skills, insights, and expertise that can help further a decision making process.
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