Exponential Attributes: Autonomy

Autonomy is the forth Internal Attribute in the IDEAS acronym. In Chapter 4 of Exponential Organizations you can read more about this and I suggest taking a look at the open source tool developed by the ExO Ecosystem. Also take a look at Exponential Transformation where you can learn about implementing Exponential Attributes in your current organisation.

The definition of autonomy is the right or condition of self-government. An organisation that practices autonomy is one that is self-organised with teams operating with a decentralized authority. In order to run an organisation with autonomy at the centre required a great deal of trust in the team and a very clear purpose. If you want to to have rapid innovation then autonomy is important in giving teams the authority to work and make decisions in the best interests of the organisation. In order to implement successfully you need to ensure that the organisation:

  1. has an MTP that is compelling and inspirational
  2. choses team members that are self starters who are passionate about the MTP
  3. has frameworks and tools in place that gives teams a clear understanding of the level of autonomy and how to operate and exercise accountability
  4. communicates effectively in a lateral and honest way.
  5. has transparent and data driven dashboards to insure everyone understands what is happening and how to improve.

Organisations can take on a number of different styles of “management” that work with autonomy and each of these topics can constitute separate blog entries: Agile, OKRs, Meritocracy, Holacracy, Black Ops/Edge Teams. For examples of organisations with a high level of autonomy check out Valve, MIT Media Lab, Pixar, Medium, Zappos, Morning Star Company, FAVI, share more in the comments.

In the rapidly changing environments that we find ourselves in, it is more important than ever to have autonomous teams of multidisciplinary people who are passionate about what they are doing and perform well with minimal supervision. It is a very different mode to what many large organisations are used but making the change is more important than ever. It needs to be performed with care to get it right but is vital… are you ready?

Exponential Attributes: Engagement

Engagement is the fifth and final external Attribute in the SCALE acronym. In Chapter 3 of Exponential Organizations you can read more about this and I suggest taking a look at the open source tool developed by the ExO Ecosystem.

Engagement is a way of enabling collaborative human behaviour – social behaviour – to come into play. Through engagement collaborative individuals can do what large organisations once did. It is a vital tool and comes fairly naturally when individuals resonate with an organisations MTP. Having a powerful MTP is vital for having an engaged community. Other ways that an organisation can engage is through:

  • Ranking transparency
  • Self-efficiency (sense of control, agency and impact)
  • Peer pressure (social comparison)
  • Eliciting positive emotions to drive long-term behavioural change
  • Instant feedback (short feedback cycles)
  • Clear, authentic rules, goals and rewards
  • Virtual currencies or points

Whilst these engagement tools are for the external ecosystem they can be used for internal employee engagement.

Gamification

This is a technique that can be used to increase engagement. Gamification is the process of adding a gaming element to your interaction with your community. It is vitally important that this is well implemented and thought through.

Leverage the following game techniques:

  • Dynamics: Motivate behaviour through scenarios, rules and progression
  • Mechanics: Help achieve goals through teams, competitions, rewards and feedback
  • Components: Track progress through quests, points, levels, badges and collections

Incentive Competitions

These are competitions that move people from the crowd into the community. Incentive competitions leverage the community to come up with breakthrough ideas to solve challenges within an organisation. Competitions of this nature have been used for centuries although it was the Ansari X Prize that elevated incentive prizes into the exponential realm. An incentive prize needs create a clear, measurable and objective goal and offers a cash purse for the team that is able to reach the objective. If you want to run an incentive competition you can do this yourself or leverage a platform such as HeroX. Check out the video course that Peter Diamandis put together on designing a successful incentive competition.

Engaging the community and crowd is not a simple task but with a great MTP and the implementation of the tools discussed in this blog it is most definitely possible.

 

Exponential Attributes: Community and Crowd

Community and Crowd

Community and Crowd (C&C) is the second Attribute in the SCALE acronym. In Chapter 3 of Exponential Organizations you can read more about this and I suggest taking a look at the open source tool developed by the ExO Ecosystem.

Side Note: You may be wondering why the ExO Ecosystem is making so much of the tools open source and available and this is because we all want to share this knowledge in line with out MTP’s which all revolve around making a massive impact on the planet and this will only be possible in an open and collaborative manner.

 

I believe that Community and Crowd is a fundamental attribute and do not believe that you can actually be an ExO if you do not leverage this attribute as part of your organisation.  As the diagram above shows, the community is everyone in the inner circles of core team, users, fans, partners, etc. and then the crowd is everyone else. You have to engage both and move people from crowd to community.  C&C is important as it increases loyalty; drives exponential growth; validates new ideas and learning; allows for agility and rapid implementation and amplifies ideation.

 

With regards to a community to can initially join a community and then grow out your own or start with your own. When joining another community it is vital that you are adding value to that community. In Exponential Organizations they outline three steps to building a community:

  1. Use your MTP to attract and engage early members
  2. Nurture the community
  3. Create a platform to automate peer-to-peer engagement

I would add a fourth step which is to make data driven decisions from what the community is sharing. The community needs to benefit all and make a difference, so being able to take the ideas and discussions from the community and implement action in a data driven way is essential.

 

The crowd is consists of people outside of the core and is much larger than the community. The crowd can be used in creativity and innovation, validation as well as for funding.

How do you believe you can use the power of the Crowd?

Exponential Attributes: MTP

A Massive Transformative Purpose is essential for an organisation that wants to exponential, in fact I believe that it is vital for an organisation to thrive in the 21st century. Am MTP is more than a vision or a mission it is an aspirational statement that captures the hearts and minds of the people inside the organisation as well as the community that surrounds the organisation. This can be seen as the higher purpose of the organisation. Remember it is transformational and not transactional.

MTP's

A powerful MTP has the Power of Pull, it creates a culture that people want to belong to and be a part of. A strong MTP is therefore beneficial when recruiting and retaining talent. In addition a powerful MTP results in an external impact focus rather than an internal politics focus and therefore results in a more productive organisation. A great MTP can have first mover advantage, as it is written in Exponential Organisations it is difficult for another company to come up against Google’s MTP and say well we are going to organise the worlds information just better.

The Purpose in MTP is vital and two why questions are described in the book as critical:

  • Why do this work?
  • Why does this organisation exist?

I highly recommend watching Simon Sinek’s Start with Why TED talk!

MTP Believe

Developing an MTP

Key questions to ask when creating an MTP (Founders):

  • What do we really care about? Why? Why do you exist?
  • What is our company’s purpose on this earth (and beyond)?
  • What is the biggest problem I could solve?
  • What does the world hunger for? Why?  
  • What would we do if I could never fail? Why?
  • What would we do if we received a billion dollars today?  Why?

Because the team who wrote Exponential Organisations and the ExO Foundation want to migrate the world to abundance they and the community around us have developed a tool to help you develop your MTP, find it here.

Now take the steps to developing an MTP. If you need some help along the way then let me know!

Attention African Startup Founders

Are you a Startup Founder or someone who wants to solve a problem in Africa? If this is you then I want to grab your attention. We are living in the 21st Century and therefore it is important that you take this into account when starting up your venture. Organisations in the 21st century need to use Exponential attributes to ensure success.

I have written about these attributes before and have included a diagram of the elements below for a refresher.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 10.40.05 AM.png
This image is supplied courtesy of ExO Works

It is vital that you have an MTP as this will ensure that you are working towards a purpose that moves you and is inspiring. If you want to determine what that purpose is you can use the Ikigai to help you.

I highly recommend that you follow these steps when creating a new business:

Step 1: Create an MTP (Massive Transformative Purpose)

Here is a tool to help you do this

Step 2: Create or Join a Community

Physical/Virtual, look at what is out there on Meetup / Eventbrite or others. Remember that you need to offer value before pushing your agenda. Read Jab Jab Jab Right Hook to understand this. BTW check out DIY Drones it is a great example of a community.

Step 3: Build a Team

Most successful startups are 3-4 people in the beginning. The team needs the Visionary/Dreamer; Finance/Business; Programmer/Engineer; User Experience/Design. What is vital is that you all agree on the MTP

Step 4: Create the Breakthrough Idea

Be bold, ask the community, make a difference

Step 5: Build a Business Model Canvas

Here is a tool to help you do this

Step 6: Find a Business Model

Read Kevin Kelly’s Article better than free 8 ways to make money when the base service is free to give you some ideas

Step 7: Build an MVP

Remember that your minimum viable product is just the basics that will solve the problem

Step 8: Validate Marketing and Sales

Use Design thinking and Agile Methodology

Step 9: Implement External Attributes

These are the SCALE Attributes

Step 10: Establish the Culture

It is important to do this when you are small. You can go with an Idea Meritocracy, Holocracy, or your own hybrid but create principles about how you want to run the organisation, this ensures implementation of IDEAS and SCALE.

Step 11: Ask Key Questions Periodically

This is to check you are following the Exponential Organisational method and building what you want to.

Step 12: Build and Maintain a Platform

This will allow for the best use of all the data you collect and build and use the network effect.

I will go into more detail with regards to these steps over time, I highly recommend that you read Exponential Organizations as well as Bold. These are two books that will ignite your mind to the many possibilities and the opportunities when solving massive problems and then how to go about doing that. The framework described here is straight out of Exponential Organizations.

If you find this helpful then share it and comment.