Meet Cathy, the Cooperative Development Institute’s new answerwoman! She can take on any co-op questions you might have, big or small. Today we address the question: “What resources are available to help workers adjust psychologically to democratic, as opposed to hierarchical, organization and to collaborative rather than command-and-control decision making?” See all of Cathy’s answers and ask your own on her home page. This blog post was written by Cecile Green, co-Founder of Round Sky Solutions and creator of Collab.
Hi! Great question that points at how challenging a transition it can be for us to move from the leadership models we’ve historically inherited to more healthy uses of power!
As it sounds like you know, we can have the best of intentions to operate in a democratic manner and fall far short. We’ve identified a key missing piece in making this kind of a transition: our organizational communication operating system. All organizations have them, though the structures of our communication operating systems are often implicit. This is a powerful point of leverage available to organizations who want to transition from dominating ways of leading to cooperative/democratic/participatory ways of leading.
One specific example, among many important components of an effective collaborative operating system, is a Living Agenda. This document functions as a both a repository of meeting outputs as well as a mechanism for having a transparent and adaptable meeting structure that invites everyone to contribute to building an agenda and processing agenda items in a collaborative manner. It’s a great first mechanism to introduce to a team to start people thinking about how they can participate in the work of the organization.
Thanks for your interest in participatory ways of leading and managing!
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