Star Fish

I was just reading Matthew Erickson’s blog notes on The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom.  The ninth observation of decentralized organizations is what really got me:

Measure, Monitor, and Manage: Although at times ambiguous, decentralized organizations can still be measured, monitored, and managed. This is more intuitive than precise. Key questions are: How’s the organizations health? Do members continue participating? Is the network growing? Is it spreading? Is it mutating? Is it becoming more or less decentralized?

Nothing would excite me more in God’s kingdom than self starters and relationship builders weaving themselves in and out of normal life and society.  I’d love to get there fast by cutting normal programing and giving everyone a blank slate to build their own thing.  In to course of working with my church however, I’m finding that the best self-starters are still looking for some Measuring, Monitoring and Managing.  They want someone asking questions, watching for progress, offering suggestions.

Management done well doesn’t confine people, it sets them free.  Going decentralized and organic may look more organized than we think.

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One response to “Star Fish

  1. I agree with you, Brian. It’s hard to imagine management within an organization that doesn’t provide some sort of suggestive guidelines.

    I tend to talk about this as setting up boundaries that offer people space in which to be creative.

    Those boundaries should be tied in to the vision and values of the organization. Still, they should provide space for creativity and re-visioning for specific tasks or strategies.

    It’s sort of like playing a sports game, like football or baseball. You need boundaries to the field with some guidelines about how the game works. Other than that, let’s allow the individuals and teams to approach the game with creativity and wonder.

    I think this fits with what Brafman and Beckstrom are getting at with starfish organizations.

    Am I on track here?

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