The Semco Style 5 Principles to transform the way we work
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Boundaries for Self-Management

Boundaries aren’t just to restrict. They can secure too

People are too keen to follow standard preconceptions of how organisations should work. All too often, we feel that we are unable to make changes and so hope that someone, somewhere in your organisation knows what we are doing and what the overall aim is. – Ricardo Semler

In a Nutshell

Although many organizations are now dabbling with self-management, most aren’t sure how it actually works. What do teams need to manage themselves? What should leaders and what should they refrain from doing? There’s a lot of confusion and in conventional, hierarchical organizations, the inherent process of delegation still worms its way into self-management, rendering the whole exercise futile. So, for a company to really grasp the tenets of self-management, its leaders need to be on the same page.

Which is why, in companies that are just getting started with self-management, it’s important to first create safe spaces where the top management; then, the managers and their self-managing teams; and, finally, the members of those self-managing teams can enter into an open and transparent dialog.

The role of a facilitator, in all these different dialog sessions, is to observe from the sidelines and intervene when they notice that

  • people aren’t really listening to each other
  • a leader is verbally or nonverbally inducing fear
  • someone’s being vague when they express themselves
  • there are other background issues that distract people from discussing the boundaries

In each of these meetings, the facilitators need to bring the focus back to the boundaries and get people used to talking about them. It helps in creating crystal clarity about what’s expected, how it is achieved and what needs to be done if someone crosses a boundary.



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