Cut the bullshit: organizations with no hierarchy don’t exist
Francesca Pick

I thought I wouldn’t agree with your article, but I do, to a point…

It kind of reminds me of the #AllLivesMatter hashtag — it’s true, but it misses the point. Hierarchy is a system (as Susan Basterfield points out below) that ranks people according to status and authority, and it’s gotten us into a lot of trouble. The horrendous stories from Mother & Baby Homes in Ireland, hitting the news today, was a result of cultural hierarchy, which allowed parents, nuns and church clerics to dissociate from accountability. The Fukushima disaster in 2011 could apparently have been prevented if assumed hierarchies were ignored. Hierarchies like the Indian caste system or the old English class system (which I saw in full force at an ancient British university) leave most people feeling disenfranchised, de-motivated and mistreated, while a select few “lord it over” the rest. This is most peoples experience of hierarchy — including my own.

I can see you didn't mean this in the article, but the folks that shared this article on Facebook and LinkedIn today did. They wanted to say “Look, it’s ok for me to give you orders! And if it goes wrong, of course it’s my boss’ fault!” This isn’t a useful kind of discussion to be encouraging, especially in a world of “alternative facts”. Instead, I think it’s incumbent upon those of us who understand (which Francesca, you clearly do), to tell a tale of the value of all members of a workforce, and encourage the breakdown of traditional hierarchies, inclusive organisational models, and perhaps alternative approaches to telling our story. Jazz I find is a very nice analogy to your type of organisation — if there are hierarchies in performance, they certainly don’t exist long enough for anyone to notice, and power shifts from one spot to another with a fluidity that for me is not encompassed in the very word “hierarchy”.

Perhaps this is just a terminology issue, as some comments have suggested, but it is dangerous to get terminology wrong — as you have found out with your new joiner.

Thanks, Lisa White, Spireworks

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