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

Your description at the end is similar to the concept of “servant leadership” (as opposed to positional or authoritative leadership). The wikipedia page has a decent overview.

Democratic organizations, participatory decision-making, and meritocracy have been around forever; yet, in a culture that privileges what’s next rather than what is or has been, we seem compelled to market ourselves as a “new organizational model” to sell books, attract public attention, and feel relevant.

The Wall Street Journal probably wouldn’t print an article titled “People are Still Working Together” and OuiShare probably wouldn’t post a response article titled “Yep: And Working Together is Still Not Always Easy”. I certainly wouldn’t have found nor read articles with those taglines.

So, is your general frustration that organizations are disingenuously representing themselves to gain a larger market share (a la the “Lo Fat” and “Lite” cookies from whence my muffin top came); or, are you frustrated that Lisa didn’t know what the hell she was doing?

I imagine most people start new jobs with unrealistic expectations of what it will be like regardless of organizational structure. It seems a bit unfair to blame her for having expectations about her new position based on what she heard from other about the organization. As you mention, the norms and practices of a group should be made explicit upfront. Establishing clear expectations and practices enables teams to focus on how to effectively strive towards a shared objective.

Perhaps updating OuiShare’s new employee training materials would solve this problem. Though an article titled “New Employee Training Materials Updated” probably wouldn’t get many views.

Thanks for the piece.

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