Reflections on Roles Definition

Why Self-Management?

A year ago I went on a 5 day camp to learn about Sociocracy 3.0. I had previous exposure to some of the theories and ideas around self-management and Teal Organisations from Syncer School in the Alternative University, yet I was skeptical about them — I thought self-management is just a fancy philosophy without any real use or foundation. The Sociocracy 3.0 changed my mind — I got to work with practical tools such as Consent Decision Making, Drivers, Tensions, Need and Value Centered Organisations etc.

After that I got the patience to fully watch Laloux’s talk on Teal Organisations and became keen on developing skills in this area. I call this activity — Teal Engineer. For me the Teal word is more about the philosophy and ideas, while Engineer is more about concrete capabilities around how to facilitate decision making, how to design self-managing organisations and use of various methodologies to create alignment and manage work (Sociocracy 3.0, Lean, SCRUM etc.)

As such I’ve made the decision to enroll in Leadwise’s Practical Self Management Intensive — 5-week immersive online program designed to give you the practical knowledge and tools to change how you work.

How we work

Each week we discuss various topics on Monday and have assignments to carry out until Friday as to apply what we’ve learned. We work in teams of 4–6 people from all around the globe.

As part of the learning process every week-end we publish on Medium some reflections about this week’s assignment was for us. On the 1st week we had to create 20 roles for a company of our choice in our team. It could be a company we’re planning to create or an existing company.

My team’s company was ConversareLab. which is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is focused on gatherig and sharing knowledge online and offline about work and life strategies to facilitate reflections about improving the human life experience on planet Earth Our work with the roles can be viewed here.

Reflections

The team I was part of is truly global — Benito is in Brazil, Ari is in USA, Eric is in France and I’m in Romania. But it didn’t quite matter.. Slack, Google Drive and Zoom allowed us to share ideas and documents regardless of space and time zone differences. There’s this saying — where there’s a will there’s a way — technology comes in handy at finding a way.

The process of defining the roles was quite simple — as Benito talked about the purpose of ConversareLab and got into how they want to make it happen each of us just added a new role based on what he/she thought might be valuable to the company. Naturally some of us took on various tasks needed to make everything accesible — one summarized our talk, other wrote things down in Google Drive and each asked clarifying questions in order to add better ideas. I believe that it takes some kind of mindset in order to take initiative and to this kind of stuff in a team where you’ve never seent your teammates beforre.

Finally the content itself that we’ve created — check here — is easy to implement, and (to some extent) independent of the number of people in the company. A person can fulfill any single number of roles depending on the skillset and availability. I believe that having a set of roles as a job, instead of a single job description, is a way to ensure individual growth of the employees within the company.

Conclusion

Roles instead of job descriptions, a global, remote team enabled by technology, a good understanding of how the company creates value and the freedom to take initiative as one senses is required — these are just some of the many ways self-management approaches more natural and fluid ways of working in rapidly changing world..