Self-organisation synonymous with mature work?

Recently, I was having coffee with a trusted client. The informal conversation was also about the functioning of the various teams within the department and where the differences lay. The manager told me that one of the teams was having difficulty in positioning itself in relation to its internal customer. They try to solve this individually and they seem to fail.

The team has less impact than they would like. As a result, they wrestle with the framework of their role, which responsibilities it does and does not include, and how to discuss this with the customer. After all, can they do that one small administrative job themselves and thus maintain harmony with the customer?

The manager's wish is for the team to take up their position independently and maturely. This would give her more room to deal with the strategy and development (of the people in) the department. This conversation got me thinking about the influence self-organisation could have on this team.

Would this make it easier for this team to assume an equal, mature position, as self-organising teams do on a daily basis? Or is this also possible in the current organisational structure?

Self-organisation is known to increase self-confidence and agility within teams. It also improves customer satisfaction. These are powerful advantages. However, if you think a whole route to complete self-organisation is too much of a good thing, you can also look per team at which basic elements will help them to increase their self-organisation capacity.

Every intention towards more mature cooperation is one towards this ability. And that ability provides all those involved with more positive impact, time and again. Together with the team, you determine which basic element they will use. By letting them experiment, they can experience what really works.

In the case of this team, for example, it might be useful - within the existing structure and strategy - to agree again on the frameworks and the way of decision-making. The frameworks provide clarity when the team is doing well and are established in consultation with the manager. The agreements about the decision-making process give the team the strength to take on their role more firmly. Think of (re)making agreements about who is allowed to decide what in a specific role and the way this is done.

In this way, the team determines how they carry out their task. In doing so, it becomes clear what they expect from each other, the manager and the customer, and what the latter may expect from them. If the agreements are then discussed with the internal customer, the team creates space for their mature position to grow further.

The team will only take these steps if they feel safe with the manager and feel her support. So our conversation was also about safety. That is perfectly OK here. With enough time and patience, this team can take some great steps. The challenge is to encourage them to be prepared to look at their role, their position and their tasks differently. Then the inspiration can flow and the role maturity can fully flourish.


Would you like to exchange thoughts about more self-organisational capacity in your team or organisation? Plan an appointment right now. Or call Simone on +31(0)610939739.

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