Friday, May 22, 2009

Do-ocracy vs. Talk-ocracy

'Let's make note of that and start making plans at our next meeting' .... 'Yes Bob, that does need to be corrected - I will get approval from the Managers of each department and make that change.'

This is a 'Talk-ocracy' in action - and it's time we move to a 'Do-ocracy.' I'm reminded that the start-up environment has different rules than many companies - it is a place where a 'Do-ocracy' can thrive. Still, I imagine the minion at the bureaucracy entrenched megacorp could stand out (in a good way) by a little more doing.

This concept first came up in our office when we were looking at the patterns of successful communities (specifically open source online communities). Members of productive, healthy and growing communities DO. There needn't be over-monitoring, limiting and editing. And importantly, when specific areas or projects are delegated to people, it usually makes the projects uninteresting. Instead, people are engaged, and responsibility is given to those who actually do the work. They are fully empowered by the rest of us to get it done. The 'do'-er makes the rules. Not by appointment, but because real world action was created by them. They become active, they are contributors, they are leaders.

Talking about ideas for too long becomes demotivating. Not being engaged and not being able to choose what is important sucks.

I know this may seem unrealistic. With an open source project some projects never get worked on - no one 'does' them. We can't operate a company like that. But we can change our attitude, change how we assign work, how we let people lead, and the way we do work.

We enjoy calling people out in our office. Asking someone if their ideas is a 'do-ocracy' and 'talk-ocracy' is a quick way to call someone's bluff - 'are you just talking or is this really important"?

This week, before I finished making a note about improving something, it was fixed. I need a little more doing. How are you do-ing?

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