This year's reboot 9 (reboot11) may be the last reboot. I get the sense that Thomas feels that this may be the swansong. The topic for reboot11 is action. He asked me to offer up my 10 point list of what I thought this may mean.
With all action - there has to be a context. So here is my context (Heavily influenced by Jordan McLeod - whose book on Money I will review this week)
Context - THE WORK is to change our paradigm from Narcissism (The world is all about me - I am separate from it and from all things and all people - I get my kicks from the use of power and getting stuff) to Integration (I am one with the world and all things and people - I am made whole by participating fully in the wonder of the life of all things)
Why do we have to do this? Becuase as we can see, living as Narcissists is unsustainable. We are imploding.
None of the tools of the Narcissistic world can help heal it. There is no mechanistic reform that can work. No new regulation of the old system can work. Look at the mess in Washington. Acting in the old way will in the end only make things worse for the action is all based on the premise that we can and should continue to act in a self centred way where our connection and reliance on nature and others does not matter.
We have to be the new to make the change.
We have to build the new to make the change. We have to tell the story of the new in the new way to make the change. When enough us of live it, do it and have told the story, the world will change.
We know how to do this.
Bless you Thomas (@mygdal) for bringing so many of us together over the last decade and for planting the seed of renewal
If you want to experience a 2.0 world in its full expression please go to reboot. Here are the details for this year
it's time to act, time to focus on the act of acting, time to figure out where to begin the reboot. reboot11 is two days away far from the status quo, two days with old and new friends trying to figure out how to reboot the world!
this is a once in our lifetime opportunity, and so it could be the single most important reboot ever - because this year we're not in a world that thinks the status quo is working - it's not only the freaks at reboot that feel the need to reboot things. we're in times of change and systemic failure unlike anything we'll probably experience again in our lifetime. we've had visionary insights and reflections the last couple of years at reboot (renaissance, human and free - great journeys into the deep insights). now it's time to act on the insights.
it's up to us edgelings and participatory folks to take charge and begin building a better future - insight comes with responsibility.
we're not afraid. we know that we need to reinvent and reboot everything on new scales based on trust, networks and participation.
we are at the cusp of a new approach to sharing, consuming, banking, insurance, journalism, democracy - well almost everything - all the core infrastructure we've build our societal systems on. how do we move forward?
"ACTION", THE CHALLENGE
so the action challenge is:
- what are the great acts, the proven ideas, patterns, solutions, etc.
you can implement in your local community, country, peer group, etc.
the most important simple ideas we can act on to make a difference
- how can we all learn the skills of action, how to communicate, how to prototype, how to design, how to create, how to manage, how to create movements, how to start an open source project, how to fund projects and companies.
- what to act on first (obviously whatever you're passionate about, but perhaps there's lessons of what can make the greatest difference)
- who are the great actionists who can inspire us, and what can we learn from history?
contribute your ideas on the above at http://www.reboot.dk/search/
THE ACTION PLATFORM
everything at reboot11 will be geared towards action. from an action exhibition to showcase projects, 20 interaction/conceptual designers on standby to help you, favors to create action, facilitators on standby and a micro investment fund. got any more ideas on how to turn talk into action? - submit your proposal at http://www.reboot.dk or email email@example.com
So what's next if you want to reboot...
- signup now for reboot11 to secure your ticket, only 250 euro if you sign up before May 29th, http://register.reboot.dk (share travel tips on hotels/flights at http://www.reboot.dk/page/218/
- spread the "action" challenge across the web, blogs, email, im, fb, twitter, etc., perhaps link to the web version of the invitation, http://www.reboot.dk/page/
- extend the invitation to participate to the people you "just" know should be at reboot this year
- anything else, email firstname.lastname@example.org
as always reboot is a collective creation, really looking forward to what we all can come up with the coming months. email if you've got questions, ideas, comments, encouragement, etc.
Lee Bryant sums up in a masterful post today everything that a conference organizer should pay attention to.
reboot has become an ideal. If you want to see why many are so keen to have the reboot experience - if you would like others to feel the same about your conference - then follow the link to Lee
Back in Copenhagen - I love this city and the Danes!
What has not been fun was my trip using Easy Jet - nothing wrong with Easy Jet but with the process. I arrived in LHR after a no problem flight on good old AC and had a wonderful shower at the Arrivals Lounge. This is one of the best reasons to be a regular flyer on AC. It was a sanctum of peace and comfort after a night on the plane.
So far so good. Then a bus ride to Stansted. Not bad either. But then entry to hell .... Stansted Airport.
I arrive at 1pm and my flight leaves at 6.25. I cant check in until 4.25. It is a warehouse for people with long lines of frustrated travelers all over the place. I absorbed all this energy and began to feel bad myself. An English Breakfast at the Irish pub and 2 pints served by delightful Poles helped a bit.
The Wifi that I bought for 5 pounds from T Mobile did not work. I ended up hanging about the Easy jet check in area in the hope that they would open my flight early - they did! 90 minutes later I check in. 70 minutes later I get through security. Hell only made OK by meeting Johnnie Moore at the bar inside security. Then we get too involved catching up and notice that our flight is in the closing stage - mad dash to the gate - to have missed the flight after a whole day of hanging around would have been too much.
We made it!
I never thought I would say this - but next time I will go regular and connect at LHR using SAS or BMI. The social cost of Stansted is too high for me.
More on reboot itself later
Please bear with me - these are more of my thought notes for some of the ideas that I will be talking about at reboot9. I promise not to go into this kind of detail and I will be talking also about related ideas that I will keep for the day. I need to play more and this is my sandbox.
I am on quest - a quest to find the reality of a way of organizing people so that we can become the most that we can be. My ingoing thesis is that humans must have a way of organizing that is natural. After all acorns, whales, stars and winds do.
My bet is that we "forgot" how to do this. Instead we became captured by an idea, a dogma, that we are not human but we are machines.
My method has been to follow the example of science and to observe and look for patterns.
In my prior post, I made the case that the Roman Legions offer us a good example of an emergent design for how humans can best be organized for complex work.
For an observation to be rooted in science, it has to be replicable. So in this post I will look at 2 more high performance organizations and make the case that they share the same "design" as the Legion. I think that they show that this design is replicable and hence real.
In my last post, tomorrow, I will talk about how I see this "forgotten" design re-emerging as we discover that social software is re-enabling it.
This is a still from Master & Commander. It is a shot of the funeral of the men killed in the main action of the film. For me it says everything about a high performing human organization. It shows full humanity - none of this disengagement of our current ideal. It shows a powerful selection process for leadership. It shows the effect of a Trusted Space.
If the Roman legions were the heart of Rome and its greatest expression of power, the Royal Navy at the time of the Napoleonic Wars held the same iconic role for England. For more than 200 years, this organization enabled a tiny nation to be dominant. The Royal Navy in this time was THE organization in the world of men. There was nothing else that can be compared to it. As I look more deeply into its structure, I see the same DNA as in the Legion.
At the heart of the heart of the navy was a single class of ship that held within it both a Trusted Space and a process for producing the equivalent of the "Centurion" - The Active Personal Leader.
It is this interaction between an intense social space "Trusted Space" and active personal leadership based on expressed expertise and talent that I feel is the essence of the high performance human organization. All this has to happen inside a series of containers that meet the social requirements of optimal human society - Magic Numbers.
The British classic frigate was the key to the Royal Navy's greatness. This is the human scale container. In this container grew all the elements that lead to high human performance.
Frigates were the primary development environment for command. This was the pinnacle testing ground for the Personal Leader. No great Captain in the line could avoid this step. It was also the ideal social container that could express the overall capability of a group - it is the cohort.
The Frigate had two roles. The first was to provide the intelligence for the Line and secondly, it was to act independently and to impose the will of the Admiralty upon the world at large. In this role they were uniquely autonomous. There was no contact with head office and no one to help them except their own ingenuity.
Instead of an interfering head office, commanders used a set of protocols. The Articles of War were the protocols that enabled a Captain to have a context for all decisions - the Articles of War represented what in legion would have been called Doctrine - the generally understood best way of doing things. If you acted inside their context, you were doing the right thing. If not, you could pay the price - sometimes your life.
If you look at the link you will see how straightforward these principles were. Every member of the crew knew them off by heart.
The Frigate was the "right size" for the optimal team. It fits the parameters of the legion exactly. The British Frigate typically had less than 30 guns and a crew of between 200 and 300. Somewhere between a maniple and a cohort. Like a Cohort they included within this body all the skills that they would need to operate autonomously. They could fight, sail and rebuild their own craft.
The ship's company were then broken down into stable smaller social/work units of people that you came to know better than any other. Like the Legion tent, you shared your whole lives with your close shipmates. Your shared them in groups small enough to make sense. You shared great risks with each other and grew to rely on the other. As you shared these risks, the bond deepened and shifted into love.
The word I am using deliberately is "Love". Love is the nature of the bond that this environment delivers. Love not efficiency is the key to performance.
You think I am being soppy and naive? Here is William Manchester describing his feelings as he returns to Iwo Jima where he as a young marine had landed in what was to become the Corps epochal experience.
"And then, in one of those great thundering jolts in which a man's real motives are revealed to him in an electrifying vision, I understood at last, why I had jumped hospital 35 years ago and, in violation of orders, returned to the front line and almost certain death.
It was an act of love.
Those men on the line were my family and my home. They were closer to me than I can say, closer than my friends had been or ever would be. They had never let me down and I couldn't do it to them. I had to be with them, rather than let them die and me live with the knowledge that I might have survived them.
When we hear of teams and loyalty in the work place, they are pallid memories of what is possible.
What is becoming clear to me is that the key to the high performing model is to connect the social potential of the Trusted Space to Leadership that is intensely personal and capable and to put it all into a social container that fits magic numbers.
Let's look a bit more deeply at the leader role now.
This is not about "we are all leaders" in our hearts we know that this is just bull. In a true high performance organization - power is highly decentralized but not to every person but instead to the key nodes. In the Legion this is the Centurion, in the Royal navy of the peak time, it is the Ship's Captain.
The life of an officer in the Royal Navy of this time was much like the life of a Centurion. In a time of extreme patronage, the Navy depended on a Darwinian selection process. Command was a merit issue - it had to be. To become a captain, you had to be a master mariner, a master of leading men and a master war fighter. You learned in the full glare of the crew and of your peers. It was a small world and your reputation was your greatest asset. Leadership was public and it was personal - no hiding in the corner office!
If you as a Lieutenant won the trust of your captain, you would move with him. When got your first ship, you would then come to the attention of the Admiralty.
The Centurion and the Royal Navy Officer had to master an extremely complex range of skills. Mastery had to be so total that they make the best call in a moment. There would be no time for thought. Mastering the role of command in the age of sail was so challenging that it could only be learned firsthand. Yes there were exams - the Lieutenant exam being the doorway to the ladder - but only experience could enable the captain to handle the complexity of leading a frigate. The job was so challenging that you had to start to learn it as a boy.
When you watch Master and Commander, you note that the ship is full of boys. These are not the the surly hoodies of our time but young men. We have banished our boys to a zero world. No wonder they join gangs or act out. Challenge is the food that these boys are fed. But also they know that they are loved. In high performing human organizations, young men are activated into becoming adults.
There is a deliberate connection made between the mature and the adolescent. The young learn command from experiencing it.
I could go on and on but this is already too long for a post.
So onto my next example.
Years ago I won in a raffle dinner for 4 at Fire Station Number 1 in Toronto with the crew and the Deputy Chief. As I heard the chief speak, I knew that all my ideas about how an organization should be organized were wrong.
I was an investment banker then. We knew all about motivating performance - it was all about pay! We knew all about leadership, they all went to graduate school. We knew all about teams - they were held together by money.
Here is what the Toronto fire department believe about who they are:
Teamwork is everything. Whether it is sharing routine tasks at the fire station or providing fire fighting services at an emergency scene. Firefighters depend on each other to successfully perform their duties.
As team members, Firefighter live and work together in close quarters throughout a shift. Living at the fire station means that all team members are responsible for station housekeeping....
Firefighting is not a 9-5 job. It is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week public service
Here is their credo
Courage to move forward. Compassion in everything we do. Service without boundaries
Like the sail Royal Navy or the Legion, every firefighter joins at the bottom.
They live together while on duty and this is their tent
The road to command can only be taken as a consequence of selection and experience.
After 8 years, a firefighter can elect to shift to the command track. He or she can now take the Captain's exams. Often friends who elect to stay firefighters will act as coaches. If you pass - like the Lieutenant's exam in the age of sail - you are on the ladder but as also in the Navy or the Legion (The Optio) you have to wait for an opening and the confidence of the senior command. As with both the Navy and the Legion - there can be no hiding. You have it or you don't and all know.
As a captain you command a truck. After a period of years as a successful Captain, you can take your chief's exam. Again, some Captains choose not to. There is no dishonor in not going up.
if you pass your chief's exams you again wait for a place and for the confidence of the Senior chiefs. Then you command a station - there is a hierarchy here too just as in the Legion or the Navy.
Head office is administrative. Firefighters use doctrine again to guide them in action. This is how many stations can come together in a major fire and all know what to do. This is how a firefighter from another country can be seconded and fit in.
In a fire, you have to know that you can rely on your mates. This is why you live together on duty. You don't just hang out, you live together. Meals are cooked, the place is cleaned.
Training is largely practical. Again in a fire there is no time to think. You have to make the best call instantly - only masses of experience can give you that edge.
Nothing must get in the way of the team. So pay is all linked to personal expertise and to time.
All the social/work numbers are well within the Magic Numbers. if very large numbers are required, they are created by scaling the magic number units - the number of bells = the scale.
Overall the pay is not that high. Yet the brigade has no trouble in recruiting. It is not pay that brings people in or keeps them. It is the experience of being with people that you love and doing great work that is difficult and dangerous.
I feel satisfied that I am seeing replication and hence that this model for high performing human organizations is the post kinship tribe that any human can use.
Tomorrow, I will share my oberservations about how I see this model emerge as a conseuence of the web
The theme for reboot9 this year is "Human".
Please help me as I fool around with some of my ideas. I speak better when I have had a chance to sketch out my thoughts so if you don't mind, I am going to play around with some of the ideas here.
I am going to talk about what would a human organization be like that really performed well. What would a human organization be like if it was truly Natural? I think that if there was a real natural model it would be always replicable and it would not depend on magic. It would have a basis in math as do all relationships in nature. Ants, Lions, Oak trees, Suns do not need vision and charismatic leadership to organize to their optimal potential. Nor should people - nor did we. But I get ahead of myself......
When we think of organizations - we tend to think of them as ones that look like this.
They are neat and tidy. They are like a "well oiled machine".
They have parts, or departments, that have specific roles that have to be coordinated and directed by great leaders.
We think that high performing organizations have "Great Leaders" - all our management books talk about this requirement. All the millions of organizations hope to find a great leader. Great leadership is seen as the holy grail. If you get a great leader - you will win. Pity there are so few of them around. Sad to have a model that depends on such a scarce resource.
We think that high performing organizations are efficient. To be efficient, great organizations have to know know what they are doing and where they are going. So the key to a great organization is to have a Strategy based on an appreciation of the overall context. Then they develop a clear and focused mission. They have as little redundancy as possible. The best organizations are highly aligned to the goal of the mission. So in the current model all depends on knowing what is going on and how best to act. Oh if only the world could slow down and be more predictable again like it was say in the 1950's.
In the best organizations today, middle management is frowned on as an idea. It is the current whiz to talk about decentralizing power direct to the workers. Teams and individuals are seen as the panacea. But after the great leader tries this for a while - he often finds that little gets done and gets frustrated. They tend to centralize again. Not a lot of fun for those inside. So what is the model then - decentralized or centralized?
I could go on. The bottom line is that we think that organizations are machines.
Machines with brilliant leaders who can see the world with clarity and who know best where to go and how to get there. The shame is that the people in them are so difficult to deal with. But it's the only model we have and if we tried hard enough we surely will make it work. If we got a leader like Alexander the Great we would be fine.
I think that all of this is false. Everybody believes it to be true but then everybody believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe and that it was flat too.
This idea of how an organization should work is a dogma.
A dogma that is reinforced by the gatekeepers of the orthodoxy - the new church of business schools and consultants who punish heretics - just as the Church shut up Galileo.
My intention is to refute utterly this dogma about what an organization is. I intend to show you, as Galileo was able to show those who could choose to see, that if you get enough perspective, you can see beyond the immediate and the obvious to what is really there in nature.
Galileo used a telescope to show the moons of Jupiter. This is what he showed people. This is his working paper where he showed the new reality. That moons swung around Jupiter and had a relationship with Earth that proved that Earth also orbited the sun. He used a telescope as a tool to get sufficient perspective to make this observation. I have been struggling and fussing to find my moons of Jupiter. My self imposed goal to find an observable, replicable, math based, emergent and hence natural and hence human model for a high performing organization that would knock the dogma organization for six. I think I have found it! Instead of a telescope, I have used time to get enough perspective to see what what was hidden from us. I have been disciplined in seeking my "Moons". What I found meets the conditions of Science. As I recall, Science has to be observable, repeatable and hence it has to have a
coherent mathematical underpinning. A Natural, and hence Human Organization, must share the principles of all organizations in Nature. In Nature, organizations do not need brilliant top down leadership. They need only good initial conditions. Good natural organizations will naturally tend to excellence. They don't need a vision or a strategy. They need to have an inherent ability to react appropriately to changing conditions. They do not drive dysfunction or ill health, they do the opposite. Healthy natural organizations increase the overall well being of all their members. Their purpose is to allow the group to reach its optimal potential. The organization that I have found through the telescope of time - has all these properties - does yours? In addition to these principles, unlike Dogma, everything that is truly based in
Nature has relationships that are mathematically
consistent and replicable in all cases. Light or gravity are not variables that shift depending on scientific whims. The organization that I have found is based on the Magic Numbers of how humans relate best to each other. What are the mathematical truths about your organization? In Nature, the best designs evolve until they reach an optimum. The organization that I have found had a 400 year development period and then settled into the ideal, after massive crisis, for a 400 year period of excellence. How long since your last reorg? The power of the design of the organization that I have found is so great that it has left a 2,000 year design legacy in modern organizations that have to deliver extreme performance today. Later today I will open up my kimono and tell you more.
Galileo used a telescope to show the moons of Jupiter. This is what he showed people.
This is his working paper where he showed the new reality. That moons swung around Jupiter and had a relationship with Earth that proved that Earth also orbited the sun.
He used a telescope as a tool to get sufficient perspective to make this observation.
I have been struggling and fussing to find my moons of Jupiter. My self imposed goal to find an observable, replicable, math based, emergent and hence natural and hence human model for a high performing organization that would knock the dogma organization for six.
I think I have found it!
Instead of a telescope, I have used time to get enough perspective to see what what was hidden from us.
I have been disciplined in seeking my "Moons". What I found meets the conditions of Science.
As I recall, Science has to be observable, repeatable and hence it has to have a coherent mathematical underpinning. A Natural, and hence Human Organization, must share the principles of all organizations in Nature.
In Nature, organizations do not need brilliant top down leadership. They need only good initial conditions. Good natural organizations will naturally tend to excellence. They don't need a vision or a strategy. They need to have an inherent ability to react appropriately to changing conditions. They do not drive dysfunction or ill health, they do the opposite. Healthy natural organizations increase the overall well being of all their members. Their purpose is to allow the group to reach its optimal potential.
The organization that I have found through the telescope of time - has all these properties - does yours?
In addition to these principles, unlike Dogma, everything that is truly based in Nature has relationships that are mathematically consistent and replicable in all cases. Light or gravity are not variables that shift depending on scientific whims. The organization that I have found is based on the Magic Numbers of how humans relate best to each other. What are the mathematical truths about your organization?
In Nature, the best designs evolve until they reach an optimum.
The organization that I have found had a 400 year development period and then settled into the ideal, after massive crisis, for a 400 year period of excellence. How long since your last reorg?
The power of the design of the organization that I have found is so great that it has left a 2,000 year design legacy in modern organizations that have to deliver extreme performance today.
Later today I will open up my kimono and tell you more.