You probably know the adage: Self-organization needs leadership – surely you, as a specialist or manager, try to introduce this more and more into the company, but it really doesn’t want to spark. The employees keep asking for a boss and it doesn’t really work out. Situations like the one in the picture are unfortunately not uncommon.

project limits
Without a process – no action – no self-organization!

But why does it fail? Basically, based on my research, I can say that in every company a certain number of employees simply do not feel like organizing themselves. “Tell me what to do and I’ll do it between 9 am and 5 pm”. Most of the time, these employees are very hardworking and important to the company. In my experience, it even correlates with the Rogers theory in the picture.

Rogers Diffusion Theory
Rogers shows the willingness to buy new products such as the Apple Watch

If you want to increase self-organization in the company, 2.5% of employees usually do this on their own and often infect 13.5% with self-organization. This is often easy – now the first 34% follow, which you can often move with coaches or a little pressure. Now comes the peak: It is usually worthwhile to take the late majority in the company with you, because the coaching effort is too high measured for the benefit and it is often okay if half of the company goes along with it.There are always enough areas that can be handled without self-organization .

Conclusion: self-organization needs to be responsible!

Now to the conclusion and my tips on how a high level of self-organization can still be achieved. Take a look at the following picture: Nobody really takes responsibility. Whats going on here?

Not everyone would like to take responsibility

What is a project manager without a sense of responsibility, a support employee who ignores emails and a product owner who doesn’t really “own” his product? Definitely not self-organized! As a manager, make sure that your employees take their own work into their own hands and take responsibility. The attitude: “It’s not my company and the boss will fix it, deserves enough” to be transformed into a positive attitude, because we are all one company and together we have to make the world a little bit smaller!

Image-Source: Fotolia.de 2016 – buyed License

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Image-Source Titlepicture: Fotolia.de 2016 – buyed License

Dr. Dominic Lindner
Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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