Hack The Organisation: 6 Personal changes

The best way to change the future of work is to change how we interact.

The Responsive Organisation Manifesto recognizes that there are fundamental changes afoot in the nature of work and calls for action to make our organisations more purposeful, responsive, more engaging, more empowering, more networked, more mobile and more community oriented. Groups like Change Agents Worldwide are working to help organisations with services and solutions to navigate these big changes.

Hacking Organisations is Hard

There’s lots of enthusiasm for big change. Big change is hard. There is a lot yet to be worked out. The decision making processes take time. Experiments are required. Not all of us feel we have the power to make big change.

There are things we each can do now. In our control. Today.

Hack Yourself First

Organisations are made up of individuals. The pattern of interactions of those people determine purpose, processes, decisions, use of resources & ultimately culture. Changing these interactions is more important than changing roles, hierarchy and many of the other formal organisation trappings. There are too many companies that changed their hierarchy and found things still work the same way as ever.

We can each have an impact on the future of work by changing our own behaviours first. If we change our own interactions that contributes to change. View each new interaction as an experiment. Is it worthwhile enough to inspire others to copy it?

Six Personal Behaviour Hacks for a More Responsive Organisation

Here are some simple triggers of our common organizational life where we can adopt new responsive habits

  1. Discuss Purpose Upfront: Purpose is a critical aspect of intrinsic motivation and engagement. So why don’t we discuss it more? What’s the trigger for a purpose conversation: starting something new. Get connection to purpose clear at the start.
  2. Work Out Loud: I recently outlined a simple way to start working out loud by trying three new habits: Describe, Interact and Recognise. Give these new habits a go and discover the power of networks.
  3. Experiment.: Decision making is the engine of real power in organisations. Far too much is decided on the instincts of hierarchies. Next time you have a trigger of being asked for a decision, adopt a new habit of inviting those asking for a decision to conduct an experiment instead. If you need a decision from up the hierarchy, what experiment can you run to prove your case instead?
  4. Allocate Accountabilities for Outcomes, not Tasks: Next time you face the trigger of needing a job to be done, allocate the entire accountability for the outcome to a team or to an individual. If you are being given a task, ask for accountability for the whole outcome. Let accountability surprise you as to how best the outcome be achieved.
  5. Coach: Dan Pontefract recently highlighted coaching was a requirement of connected leaders. Start to ask, assist and build capability when you feel the trigger of a need to direct or answer. If you aren’t being coached to success, ask for it.
  6. Measure Outcomes: Measuring performance is not about task completion. Measure outcomes achieved for the individual, organisation, customers and community. Measure impact and value created. Give people the greatest flexibility to deliver the right outcome for themselves, customers and the community. Next time you are coaching someone or being coached, frame the conversation in these terms.

These small changes can have a significant impact on the responsiveness of your work and your leadership. You might even inspire a movement of others to copy you.

These actions alone are not enough. What other hacks or changes can we make? Please post your thoughts in the comments

Working Aloud: Try 3 Tiny Habits

Working aloud requires new habits of work. 3 little habits will help you experiment with techniques and the benefits.

I’ve been reading about BJ Fogg’s tiny habits. In doing so, I realized the tiny habits reflect how I learned to practice new ways of working aloud using enterprise social networking.

How does a busy executive build a habit of working aloud?

Make a decision to build a new habit. Set yourself up with a login and the right apps. Then break your new working aloud habit down into common triggers and simple steps.

I have previously shared that checking in to a social network 3 times a day for 5-15 minutes easily creates the impression of continuous engagement. If there’s always something new from you when people check, then it looks like you are always there.

Here’s some triggers and habits I used to create a new working aloud habit:

Trigger1: First coffee, tea or other beverage
Habit1: Describe Describe one moment in your day ahead. Tell of something you are doing or starting, a visit, conversation or meeting. A post simply stating where you are can work. Everyone has something worth noting.

Trigger2: About to leave for lunch
Habit2: Interact. Like a post or answer a post. Interactions supporting others have great value. Your quick answer can make a difference.

Trigger3: Leaving for the day
Habit3: Recognition Recognise one person or team achievement. Every organisation needs more recognition and there’s something to recognize every day.

That’s it. The community will do the rest. You might not see a response immediately, but if you keep the habits up these posts will draw likes, questions and comments. Then people will ask you questions on other topics which you will answer in Habit2. Over time, people will engage you in the community and its concerns.


Now repeat that process for a few weeks. As a busy executive that may be all the working aloud you will ever do. However, as the habit builds you might find yourself more willing to put time into the community and its rewards. When you are more confident with the habit and relationships in the community, you can swap to new topics and bigger challenges.

Don’t rush. Let the little habits grow from 5-15 minutes 3 times each day. If the benefits aren’t there, stop. However, don’t be surprised if over time the responses change how you work going forward.