“Not knowing what the rules were, I was free to innovate (…). Our long-term patterns of flexible home-working and remote management came about not just from theoretical idealism but also from a practical necessity. They evolved because they were what worked. Paying for work done rather than hours worked made it easier to cost projects in advance; trusting people to manage their own time was not just effective but considerably easier than trying to keep control of every details of every project remotely.”
“Compared with a conventional company, we were treating our free lancers like adults: trusting them, as intelligent, motivated people, to make the best use of the available to them in order to achieve the goals they had been set.”
“(…) what we called a dual-management system.”
Yes, a soft promising music with recurrent notes in the main melody: R.A.F.T.S like respect, adult, fairness, trust, self-learning; and a sense of variation and flexibility around it, as if change was fully ingrained in the music played by that orchestra.
The lines above are extracts from Dame Stephanie Shirley biography Let it Go; and they describe something thought around 1965-1970; yes, about 50 years ago. Now, many things have happens during these 50 years. With the advance of behavioral psychology and the development of neurosciences, countless research have confirmed that key behavioral traits assist in developing performing and successful business, these traits leading to company cultures anchored in values such as…. respect, trust, fairness, self-learning. OK, the word adult is missing, of course, this word does not describe a value, it is how we see others, and in this case how we consider people working with us.
Fascinating isn’t it? Especially now, when reading the book “Reinventing Organizations” from Frederic Laloux. With this book, he researched several companies following self-management approach, and looking at their basic work ethics assumptions he copied from them the following tow statements:
“(People) are creative, thoughtful, trustworthy adults, capable of making important decisions” “People are systematically considered to be good (Reliable, self-motivated, trustworthy, intelligent)”.
It seems this echoes nicely our R.A.F.T.S idea: Respect, Adult, Fairness, Trust, Self-learning; and behind this R.A.F.T.S melody, I see the word “Autonomy” written all over the board, with the addition of agile and flexibility. I would even add to that Authenticity, as developing one lead to the other.
For more information on developing autonomy and partnership, check our series “Coaching in the Corporate World”.