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Tame the Primitive Brain: 28 Ways in 28 Days to Manage the Most Impulsive Behaviors at Work by Mark Bowden

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Day 17

Hierarchy

No Such Thing as a Flat Organization

Every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.

—Dr. Laurence J. Peter

Today you’ll tame:

  • The urge to climb to the top of the heap
The Information Technology restructure project was an important one, and needed a new approach. The boss had just come back from a retreat where he’d been completely star-struck by a business guru’s latest thinking on Organizational Design, where companies would work toward leveling out hierarchies in the workplace. Before taking any time to properly process what he’d heard, and think more carefully about if this ideal could effectively be applied to his company’s current circumstances, he sent an announcement to his entire organization, which read as follows:
We are putting together a completely self-managed, elite team. It’s based on total autonomy of the individual contributor. You will self-select to join with an open-door policy; if you aren’t contributing fully, then you should take time out. Never move forward without 100% concordance on any decisions.
In turn, a large number of the employees self-elected themselves to sign up, as per this instruction. In the days that followed, scheduling any kind of team meeting for this group became impossible—individuals opted instead to participate in splinter group meetings that took place among like-minded factions. Individual members of these factions would then approach the boss for signoff on their clique’s decisions.
Amongst this ...

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