A manifesto for the next 20 years
March 20, 2021 ∞
This year is the 20 year anniversary of the agile manifesto, and wow, have we learned and improved thanks to it. Yes, we have argued and, yes, things have not always gone like we wished. But overall, our workplaces have improved drastically as a result of the energy created from that manifesto.
Look around us today, though, and what’s written in the agile manifesto is not nearly as relevant to us anymore. The world has changed. Old problems have been worked on and new ones have surfaced. The agile manifesto doesn’t work as a guide for us anymore.
Much of recent energy and ambition in improving our workplaces can be summarized under the term Teal, popularized in the very inspiring book Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux. The catch is that in many contexts, these ideas have so far mostly been an inspiration of how things can be better in other, new, organizations. We have fallen short in the domain of making these ideas applicable in current organizations with existing structures and current states.
Like the agile manifesto did 20 years ago, maybe we can create actionable energy right now by writing a ”teal manifesto”? One where each item, like in the agile manifesto, is workable from any current state. Where a direction is set that we can move gradually towards.
Manifesto for organizational wholeness
In service of a sustainable future, we recognize that our organizations must transform through integration of all what is.
We integrate the perspectives of all who work in our organization by making accountability shared equally among us. Mandate is not taken away, and thus does not need to be delegated.
We integrate the benefits of our work with everyone affected by it. Employees, customers, suppliers, investors, community, society and the planet are all to benefit on equal standing.
We integrate learnings in the present as we go, realizing that the only worthwhile evaluation is one that leads to a next action. We trust in our collective ability to do the right thing in any given situation.
No matter our current state, we follow our hearts and common sense, trusting it will take us towards organizational wholeness.
I’ve also given this manifesto its own page on my site, check it out.
If you’re familiar with the definition of Teal in Reinventing organizations, you’ll notice that the two first points reflect two of the defining characteristics set out in the book: self-management, and evolutionary purpose, respectively. The third defining charesteristic from the book is wholeness, which I see as so fundamental that I’ve made it the entire point of the manifesto. To me, wholeness (and sustainability as a result) is the very reason that we would want to make this type of movement.
The third point of this manifesto is, instead, the continuous learning process. From my experience and observations of this type of new organizations, this is the integral point that makes the organization work. Making and following plans simply doesn’t work in a network based organization. We should probably have learned this from the agile manifesto even on an organizational level, but, alas, this point is as critical as ever.
My intent is that this could be something both inspirational and actionable. What are your thoughts and ideas? Please join the discussion for this post on LinkedIn or get in touch with me directly. Let’s co-create these ideas together!