Susan Basterfield is a member and foundation director of Enspiral, a network of people and organizations at the forefront of the global self-organizing movement. Ventures within Enspiral are building companies in a very different way than any other network I’ve come across yet: as they build tools, products, and ventures, the global Enspiral ecosystem is reinventing how work gets done and continually open-sourcing the practices they invent as an expression of the underlying cultural DNA which is decentralization, openness, transparency, trust, autonomy, and love—all without traditional hierarchies.
This conversation is definitely one that expanded my conceptual horizons. Many people will find these ideas to be radically different than anything they’ve come across before. Once you grok them, I think you’ll find these ideas very exciting because it’ll suddenly hit you that, holy crap, this can actually work, I can see a path to making it work, and even though it might be hard it’s almost certainly worth it.
For the first half or so of this conversation, Susan and I attempt to establish a conceptual foundation and nail down what often feels like a moving target, and then we shift gears and focus on how you can start applying this. Some of the things we cover:
- how an organization can work without bosses through the practices of self management
- what consensus actually means — hint, it’s not what you probably think it is!
- and, how with a transparent and participatory governance system, how you can take everyone’s opinion into account and actually still make decisions and get things done
- the evolution of the Enspiral network and the principles that underlie all the practices involved
- how to approach product development in an organic, bottom-up
- some of the common criticisms to self-management and decentralized system of governance
- why the breakthrough of self-management and participatory governance are ideas whose time has come
Susan purpose is to end suffering in the workplace. She is a member and foundation director of Enspiral, a global network of people and organizations at the forefront of the self-organizing movement.
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