Feb. 11, 2020

#10 Susan Basterfield: decentralized team structures and participatory decision-making

Susan Basterfield’s 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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Show notes

  • How Susan went bungee jumping... and met her husband [0:03:42]
  • What is Enspiral? [0:08:39]
  • What are the different types of roles and engagement within the Enspiral network? [0:10:45]
  • "What we really are at Enspiral is healthy power relationships and practice" [0:17:41]
  • How do things get done in Enspiral? [0:18:02]
  • The greatest gift Enspiral gave itself: culture first, THEN tools [0:19:37]
  • How their decentralized governance tools (Loomio & CoBudget) emerged [0:20:03]
  • How should we think about consensus? [0:24:18]
  • "The most important thing about decision making is deciding how you want to decide, making that transparent, and then also deciding what actually does a real block mean?" [0:25:11]
  • Scaffolding vs frameworks [0:27:21]
  • How does a new venture get set up in Enspiral? [0:29:41]
  • Do ventures have to contribute X% of their profits to the foundation? [0:34:52]
  • How is Enspiral building a deliberately developmental culture? [0:36:20]
  • "If we want to change the possibility for the future, we need to be prepared to come together in configurations and groups of people we've maybe never met before, to do things we've never done before. Organizations provide all of the fodder for us to do our ongoing development, we just don't frame it that way." [0:38:46]
  • How learning & development (L&D) thinking needs to evolve [0:43:28]
  • "We need to create the conditions for us to experiment, to play, to fail, to notice, to reflect." [0:48:46]
  • Why is this an idea whose time has come? [0:50:02]
  • The power of using a check-in to start meetings [0:53:59]
  • Are these ideas that can be added to an existing organization? Or do you need a clean slate? [0:57:09]
  • "Nobody leads all of the time, everybody leads some of the time. Followership is as important a gift as leadership." [0:59:54]
  • Why is it worth it to transition to this way of working? [1:01:53]
  • "You might never change the system, but if you can change the experience for yourself and your comrades, that's a great outcome too." [1:03:58]
  • How can product leaders start implementing this? [1:05:23]
  • How do we make it safe to try practices like this, if it doesn't feel that way? [1:13:51]
  • Why is most feedback unhelpful? [1:20:52]

People, books, companies, resources etc mentioned in episode

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