Community Publications

We’ll use this thread to announce and discuss the release of new publications from community members.

Today we’ve published the next exciting installment in @HeidiHVL’s excellent series on “Managing with Open Values.” The piece covers the second part of @HeidiHVL’s conversation with Braxton, a manager at a nationwide U.S. insurance firm. From the article:

… we explored what it was like to learn firsthand about open source values, and how to use them to transform an organization. In particular, we discussed the value of feedback, managing resistance to using open values, and how the management practice of creating shared purpose caused unexpected benefits for a team with dissimilar roles. It’s another enlightening conversation, one that allowed us to witness—directly—how someone transformed Open Organization community-driven workshop material into dynamic change with benefits for him, his team, and his organization.

As always, @HeidiHVL has also included the audio of her conversation with Braxton—so you can hear every detail.

Check it out:

Today, contributor Sim Zacks is back with another great rumination on everyday life in open organizations. This one’s about “taking your place in a meritocracy”—how to accrue the credit you deserve in a place where the best ideas should always win. From the article:

Dealing with either of those incredibly frustrating situations without appearing petty is difficult. But getting credit for your ideas and work is critical in today’s organizational environments, especially those that aspire to be well-functioning meritocracies. Promotions, bonuses, and other forms of recognition (such as the opportunity to lead the project you proposed) are all generally based on performance. If people don’t know you contributed, you’ll likely be continually overlooked.

Catch it here:

Open Organization Ambassador Ron McFarland has just wrapped his series on open organizations and globalization. The final installment is now live. From the piece:

In this final installment of the series, I will continue my review of Sachs’ book by examining two more recent historical settings, the Industrial Age and the Digital Age, to explain how open principles have shaped more recent trends in globalization—and how these principles will be integral to our global future.

Don’t miss it here:

Open Organization Ambassador Heidi Hess von Ludewig has published the next installment of her series on “Managing with Open Values.” This piece represents the final part of her interview series with Braxton. From the interview:

Braxton demonstrates how the path to a more open team culture is organic, created by the team for the team, emerging in its own time through the involvement and participation of the team community. It “wasn’t painful but it wasn’t fast.” he says. Too often, leaders have schedules that can undermine the adoption of cultural change, but having a flexible timeline is something that open leaders must embrace and allow for if they want open values to take root and thrive in the organization.

As always, this piece features recorded audio of the interview—so you can listen along. It’s all right here:

Returning contributor Sim Zacks has just published another great piece: “Leading the relationship with your manager.” In Sim’s words, that relationship is:

… often the catalyst that defines both your work experience and job satisfaction, a relationship you want to take by the reins and lead, instead of sitting back and allowing its negative aspects to fester. The ultimate employee/manager relationship you should strive for is more of a partnership , one in which you and your manager work together to accomplish your mutual goals. In this article, I’ll discuss strategies for doing this.

Check it out:

Today Open Organization Ambassador Ron McFarland has published a new article at “When the best ideas win, do we recognize everyone who shaped them?” The article is first in a new series about open organizations and innovation.

Here’s the introduction:

We’ve said that open organizations are places where the best ideas win. But what are “the best” ideas, and where do they actually come from? And how do our answers to these questions shape how we reward contribution in an open organization? Matt Ridley’s recent book, How Innovation Works, may offer some insights. In this three-part review of the book, I’ll look at the relationship between innovation and open organization principles. How do they interact and intersect? How might embracing open organization principles encourage innovative projects and products—and how might it refine our thinking about “invention” and “innovation” in the first place?

Read on here:

Today, @HeidiHVL has published the latest entry in her “Managing with Open Values” series. This episode features the first part of her conversation with @amatlack!

From the article:

Allison has a unique perspective on the practice of managing with open values because she was familiar with working in an open organization before becoming a manager, and therefore needed to learn how to practice the values differently as she transitioned to a manager role at Red Hat. That was “easier said than done,” as she put it during our discussion, because of a manager’s responsibilities for helping and coaching individuals on their team, specifically regarding performance and development.

Don’t forget to enjoy the audio recording of their excellent conversation!

More here:

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Today, @HeidiHVL is back, bringing us the second part of her interview with @amatlack. And it’s a great one. As @HeidiHVL explains:

Allison’s unique perspective on management stems from a passionate focus on empowerment and using guidelines and accountability systems to help her team connect to their own intrinsic motivation. In fact, a few years ago, Allison and I were part of a group of associates trying to support and advance the concept of empowerment in our organization. As a specific open management practice, empowerment is important for her and her team, specifically because the nature of their work varies so much—each person needs to be able to make decisions about their work within specific guidelines.

Don’t miss the audio, too!

Check it out:

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This past Sunday, @ronmcfarl published the latest installment in his series on open organizations and innovation. In this piece, Ron explores the characteristics that make certain environments most conducive to innovation. Unsurprisingly, those environments tend to be open environments. From the piece:

In this second part of my review of Matt Ridley’s book How Innovation Works , I will explain the ideal environment in which discoveries are born, protected, and progress into useful products and services, considering certain essential conditions for innovations to flourish. And I will argue that open organization principles are the keys to establishing those conditions.

Read the rest here:

Today, Open Organization Ambassador @ronmcfarl concluded his sweeping, three-part review of How Innovation Works by Matt Ridley. The third installment in the series examines how openness has been key to innovation throughout history. From the article:

Innovations come from humble places, Ridley’s argues, and large, bureaucratic corporations were not particularly good at developing innovative products. Instead, small, loosely assembled communities (open organizations with front line teams) have been more innovative throughout history. They have been far more capable of exploring new concepts, particularly if they have a wide base of contributions to work with.

Be sure to read the entire piece here:

Did you miss this series? Catch up here:

As 2020 draws to a close, I’ve published a roundup of our top five most-read pieces of the year. Check them out here:

And in case you missed last week’s announcement: We’ve released the first version of our community’s latest book, Human at a Distance: An Open Organization Guide to Distributed Teamwork. Check out @laura’s post for more!

Today we’ve published our first article of 2021! The honor goes to Open Organization @ronmcfarl, who brings us “How open principles will impact the future of work.” From the article:

Consider the transformation of work throughout the Industrial Revolution (between the 1700s and 1800s). It drove many people from rural farm work into factories in the cities, fundamentally altering their lifestyles. It required new, more specialized skills (rather than the kind of artisanship common in rural economies). As we examine our own personal work environments in the decades to come, we’ll see a potential reversal of the trends we saw during the Industrial era: from hierarchy and interchangeable general skills and activities to the reinstatement of horizontal collaboration and more specialized mastery (back to artisanship). This time, though, these changes come on a global scale rather than a local one, and the speed of change is far more accelerated. And in this new work environment, open organization principles will play a vital role.

Read the rest here:

Ambassador @ronmcfarl has today published the second instalment of his series on openness and the future of work, " How to thrive in our changing work environments." From the article:

This is the second article in a series on the future of work, as explained in The Shift, a book by Professor Lynda Gratton. Previously, I presented Gratton’s thoughts on five forces that will impact work in the future. In this article, I’ll provide more detail on what Gratton says will be the results of these forces. These forces will create new global work environments, and we must face those new environments head-on. If we fail to plan, Gratton argues, we’ll be impacted in negative ways. As I will argue, applying open organization principles to our planning will be critical for our success.

Don’t miss this one:

Open Organization Ambassador @ronmcfarl has today published the third and final instalment in his ongoing series about open organizations and the future of work, “A guide to planning the next 50 years of your career.” The series is an extended (and extensive) review of The Shift by Lynda Gratton.

From the piece:

To be successful in this future environment, however, you must (1) be willing and able to learn, (2) be able to build social networks among diverse individuals, and (3) have the emotional drive to make hard choices that will create happiness for you and others. There are the three “shifts” to which Gratton alludes in the title of her book. Let me explain each one.

@ronmcfarl’s article goes on to do just that. Please check it out and share with anyone you feel might be interested:

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Returning contributor @ldimaggi has published a new article today: “An open approach to recovering from burnout.” From the piece:

There are countless books, articles, and videos available to help you deal with burnout. They approach the topic from a social, psychological, or mental health perspective. Further to these resources, in what ways can an open approach help you to avoid or recover from burnout?

@ldimaggi provides some useful tips for thinking collaboratively and transparently about strategies for doing this. Check it out:

Last week, author and ambassador @HeidiHVL published the latest piece in her fantastic series on “Managing with Open Values.” This installment begins a conversation with open manager @samknuth, who talks about the complexities of with leading other managers.

From the article:

Among other reasons, I wanted to interview Sam because I wanted to learn about “how to lead and manage managers” using open values—that is, how to empower them to use open values in their management practices—and how this work differs from, say, managing front-line contributors. Because of the confidentiality of some of the answers (we are colleagues at Red Hat after all), I am summarizing the interview in a series of articles that highlight and share some of Sam’s most memorable observations and practices.

As always, @HeidiHVL’s article includes excellent audio clips from her conversation with @samknuth. Don’t miss it:

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Another great article drops today: “Elevating open leaders by getting out of their way” by Open Organization Ambassador @JosGroen. It’s the first in a series on open organizations and talent management. From the article:

The way these organizations apply open principles to developing their internal talent—that is, how they facilitate and encourage talented employees to develop and advance in all layers of the organization—is a critical component of their sustainability and success. The organizations have achieved an important kind of “flow,” through which talented employees can easily shift to the places in the organization where they can add the most value based on their talents, skills, and intrinsic motivators. Flow ensures fresh ideas and new impulses. After all, the best idea can originate anywhere in the organization—no matter where a particular employee may be located.

Check it out—and be sure to follow the series!

The first Open Org Book Chat for Human at a Distance is now public on YouTube today. Ambassador’s who contributed to this panel are @laura @bcotton @amatlack and @jenkelchner


Today we’ve published the second installment of @JosGroen’s series on open organizations and talent management. From the piece:

As human beings, we have been conditioned to make primarily rational choices (that is, to make choices primarily with our brains). Most of the time, however, this mode of decision making is instinctive and quick. So when we’re facing decisions in our organizations, that means we’re most commonly opting for quick, short-term, results (the results we can deduce and “process” the fastest). But that emphasis on rationality means that we don’t often see in advance how our decision will influence our employees or make them feel . It also means that we leave precious little time to involve others in our decision-making practices. In short, the essential balance between people and business gets lost in the need for speedy calculations.

@JosGroen explains why we need to change our decision-making habits to foster talent in our open organizations. Check it out: