Self Driving Team

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Self Driving Team

Today I would like to start a mini-excursus dedicated to “Autonomous teams” or to those team models that postulate a very high level of independence of the teams with respect to hierarchical leadership.

It is a very exciting and contemporary topic, which is why the discussion is starting to be extended, in short: everyone likes the idea of ​​leading or being part of self-coordinating teams, but let’s start from the beginning or where this desire comes from of autonomy.

Michael Tomasello in “Why We Cooperate” states that human culture is distinguished by two fundamental elements that allow us to collaborate.

Cumulative cultural evolution. Human behavioral artifacts and practices often become more complex over time. An individual invents an artifact or a way of doing things that proves effective, and others quickly assimilate it. Since each version of the practice will remain firmly in the group’s heritage until someone comes up with an even more innovative and perfected idea (the cultural ratchet).

The ability to build and recognize systems of rules and norms of such complexity as to support the structure of sophisticated social institutions. The combination of these two very distinctive characteristics is made possible by a single common attitude, our ability to transcend cooperation and to be able to collaborate.

In his words, “This sense of doing something together, which creates expectations and even mutual rights and duties, is uniquely human. (…). The sense of acting together can grow in scale until it reaches the kind of collective intentionality that allows institutionally very complex actions”.

Therefore, the desire to collaborate and to fulfill oneself individually and as a team, coupled with contexts that require constant innovation and transformation stimulate our human nature at a very deep level and, as we have already met with @StefanoSusani in #ilteamgiusto, lead us to the top of Maslow’s pyramid, where we find “Belonging” “Esteem” and “Self-realization”.

The power of this stimulus is a very interesting element for team builders, since a relaxation of the control aspects seems to be followed by an increase in the results of the team itself.

But “The devil is in the details” and we will see how this approach to team governance requires fundamental pre-conditions and precise operational mechanisms and that, above all, it is not suitable for any type of organization or sub-group.

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