As we implemented AEquacy, any hierarchy was abandoned. We moved from titles to dynamic roles. Each role has:
- a purpose directly linked with the overarching company purpose,
- a scope which is the area of authority of the role or the perimeter inside which the role-holder can take any decision (unless it moves the company backward or damages another role), and
- a few accountabilities.
As a team, we decided that each role shall have a maximum of three accountabilities to maintain a strong focus on what is really important. This doesn’t mean that we don’t care about anything else, there are many tasks that we need to do anyway, but the focus on three accountabilities helps us a lot to avoid scattering our energy and time in too many projects. When we were hierarchical we would craft a yearly strategy, then we would communicate… ooops… download some goals to the team, who should passively receive. Does this ring any bell to you? We would have a mid-term check-in in July only to realize that the goals should have changed according to changes in the business environment, but then it was too late.
New ideas by each team member are received in a very open way and the practice we follow is the consent decision-making: every proposal is accepted unless it moves the company backward, damages other roles, or generates issues bigger than those it solves. And the principle of “safe enough to try”, knowing that we can change the decision in the future, makes us bolder than before instead of only playing on the safe side.
Many people ask us how we deal with poor performance. Since the AEquacy inception, we never experienced poor performance because we give each other feedback on an on-going basis and publicly. All the feedbacks are published in an online platform that every member can access and are given with the purpose of supporting individuals to express their full potential. We shall keep in mind that the structure, the processes (and the underlying mindset) of an organization shape employees’ behavior. If there are layers of supervisors controlling how and how much people work, the message that employees get is that they are not trustworthy, maybe lazy, for sure incapable of self-management. In hierarchical environments, employees are, at best, parented by their bosses and they behave accordingly. If the environment in which the employee works sends a different message such as “we trust that you can come up with the right goals and ideas and execution”, they will be empowered to bring their best at work. It is a self-fulfilling dynamic.
Back to Asterys, one team member – in rotation – plays the role of the Coach and while facilitating team meetings, they keep an eye on team dynamics and facilitate potential conflict resolution processes.
In our company, leadership is required by everyone, because initiating change and pioneering new methodologies, processes or technologies is everyone’s job, not a privilege of a “boss”.
We (the shareholders) let go of our “power over”. Power over isolates any team leader, boss or CEO and is a huge source of disempowerment. We instead embraced our “power with”, which creates collective power, collaboration and equitable relations.
The bottom-line of running AEquacy since 2017? Better work-flow and collaboration, much higher innovation, less time spent on bureaucratic tasks, and more fulfilled and accountable associates. Oh, I forgot… we experienced a substantial increase of revenues and although we cannot trace the whole result back to AEquacy, we sense that it had a pivotal role in reaching it.