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A manifesto for better organisations

How to invest in a high performance culture.

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Some problems with scaling
(and how to fix them)
A manifesto for better organisations
Andrew Ormerod
November 2023
Problems: 1. Produc*vity per head drops off
The ”only focusing on building
and selling product” path
Headcount
Productivity
per
person
~12 ~200
The “also getting good at
being an organisation” path
Spoiler: …but you can
do something about it
2. You begin to lose that “start up” spark
Room to play.
Work is fun.
Politics and bureaucracy.
Rising frustration.
From this…. … to this
3. It’s hard to maintain quality of work
“Too many people!
Customer complaints!
What’s going on?
Quick! Panic!
Micro-manage!”
★★★★★
★★★★★ ★★★★★
founders
first hires
4. Potential for founder burnout increases
Who’s in the team?
Who makes the decisions?
pace slowed poten-al thro0led pressure rises
founders founders
small team large team
The solution: a better operating system
C
o
m
b
i
n
e
d
o
u
t
p
u
t
Poorly func4oning OS
Org goals
Overall mood

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A manifesto for better organisations

  • 1. Some problems with scaling (and how to fix them) A manifesto for better organisations Andrew Ormerod November 2023
  • 2. Problems: 1. Produc*vity per head drops off The ”only focusing on building and selling product” path Headcount Productivity per person ~12 ~200 The “also getting good at being an organisation” path Spoiler: …but you can do something about it
  • 3. 2. You begin to lose that “start up” spark Room to play. Work is fun. Politics and bureaucracy. Rising frustration. From this…. … to this
  • 4. 3. It’s hard to maintain quality of work “Too many people! Customer complaints! What’s going on? Quick! Panic! Micro-manage!” ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ founders first hires
  • 5. 4. Potential for founder burnout increases Who’s in the team? Who makes the decisions? pace slowed poten-al thro0led pressure rises founders founders small team large team
  • 6. The solution: a better operating system C o m b i n e d o u t p u t Poorly func4oning OS Org goals Overall mood
  • 7. C o m b i n e d o u t p u t The solution: a better operating system Well-functioning OS Overall mood Org goals 1. More on target 2. Less wasted effort 3. Higher morale
  • 8. The three components of a great OS Maintaining the necessary context Continually investing in relationships Teaching people to solve customer problems
  • 9. 1. Continually investing in relationships • Consistently put -me and energy into rela-onships and interac-ons • Good rela-onships = context for learning • Good rela-onships = produc-ve conflict = high performance • Good rela-onships = the glue that brings everyone’s efforts together • Rela%onships are a vital asset What Why
  • 10. 2. Maintaining the necessary context What Why • Show people what is important in their role and in the organisation • Reality is constantly changing • Not seeing the wood for the trees is the normal human condition • Getting perspective on your own is hard • People (and teams) need help from outside
  • 11. 3. Teaching people to solve customer problems • Orient everyone to customer problems • Orient leaders and managers to mentoring • Being a learning organisation = getting better at what we do • What we do = solving customer problems • Solving customer problems = how we generate value • Better problem solving = more value creation What Why & more people development!
  • 12. Problems with scaling (and how to fix them) • Problems • Productivity per head drops off • You lose the “start up” spark • Hard to maintain quality of work • Increased potential for founder burnout • Solution • Have a better operating system by… • Continually investing in relationships • Maintaining the necessary context • Teaching people to solve customer problems work@andrewormerod.com
  • 13. • Human beings want to strive • Without challenges to face, our self-esteem and happiness declines • Better operating systems help us use our natural desire to solve problems • It makes being at work a more human activity • Better workplaces = greater happiness PS: Work is a human activity 🧘