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AUTONOMY
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 2
THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE WATER
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 3
IT’S SPREADING: THERE’S A NEW WAY OF WORKING
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 4
$181B
$10B
$4B
$1B
$3.5B
$18B
$20B
$8B
$.5B
$369B
$4B
$38B
AND IF YOU HAVEN’T REALIZED IT, THE CHANGE IS DRIVING VALUE. THIS SLIDE CONTAINS $657B
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE
5P
PURPOSE
PROCESS
PEOPLE
PLATFORM
PRODUCT
VISIONARY
over

Commercial
LEAN
over

Large
OPEN
over

Closed
LEARNING
over

Sustaining
EMERGENT
over

Controlled
FRAMEWORK
5
THIS IS THE RESPONSIVE OPERATING SYSTEM
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 6
CONNECTING
ACTIONS TO 

"THE GOOD”
Me doing work that serves 

individual/group purpose
SELF-GOVERNANCE
Me deciding what I do with my time
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE
GROW, SERVE & 

LEVERAGE NETWORKS
7
(Collaboratively) (…with platforms)
(…for shared benefit) (…of shared interest & purpose )
WHY ORGANIZE?
Withoutautonomy,

thereisnonetwork.
autonomyautonomyautonomy
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 9
EDGE RE-ORG
WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT
Organizing on-purpose at the edges of the
organization (not just top-down) ensures that 

we’re not designing disengaging structures 

into our organization.
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 10
NEW TRACKS
WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT
A larger base salary band for Senior Strategists allows
specialists and makers to stay engaged longer, as they
don’t have to jump into “management” to keep
growing their extrinsic reward.
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 11
OKR-DRIVEN RAISES
WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT
More frequent, results-oriented base salary raises
take into account constant growth, and eliminate the
“house advantage” over workers.
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 12
HIGH EQUALITY » TRUST
WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT
More salary equality in our system means we’re able
to keep talent density very high, especially where it
really counts: facing the customer.
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 13
UCU
WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT
Trimesterly offsite meetings bring group alignment
and allow open discussion of core issues. Fixing
problems doesn’t have to be a shameful leadership
challenge, especially in a high-equality environment.
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 14
LAUNCHPAD
WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT
Instead of trying as hard as we can to keep people 

at UC – even if that would be better for the business
– we try to help our team members do the best 

possible thing for them, even if that’s with another
company. ETSY
ARNOLD
COLLECTIVEI
BLACKROCK
WONDERSAUCE
PIVOTAL LABS
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 15
WHAT WE SEE OUT THERE
COMMAND & CONTROL
Strong manager-employee decision systems are good
for certain situations and tasks, particularly those
with high-consequence and high-likelihood risks.
But they have unfortunate side-effects, including
placing decisions far from the action.
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 16
HIGH RULE DENSITY
WHAT WE SEE OUT THERE
In large, highly structured organizations, we see an
almost one-to-one relationship between behaviors
and rules.This makes sense in situations where
employees are disengaged and performing poorly,
but stands in the way of self-healing systems.
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 17
STRONG DAMPING
WHAT WE SEE OUT THERE
Tradition is a powerful cultural tool that we replace
with “Values” in modern organizations. And while
values and traditions can be used to enable flexibility
at the edges, when they’re too engrained and too
comprehensive, they prevent creativity. (And we
frequently encounter aspirational values, i.e.
“Customer Focused” that are far from true behavior.)
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 18
TIGHT DEPENDENCIES
WHAT WE SEE OUT THERE
This “feature” of traditional organizations is
particularly hard to avoid when it comes to physical
things, but is a massive problem in an increasingly
digital world.Without open systems that enable
interoperability, true agility is hard to achieve.
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE
WEAK NETWORKS
WHAT WE SEE OUT THERE
Weak, absent, and/or connections between nodes
result in a weak rudder when things go poorly.
AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 20
ROS TRAIT 2:
DECENTRALIZATION
8We leverage intrinsic motivators over extrinsic rewards (RO) Engagement focus
9We trust our teams, giving them autonomy over their output Outcome-based budgeting
10We prefer to foster autonomy even at the cost of productivity 20% time
11We push for dissent over consent over consensus (FOW) New funding models
ROS TRAIT 3: SIMPLE RULES 13We demand uniformity of approach, not output (GDS) Open guidelines
14We favor a visionary mission even over structured plans Shorter projects
ROS TRAIT 4: INFORMATION
PROCESSING
23We ruthlessly restrict team size Team size policies
27We encourage interoperability over interdependence API mandate
28We structure for cooperation over collaboration (FOW) Structured, explicit domains
31We lean on transparency and trust over privacy and control Open books
ROS TRAIT 5: ADAPTIVITY 38We prioritize makers over managers Scale edges
44We trust our makers to choose the right tools for the job No tool policies, only data policies
WHAT WE RECOMMEND
AUTONOMY

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Autonomy: Future of Work

  • 2. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 2 THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE WATER
  • 3. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 3 IT’S SPREADING: THERE’S A NEW WAY OF WORKING
  • 4. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 4 $181B $10B $4B $1B $3.5B $18B $20B $8B $.5B $369B $4B $38B AND IF YOU HAVEN’T REALIZED IT, THE CHANGE IS DRIVING VALUE. THIS SLIDE CONTAINS $657B
  • 5. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 5P PURPOSE PROCESS PEOPLE PLATFORM PRODUCT VISIONARY over
 Commercial LEAN over
 Large OPEN over
 Closed LEARNING over
 Sustaining EMERGENT over
 Controlled FRAMEWORK 5 THIS IS THE RESPONSIVE OPERATING SYSTEM
  • 6. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 6 CONNECTING ACTIONS TO 
 "THE GOOD” Me doing work that serves 
 individual/group purpose SELF-GOVERNANCE Me deciding what I do with my time
  • 7. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE GROW, SERVE & 
 LEVERAGE NETWORKS 7 (Collaboratively) (…with platforms) (…for shared benefit) (…of shared interest & purpose ) WHY ORGANIZE? Withoutautonomy,
 thereisnonetwork. autonomyautonomyautonomy
  • 8. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 9 EDGE RE-ORG WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT Organizing on-purpose at the edges of the organization (not just top-down) ensures that 
 we’re not designing disengaging structures 
 into our organization.
  • 9. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 10 NEW TRACKS WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT A larger base salary band for Senior Strategists allows specialists and makers to stay engaged longer, as they don’t have to jump into “management” to keep growing their extrinsic reward.
  • 10. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 11 OKR-DRIVEN RAISES WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT More frequent, results-oriented base salary raises take into account constant growth, and eliminate the “house advantage” over workers.
  • 11. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 12 HIGH EQUALITY » TRUST WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT More salary equality in our system means we’re able to keep talent density very high, especially where it really counts: facing the customer.
  • 12. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 13 UCU WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT Trimesterly offsite meetings bring group alignment and allow open discussion of core issues. Fixing problems doesn’t have to be a shameful leadership challenge, especially in a high-equality environment.
  • 13. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 14 LAUNCHPAD WHAT WE DO AT UNDERCURRENT Instead of trying as hard as we can to keep people 
 at UC – even if that would be better for the business – we try to help our team members do the best 
 possible thing for them, even if that’s with another company. ETSY ARNOLD COLLECTIVEI BLACKROCK WONDERSAUCE PIVOTAL LABS
  • 14. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 15 WHAT WE SEE OUT THERE COMMAND & CONTROL Strong manager-employee decision systems are good for certain situations and tasks, particularly those with high-consequence and high-likelihood risks. But they have unfortunate side-effects, including placing decisions far from the action.
  • 15. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 16 HIGH RULE DENSITY WHAT WE SEE OUT THERE In large, highly structured organizations, we see an almost one-to-one relationship between behaviors and rules.This makes sense in situations where employees are disengaged and performing poorly, but stands in the way of self-healing systems.
  • 16. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 17 STRONG DAMPING WHAT WE SEE OUT THERE Tradition is a powerful cultural tool that we replace with “Values” in modern organizations. And while values and traditions can be used to enable flexibility at the edges, when they’re too engrained and too comprehensive, they prevent creativity. (And we frequently encounter aspirational values, i.e. “Customer Focused” that are far from true behavior.)
  • 17. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 18 TIGHT DEPENDENCIES WHAT WE SEE OUT THERE This “feature” of traditional organizations is particularly hard to avoid when it comes to physical things, but is a massive problem in an increasingly digital world.Without open systems that enable interoperability, true agility is hard to achieve.
  • 18. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE WEAK NETWORKS WHAT WE SEE OUT THERE Weak, absent, and/or connections between nodes result in a weak rudder when things go poorly.
  • 19. AUTONOMY – FUTURE OF WORK PAGE 20 ROS TRAIT 2: DECENTRALIZATION 8We leverage intrinsic motivators over extrinsic rewards (RO) Engagement focus 9We trust our teams, giving them autonomy over their output Outcome-based budgeting 10We prefer to foster autonomy even at the cost of productivity 20% time 11We push for dissent over consent over consensus (FOW) New funding models ROS TRAIT 3: SIMPLE RULES 13We demand uniformity of approach, not output (GDS) Open guidelines 14We favor a visionary mission even over structured plans Shorter projects ROS TRAIT 4: INFORMATION PROCESSING 23We ruthlessly restrict team size Team size policies 27We encourage interoperability over interdependence API mandate 28We structure for cooperation over collaboration (FOW) Structured, explicit domains 31We lean on transparency and trust over privacy and control Open books ROS TRAIT 5: ADAPTIVITY 38We prioritize makers over managers Scale edges 44We trust our makers to choose the right tools for the job No tool policies, only data policies WHAT WE RECOMMEND