Reinventing Afallen

This guest post is by David Clubb

I was recently made aware of a superb book on organisational structure and management called ‘reinventing organisations’.

It’s an unusual book; firstly, you don’t have to pay anything up front. The author requests that you pay him what you think it’s worth, and only after you’ve had a chance to read and digest the contents.

Secondly for a book focusing on how organisations are managed, it’s incredibly readable. Yes, you read that right. It’s a book about how to manage your organisation in a different way, and it’s un-put-downable (particularly the illustrated version!)

For those of us who are juggling many important tasks related to work, family and schooling that’s important – we often don’t have the luxury of extended periods of time to dive into more ‘weighty’ tomes.

But I don’t want to do this book an injustice by implying that it is in some way not serious or worthy by virtue of it being readable in one evening (if my experience is in any way indicative).

It’s a revolutionary piece of work which upends the ‘traditional’ model of management, and which resonates instinctively with my own values and ways of working. In fact, I was so excited while reading it that I was sending messages with great frequency to my colleague, highlighting similarities or differences with the way that we work at Afallen.

I won’t spoil the surprise and excitement for you – if you have the niggling feeling that the organisation you work for does not exist to have you reach your full human potential, then you will be thrilled to learn that organisations exist which have exactly that priority.

In that sense, Afallen is already on the journey to becoming one of these reinvented organisations – called ‘teal’ organisations in the book.

Some of the characteristics of these ‘teal’ organisations are of a flat management structure, with devolved decision-making and high levels of internal transparency.

Given that the founding Partners of Afallen knew each other, shared a set of values and came with similar levels of professional experience, it’s perhaps not a surprise that we’ve set off in the right direction. Our challenge will inevitably come when we grow and are challenged by new Partners to maintain our openness and freedom of operation

I am delighted that there are many excellent resources available for organisations wanting to revolutionise the way that they carry out their functions – Valve’s employee handbook hits all the right notes in this regard – which will simplify the process if we decide to go ahead and ‘Afallen-ify’ the many variations of the different ‘teal’ organisations.

And I’m really pleased that we subconsciously designed Afallen along lines which are broadly compatible with a ‘teal’ organisation. In fact, if we decide to go down this path, we won’t really have to reinvent Afallen at all. We’ve just been made aware that there are many pathways for us to consider, and many people that we can turn to for advice and support as and when we need it.

I’m excited at the prospect of making this journey, and I believe that it’s entirely aligned with Afallen’s values and mission. I believe that it will make us a more effective collaborator, a more responsive organisation and therefore better able to fulfill our mission of supporting the practical implementation of the Well-being of Future Generations, in Wales and beyond.

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