Where the grass-roots can catalyse change
In hierarchies, the order sometimes flows upward, rather than downward
What does this mean?
- 1. Bottom-up processes suggest freedom plus responsibility.
- 2. Top-down systems echo the mindset of those (the few) at the top.
- 3. By contrast, those lower down represent a greater diversity of many views.
- 4. This includes a variety of characters, experiences, training and backgrounds.
- 5. Difference creates opportunities by showing a wider range of choices.
- 6. Difference is also necessary for creating combinatorial synergies.
- 7. But differences can also lead to conflict, which may reduce the chances of success.
- 8. Bottom-up systems are more chaotic - i.e. they may produce surprising outcomes.
- 9. Bottom-up teams should always try interpret perceived problems as solutions.
- 10. Every challenge is an opportunity - understand it, use it, re-direct it, apply it.
How to influence things from below
- 1. Although you are an important team member, your role is passive and covert.
- 2. Your invisibility to the other members enables you to notice important things.
- 3. You are 1 of 2 observers with different roles. You will either make notes about:
- 3a) changes in the team's awareness, body language and conduct
- 3b) the team's discussions, logic and decision-making
- 4. Which of these roles you undertake will be decided by the team.
- 5. You may therefore be assigned a different role, once the exercise has begun.
- 6. Whichever role you are given it is important to make clear notes and sketches, etc.
- 7. Wait for the team leader to invite you to give feedback to her/him, or to the team.
- 8. The quality of your observations/feedback may be decisive to your team's success.