From Autocracy to Self-Management

By: Rolando J. Vivas

The future of the world will be increasingly restrictive in all aspects, to act, to move, to make decisions and make plans, which means that we must be more creative, this also applies to the world of organizations and companies, in a environment that is torn between globalization and restructuring of supply chains or a possible rise in protectionism; Just as the nefarious fascism threatens to destroy the world as we know it, thus, a kind of authoritarianism threatens to make many companies obsolete and make them less resilient amid the uncertainty of global markets, a few years ago, the average times in which Investors kept their money in certain stocks, it was years old, today it is just a few days, which explains the need for agile organizations with a completely different management, much faster and that implies greater decentralization.

Studies conclude that countries with an autocratic government, in which all power is concentrated in one or very few people, is a government that is not very resilient, more fragile and very slow to adapt to changes, anti-fragile would say the writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which is why these countries are at the mercy of more economic and health crises, etc., and tend to present a delay in development issues, the same happens in organizations where power, information and decisions are concentrated in a single or in very few people, who are not subject to an accountability system, where the initiative of the collaborators is frowned upon, or even punished, which slows down the organization, annihilating its creative side and ending the opportunity to innovate and mature on the part of its collaborators.

While countries are affected by fascism and its three “horsemen”, autocracy, orthodoxy and nationalism, organizations and companies also face these same horsemen, are we currently part of an autocratic and obsolete organization, or of an agile and modern evolutionary organization? Autocracy tells us about that exaggerated concentration of decisions in one or a few people, which creates bottlenecks that slow the progress of organizations, only one person decides and everything has to pass through him, if the person is not present , the organization stops, if the person does not know, other opinions are not taken into account, and if the person is wrong, no one is there to generate constructive criticism, there is no collective learning, since the environment of trust and dialogue is nonexistent, thus, the empowerment is null, so the collaborators do not mature since they are not involved or invited to take part in the challenges or decisions.

In these authoritarian companies, orthodoxy reigns supreme, with multiple and complex processes that are not very understandable to employees and extremely restrictive rules that discourage action or initiative, so the employee remains passive to avoid such complexity, little by little the company stops moving, loses its flexibility and its ability to adapt, something that Charles Darwin would tell us, it is essential to know how to do it, being trapped in processes that are not updated and that are causing the organization to begin a period of obsolescence that leaves them out of the market and becomes less attractive to meet the needs of customers, these companies could say that by taking care of the cents, they lose the dollars.

If nationalism is a toxic element in countries, its equivalent in companies is blind pride, which often makes them think that they are unattainable, superior to everything and the competition is belittled, which is why they rarely look outside of the organization, as a result, sometimes this company moves away from reality, begins to lose ground and its customers, and ends up being overtaken by new companies or does not manage to capture changes in the market that can always be learned and used as new business opportunities, we can ask Kodak about how it let go of the opportunity to become a leader in the digital photography industry and how it was overtaken by many other new competitors.

Fascism in companies is manifested in the concentration of decisions in a single person, in the inflexibility of processes and in believing that things cannot be done better or differently, thus, anarchy also exists, and calls it self-management, which consists of empowering employees, sharing information throughout the organization, creating simple, flexible and adaptable processes, as well as encouraging continuous learning that includes observing the best practices of the competition.

In one in a large chain of convenience stores, it was severely criticized, and even reprimanded those who were seen in stores of the competition or with a product of them, it was like an act of high treason and they were made fun of by the collaborators as people risked reprimand from their superiors, while, when working in a large retail chain, the director told us: “Don’t buy here, go to the competition, see what they are doing, see what is working for them and copy it. “

What is happening in the world and in countries, what ails them, warns us of what can happen in organizations and companies and affect them, the best way to overcome these restrictions is to get creative and encourage initiative, flexibility and awareness, promote self-management to increase the possibilities for change and adaptation, thus making our organization more resilient.