FROM EMPOWERMENT TO SELF-MANAGEMENT

The path we follow

Things look better from a certain distance, and the fact that Daniel Siles will study our case as an example of a self-managed company has made us consider a characteristic of ours that we had never seen from that perspective: empowerment is taking us to its maximum expression, self-management.When Lean thinking came to FDSA, it came to stay. In it we discovered the concepts with which we could develop what we wanted to be in the way we wanted to be: in the model of excellence of Lean, the house or Shingo model, one element of the base is Empowerment.

Shingo model

Shingo model

For us, empowerment means creating an environment in which everyone can decide and influence the company, and in which everyone has to intervene according to their own possibilities. It is a two-way street, we give ourselves the freedom to act but we also commit ourselves to act.Perhaps the most distinctive sign of empowerment we have is the tribes. A few years ago we realized a situation that was slowing down our progress. Certain decisions were delayed or not taken very judiciously for three main reasons:

  • CEO approval was expected.
  • The person who had to take it didn't feel safe to take it alone.
  • Not all the people who decided had a special interest.

This led us to create teams (we later called them tribes because, well, being called tribe is cool), which were the ones in charge of tasks other than providing programming service, which is FDSA's main service. Membership in those tribes would be voluntary, according to our personal interests, and there we would have the authority to make decisions about their functions. We began with six and today we have three, Talent, in charge of recruitment; People, in charge of transmitting and maintaining the culture in FDSA; and Logistics, in charge of providing the material means.What happened to the other tribes? Some of them have become dedicated people, so it no longer made sense, and others have been divided among the teams (these are called teams).In order to carry out our main activity we are divided into teams, according to clients or functions in the case of the administration and communication and marketing teams. And the teams are the ones that have made us take the step from empowerment to self-management. Our main objective this year is the self-management of the teams. To do this we have defined the different areas that each team has to define and manage, which are Organisation, Training, Continuous Improvement, Indicators, Retrospectives/Celebrations and Customer Monitoring. Each team is the one that knows first-hand the needs of each client and, following some general guidelines, is shaped in the way that it can give a better response.Is this the perfect formula for organization? We don't think so, because we don't believe a perfect formula exists. We believe in continuous adaptation and that empowerment makes it much easier for us.There are almost 50 of us. As we grow more, will we be able to continue to be organized by tribes? We don't know. But this was asked of us when we were half the number we are now, and we are still in tribes. What we are fully confident in is that empowerment and self-management will lead us to the model where we can best fulfill our main function, to provide excellent service to our customers.Every day we are closer to the new FDSA, and once we have arrived there, we will tell you about it :).

Alejo Ecube