Print This Post Print This Post

The old view of the organization is something close to the old concept of a medieval city, where citizenship was defined by inhabiting and dwelling within an area defined by the walls of the castle. The new view of the organization is similar to the concept of a modern city, where citizenship is defined by moving around a network of communications (in multiple directions with multiple connections) with very permeable borders, if any. Nodes in this network are both destination and point of departure at the same time.

The ideogram of the old city is the enclosure; the ideogram of the old organization is the organization chart.  The ideogram of the new city is the underground map, the rail network or the highway chart; the ideogram of the new organization is the network.

The citizen of the old organization lives in a box on the organization chart, only occasionally getting out of the box to talk to another resident in a bigger box called ‘team’.  The citizen of the new organization is a rider of the network, moving around and talking to other loose connections, some of them with stronger ties than others. Three ‘B’s reign in the old organization: boss, boundaries and bonuses. Three ‘Is’ reign in the new organization: influence, inter-dependence and innovation.

Having acknowledged that the hierarchical organization with its functional silos (which can be visible in companies of 5,000, 500 or 50 employees) had a bit of a problem in cross-communication, but not willing to kill the power silos altogether, the invention of the matrix as a cross-functional way of working was inevitable. It became a language key (we have a matrix system) and a clever hierarchical plot (I have two bosses: one local the other global). And the matrix became a very, very large petri dish for team meetings.

It was invented as a way to force people out of their dwellings to work together with other people (who were also forced out of their own dwellings). It sometimes seemed that the conversation between them was just temporary and just long enough for somebody to look at his watch and exclaim: “Oh, my God, so late already! I need to get back, bye!” And back to their boxes they went…

Let me make a blunt statement. We don’t need more team players. We need riders and navigators. Big time! Riders of the network navigate through connections inside and outside the organization. They lead from their own connectivity and ability to imagine their world as a vast space, mostly undiscovered. They are relationship builders, not team builders. They may not have a problem with teams and may even belong to some. But they tend to regard teams as the new silos.

Riders have meetings as well: 365/24/7 meetings. They are ‘meeting up’ all the time. It is their very ‘raison d’être’. Riders want networkracy, not teamocracy. These new leaders will take the organization to territories where ‘the answers’ might be found and will do so via relationships, not through processes and systems. They are socially intelligent: a rare characteristic, often invisible in many layers of management or even in top leadership.

This is how you advertise for Riders:

-We’ve done the team stuff. We have lots of them and they operate quite acceptably, thank you.

-Before we implemented the matrix, we had seven divisions and seven silos. After implementing the matrix and creating the multidisciplinary team structure, we have seven non-silo divisions and 35 new team silos. We never solve the problems here; we just trade off between them.

-We are looking for (socially intelligent) people able to establish a web of both internal and external relationships. Management has promised to keep a relatively low profile and let them roam relatively freely.

-We acknowledge that, from time to time, we will have the temptation to declare some of them ‘a team’, but we promise we will refrain.

-We are looking for people who can demonstrate they can build relationships.

-We have a special interest in people who founded a club at 11, created a football team at 17 and put together a bunch of friends to explore the Amazon at 21. Or something like that.


Can we MRI the company & diagnose its health in terms of internal connectivity, communication and collaboration? YES we can. Join Leandro and his team for our next webinar on 2nd July – learn how 3CXcan provides this analysis using the highest scientific principles of network sciences. Register now!


In the current environment it’s important to base the recovery and the post Covid-19 organization on a full understanding of its formal and informal connections, communication channels and internal collaboration. Suspend judgement about your assumptions and find the truth. This webinar will show real examples of this kind of diagnosis performed in real companies. Understanding the real organization, which may or may not be the one you assume it is, will show a completely new baseline upon which to navigate the future. Join us!



Each participant who attends any of the live webinars of the Feed Forward series will be eligible for one copy of Leandro Herrero’s new book: The Flipping Point.  Read a recent review.



Keep up with the Daily Thoughts

Twitter Email

Would you like to comment?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To search my website, please use the form below.

  Daily Thoughts

September 27th, 2023

Redefining Talent Wealth

The war on talent McKinsey consultants started it with a book of the same title. By focusing on what it […]

September 8th, 2023

What I Learnt From The Monks: A Little Anthropology Of Leadership And Space On One Page

My friends, monks of a Benedictine monastery in the Highlands, Scotland, spend most of the time in silence. I mean, […]

August 23rd, 2023

Can We Rescue DEI From Its Trap (The Label)?

Most of the problems and challenges in organizations, together with most of the solutions, are behavioural in nature. It’s about […]

August 10th, 2023

Restructuring to force collaboration, is likely to create more anxiety than collaboration. Structural solutions for behavioural problems hardly work.

Sometimes restructuring is done with the intention of solving a collaboration problem. ´A people´ don’t talk to ´B people´; if […]

July 18th, 2023

The ‘Impossible To Disagree With’ School Of Management

‘Good leaders have empathy, respect employees and set the example. If you want to change things, you need to have […]

June 29th, 2023

Large scale change is not small scale change repeated many times. Small wins repeated are lots of small wins.

Large scale change, as a series of cascading small scale interventions (often under the philosophy of ‘small wins’) has dominated […]

June 6th, 2023

Culture change is not long and difficult. But we make it so…

I suppose the question is how long is long and how difficult is difficult? In general, business and organizational consulting have […]

May 19th, 2023

Value is an overused term in business and, as such, it’s becoming meaningless

Value, as usually used, means transactional monetary value. Usually it doesn’t mean intrinsic value, or value per se. For example, […]

May 4th, 2023

The importance of ‘critical thinking.’ Your own critical thinking is more effective at making your workplace better than any generic employee survey.

Build your own Employee Engagement argument for free. You can’t go wrong. Here are three baskets full of concepts: Basket […]

April 21st, 2023

´Busy-Ness’ Is A Trap

I went to a big conference where I was introduced by the chairman like this: “Welcome everybody. Lovely to have […]

April 14th, 2023

Training and culture change. The love affair that ends in tears.

It seems to be very hard for people to get away from the idea that if we just put individuals […]

April 11th, 2023

Teamocracies and Networkracies have different citizens: in-Habitants in team-work, riders in net-work

The old view of the organization is something close to the old concept of a medieval city, where citizenship was […]

April 5th, 2023

3 Ways To Get Approval From Your CEO Or Your Leadership Team

Way number 1: My team has developed these three options, A, B and C. Which one do you want us […]

March 29th, 2023

A Cheat Sheet To Create A Social Movement Tip = to shape organizational culture since both are the same.

Mobilizing people. This is another of the Holy Grails (how many have I said we have?) in management. Whether you […]

March 16th, 2023

Critical Thinking Self-Test: A 10 Point Health Check For Your Organization And Yourself. If any of these are a good picture of your organization, you need to put ‘critical thinking’ in the water supply.

Test yourself, and your organization. Do any of these apply? Doing lots, too fast without thinking. High adrenaline, not sure […]

March 9th, 2023

A culture of safety or a culture of training in safety?

Cultures are created by behaviours becoming the norm. Safety is at the core of many industries. Significant budgets are allocated […]

March 2nd, 2023

Empowerment is an output. If you can visualize it, you can craft it.

The real question is, what do you want to see happening so that you can say ‘people are empowered’? Employee […]

February 24th, 2023

A simple question will jumpstart your organization into change. It will also save you from months of pain spent reorganizing your people and teams.

The following line will short-cut months of (building) ‘alignment’, integration, reorganization, team building, coalition building, and any situation in which Peter, […]

February 20th, 2023

Lead Via Peer-To-Peer Networks – If you don’t lead via peer-to-peer networks, you’re only driving your car in first gear.

Peer-to-peer work, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is the […]

February 7th, 2023

Write a script, not a strategic plan

If you care about the journey and the place, you need a story. If you have a good, compelling one, […]

January 26th, 2023

3 self-sabotaging mechanisms in organizations

Organizations, like organisms, have embedded mechanisms of survival, of growth and also of self-sabotage. These are 3 self-sabotage systems to […]

January 10th, 2023

Who should be involved in culture change? All inclusive versus going where the energy is.

Many times, in my consulting work, I find myself facing a dilemma: Do I involve many people on the client’s […]

December 23rd, 2022

Tell what won’t change – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

In any change programme that any organization wants to start, they will start by thinking of the things that they […]

December 16th, 2022

Scale It – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

When creating effective change in any organization, there are 40 rules that, in my experience, are the key between success […]

December 5th, 2022

Assets & Strengths Base – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

For more than 30 years I have been involved in ‘change’ in organizations. Again and again, some fundamental principles, and often […]

November 25th, 2022

Campaign It… is 1 of my 40 rules of change

When you filter out the noise, when you try to extract the core, the fundamentals, those ‘universal rules’ of change […]

October 31st, 2022

Hybrid or not hybrid? That’s not the question…

Culture is the new workplace If you want to have a conversation about the future of work, the nature of […]

October 24th, 2022

‘Powered by Viral Change™’: A Social Transformation Platform for the organization of the 21st Century

When we started to work on Viral Change™, as a way to create large scale behavioural and cultural change, and […]

October 14th, 2022

Corporate tribes, intellectual ghettos and open window policies

We talk a lot about silos in organizations usually in the context of Business Units or divisions. But these are not […]

October 7th, 2022

Peer Networks are the strongest force of action inside the organization

Peer-to-peer works, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is […]