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Publisher's Summary

Despite the advent of disruptive technologies that have upended the business landscape, the structure of most companies remains largely unchanged, with traditional top-down leadership still the norm. Couldn’t there be a better way to organize work that reflects our modern world - one with nimble, invested leaders rather than disengaged, disinterested employees? The answer is yes!

In Lead Together, authors Brent Lowe, Susan Basterfield, and Travis Marsh offer founders, CEOs, and other leaders a radical new way of working and scaling a business. Lead Together teaches you key principles and proven methods to transform models of top-down leadership into dynamic human systems of shared responsibility and accountability, through the concepts of self-organizing and self-management. You’ll hear from the leaders of more than 60 scaling businesses at the vanguard of this movement about the on-the-ground challenges and rewards of adopting a new paradigm for work.

Warning: This path is not for the faint of heart! It is a radical approach to scaling your business - bold, brave, and intentional. It involves commitment and persistence, experimentation, and an appetite for change. As company founders themselves with more than 50 years of combined experience as coaches and catalysts to scaling businesses, Lowe, Basterfield, and Marsh have helped countless founders and leaders like you unleash the human potential of their teams to create organizations that lead together. Are you ready to take the leap?

©2020 Brent Lowe, Susan Basterfield, Travis Marsh (P)2021 Brent Lowe, Susan Basterfield, Travis Marsh

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Excellent guide and toolset for self-managing orgs

This book is a thoughtful and comprehensive exploration of the principles of self-managing organizations. Each section provides insightful examples and tools from real organizations, as well as clear explanations of the key aspects of this organizational evolution. Many of the approaches discussed are applicable beyond just business settings; useful any context where people seek effective collaboration. Having completed the audiobook I’m planning to buy the hard copy as there are many suggestions I will refer back to in my work. Much gratitude to the authors for developing this practical map to guide teams and organizations in this meaningful developmental direction.

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The Various Dimensions of Team Self-Management

What does it take to transform management hierarchies into networks of leaders? What must leaders do to fill the void formerly filled by managers in hierarchy? What are the skills that teams must exercise to manage themselves? What must Holacracy, Sociocracy, Semco Style, and all of the other self-management frameworks have to foster and empower a high-functioning, lean, agile organization? These are my questions in my quest to deconstruct various self-management frameworks into a core set of "design requirements" (for lack of a better term).

Lead Together teases apart the key dimensions of leadership in any organization---from articulating vision, to holding safe space for innovation and dissent, to clarifying roles and responsibilities, to shared decision-making, to recruiting and cultivating group identity, to diversity and inclusion, and much more. Each chapter zooms in on a key dimension and shows how various organizations have empowered their teams to discharge that responsibility effectively and equitably, all without relying on governance by benevolent dictators.

I especially like how the authors deftly weave in the core elements of intrinsic motivation: relationship, agency, mastery, and purpose. By tapping into these motivators, teams are energized and engaged to create structures, processes, and norms of behavior that tap into the latent energy and talents that people bring to work, but often must check at the door. By inviting all staff to participate in the management of an organization, they become emotionally invested in its success, unlocking a wellspring of energy, creativity, and capacity to function in a complex, ever-changing world.

To be clear, this is not a light read. I do wish it was peppered with more story structure---vignettes to illustrate their points. But it's not supposed to be an anthology of short stories. It serves well as a catalog of recipes for meeting the needs of an organization without an old-fashioned management hierarchy..

Brent, Susan, and Travis illuminate the landscape of team self-management---showing how organizations can empower their members, create meaningful work, and welcome the whole person in the workplace.