Group decision making LO5407

Michael McMaster (
Tue, 6 Feb 1996 22:55:57 +0000

Replying to LO5370 --

Martin asks if there are established practices or approaches to turnover
from a founding group to a wider community. Here are a few suggestions
that have been attempted in practice. Some of the theory and principles
behind them are in my book.

The initial understanding is to realise that the complexity of the
organisation/business has resided largely in the individual or small group
that is the "founding intelligence". The way that this intelligence sorts
out complex problems and challenges is internal to that structure.

To make the transformation to distributed accountability and intelligence,
the founders need to externalise this intelligence. This will be a matter
of design, of structure, of organisation of communication processes and,
to a significantly lesser extent, of making knowledge and wisdom (implicit
information) accessible. (That is not necessarily related to making it

The process will be one of education/learning and development of all
concerned. The principle will be to enable the periphery and strengthen
the core or, in this case, possibly to create a core which is external to
the individuals.

The core will be a set of operating principles, values, or similarly
identified elements which are limited in number (very limited) but which
themselves can be made up of similar sets. This set are to be discovered
from interview and observation of practices, structures and relationships
that the founding group currently uses - and experimentation. The set,
when adequate, will provide a structure of interpretation, understanding
and meaning for each and every person in the company.

The next challenge will be to design processes, from a set of principles,
that will develop and enhance organisational intelligence. If this is
done well, the organisation will soon be performing better and the
founders will have moved to a more satisfying relationship to the whole.

Good luck to all,

Michael McMaster
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