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Self-organization methods: responsibility and flexibility shake hands

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Self-organization methods: responsibility and flexibility shake hands

Sometimes life is just a bit chaotic. Everything turns out differently than originally thought, plans are overturned, appointments are postponed and everything that was discussed yesterday looks completely different again today. We live in a fast-moving age in which things change rapidly. In order not to lose track of everything and to be able to react quickly to new developments, we need one thing above all: organizational talent. The topic Self-organization is becoming increasingly important to get through the day successfully. We show you which effective self-organization methods are available!

What are self-organization methods?

An important factor on the road to success is your ability to Self-organization. Self-organization methods open the door to effective and innovative solutions for all the challenges you face in life. At the same time, they free you from entrenched status thinking. You have it in your own hands and no one else.

The term "self-organization" describes the opposite of hierarchy, i.e. holocracy. If a company applies self-organization methods, the hierarchy dissolves and the company's leadership is integrated into the team. The employees complete tasks that would otherwise be taken care of by the Executives take care of and thus assume a great deal of responsibility. You structure the work yourself and benefit from extensive freedom to make decisions.

In short, you are solely responsible for your performance and no one dictates a strict work schedule to which you must adhere. This gives you a high degree of freedom and self-determination.

What is the use of self-organization methods?

If the management decides to apply self-organization methods from now on, this is a reason for joy! They are giving you a high degree of responsibility, and they wouldn't do that if they weren't sure that you would be able to complete your tasks in a structured and reliable manner, even without regulations "from above". The introduction of self-organization methods is therefore associated with a great deal of trust.

The responsibility that this gives you makes you perform at your best - at least that's what the management hopes. If something goes wrong, you're responsible for it and can't pass the blame on to the next level. So you work even more diligently and with greater motivation, moving the company forward.

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What challenges do self-organization methods pose?

Self-organization methods often tempt their users to develop particularly high expectations of them. Since they now hold the reins themselves, they believe that from now on everything will be different and things will go steeply uphill. Ideally, this also happens, but problems quickly arise, especially with self-organization in a team.

In most cases, the reason for this is inadequate communication, which is why Misunderstandings arise. Only when everyone involved has the same view of the big picture can self-organization methods lead to success. Then they form a secure framework for the development of each team member.

5 self-organization methods you can use now

There are countless self-organization methods that you can immediately integrate into your everyday life. Here we present the five best-known and most effective of them.

The triangle of self-organization

The triangle of self-organization consists - how could it be otherwise - of three components: Goal, rules and pressure. If all three play perfectly together, your self-organization could hardly be better. But let's start from the beginning.

Stage 1 of the triangle: the goal

Before the work begins, the destination must first be determined. Where should the journey go? The goal determines how the team organizes itself. That's why it's incredibly important that you all have the same idea about this. If your goals differ, your paths will drift further and further apart at a certain point and it will be all the more difficult to master the task.

Stage 2 of the triangle: the rules

For a society to function, it needs rules. Not only humans found this out countless years ago. This law even applies in the animal world. In order for your team to function under self-organization, where there is no hierarchy, you also need rules.

So you define "do's" and "don'ts" for the work on your project. However, the whole thing is only effective if everyone involved agrees to them. So work out these rules together and, above all, make sure that they are really feasible.

Stage 3 of the triangle: the pressure

The term "pressure" often has a negative connotation, but it is not meant that way here. Rather, it is about the motivating character behind it. It is meant to drive the team to bring full energy and expertise to the project, to get involved and contribute to the group in order to successful to get to the destination.

As a rule, it is the time factor that exerts this slight pressure, because after all, you don't have forever for any project. If you turn the whole thing into a small competition with other teams, you increase the positive pressure yourself.

The ALPEN method

It was the German author and speaker Lothar Seiwert who created the ALPEN method. It consists of five simple steps that most of us already follow unconsciously when we plan something. Seiwert brought structure to this way of thinking and developed a helpful self-organization method from it.

The ALPEN method explained step by step

The first step is to write down all the tasks that need to be done. The order in which you write them down is not important at this point. It's simply a matter of having everything that needs to be done today in front of you. Then, try to estimate how long it will take you to complete each of these tasks.

Don't forget: things often turn out differently than expected. So plan enough buffer time in the third step in case something comes up or you are faced with an unexpected problem. Apply the 60:40 rule. You plan 60 % of the time in a structured way and keep 40 % free as a buffer. Step four is about the order. Sort your tasks by importance and arrange them accordingly.

Then you're ready to go and face your list. At the end of the day, it's time for step number five: the follow-up. Was your planning successful? Did your day go as you wrote it down beforehand, or is there room for improvement in one area or another?

The ABC analysis

With the ABC analysis, you focus on sorting your tasks by priority right from the start. To do this, you divide them into A, B and C tasks. A-tasks are particularly urgent and must be completed. So schedule them for a time when you are most productive. For most people, this would be the morning.

B-tasks are important too, but they don't push you like A-tasks do. Also, you don't have to be the person who does them. You can also delegate them to other employees.

C tasks don't rush at all, but they often take a lot of time. In order not to spend too long on them, you should efficient and get it over with as quickly as possible without distractions.

Getting Things Done®

The American author David Allen is considered a true productivity guru and developed the self-organization method Getting Things Done®, which he presented in his book of the same name. The principle behind it is simple: if you write down your tasks, organize them properly and make lists, you can simply work through them one after the other. You are more concentrated on the task at hand, because you know that thanks to your list you can't forget anything. And your mind is freer for creative ideas.

This self-organization method is also composed of five points:

  1. Record: You collect all your tasks and record them in writing.
  2. Clarify: You consider whether you can do these tasks at all, how much time they take in detail, whether you need support, and whether you might even be able to hand them off.
  3. Organize: You write down all the activities needed to complete the tasks, such as phone calls, desk work, or meetings.
  4. Reflect: You review all your lists regularly and make sure they are complete and up-to-date.
  5. Do: You work through all your tasks in an orderly fashion based on their priority.

Pomodoro® technique

In the 1980s, the so-called Pomodoro® technique emerged. It originated from the observations of the Italian Francesco Cirillo. Based on his own work habits, he found that he completed his tasks much more effectively when he took regular, short breaks. To determine the perfect time intervals, he used a kitchen alarm clock in the shape of a tomato, which later gave the technique its name.

Cirillo found that 25 minutes of work followed by a five-minute break was ideal. He called such a cycle "pomodoro." Four pomodori are followed by a break of 15 to a maximum of 30 minutes.

In order for this self-organization method to really work, a concentrated way of working without distractions is a prerequisite. Of course, you should also stick to the schedule and not extend the breaks further. The best way to do this is to set an alarm clock. There are even special Pomodoro apps that record the times for you and remind you of breaks and concentration phases.

Examples of successful self-organization with efficient methods

It is often young start-ups that opt for flat hierarchies and self-organization methods in order to give their employees as much freedom as possible. In this way, they should not only feel comfortable, but also be able to use their full Potential can unfold. But even large companies have long since understood the advantages that come with these methods.

Jewelry manufacturer Swarovski, for example, developed self-organizing structures, ushering in a new era of more flexible and thus more efficient ways of working. It quickly became apparent that internal processes could be accelerated as a result.

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Self-organization methods in the workplace

Self-organization methods are important tools in both private and professional life for taking a more structured approach. In the workplace, they are primarily aimed at getting employees more involved and thus helping them to develop new potential. At the same time, self-organized work gives you more flexibility and agility - after all, it's you who decides what you do. Time Management.

But also your employer benefits from self-organization methods - not only because he/she gives up tasks and responsibilities. In general, less planning is necessary and the agreements that would normally have to be made with the executive floor are reduced. This speeds up work processes immensely.

So self-organization methods provide a win-win situation for both sides!

The three principles of self-organization

No matter which self-organization method you ultimately choose: They all work only if you stick to three principles:

  1. Let self-organization become an integral part of your everyday life and develop a routine out of it.
  2. Keep it simple and start with small rituals to create lasting, constructive Changes in your life to establish.
  3. Keep a written record of your tasks so you don't lose track of them, and also note successes to measure your progress and keep yourself motivated.

Self-organization as the key to success

Self-organization methods finally bring structure to your life and help you work through your tasks effectively. Goodbye, Procrastination! Thanks to various approaches, you are guaranteed to find a method that works for you personally.

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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