location_on United States
Member since 1 year
He coauthored (with Sharon Villines) We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy (2nd Edition 2017) and also co-wrote (with Jutta Eckstein) Company-wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space & Sociocracy (2018).
John has led dozens of business improvement projects for a variety of organizations, resulting in greater efficiency and increased employee engagement. He believes that such basic values as equality, liberty, and transparency can make our work places dramatically more sustainable, elegant, and profitable.
He excels in customizing solutions to each organization’s particular concerns, work schedules, and professional areas. His clients span the globe and include plastics manufacturers, colleges and universities, long-term care facilities, co-housing groups, and software companies.
Education and credentials
- Master of Science degree in Quantitative Sociology, The George Washington University
Using Beyond Budgeting and Sociocracy for agile-friendly performance appraisalsJutta EcksteinCoach, Consultant, Trainerself-employedJohn BuckPresidentGovernanceAlive LLC
schedule 6 months agoSold Out!
There are many suggestions dealing with Agile-friendly performance appraisals, which promise to rely on trust, honesty, respect, safety, and servant leadership. The Agile Manifesto does not address performance appraisal although it does generally mention regular and frequent feedback, which can also be applied to performance evaluation. Two related methods, Beyond Budgeting and Sociocracy, offer interesting approaches to agile performance review. In this session we want to present these two different performance appraisal approaches, how they're are supported by the values of BOSSA nova (short for Beyond Budgeting, Open Space, Sociocracy & Agile) and want to invite the participants of this workshop to discuss the synthesis of the two approaches.
This session looks at several real-world examples from actual companies including Accenture, Equinor, and Google.
The first principle of Beyond Budgeting asks to “engage and inspire people around bold and noble causes; not around short-term financial targets,” the eleventh principle advocates: “Evaluate performance holistically and with peer feedback for learning and development; not based on measurement only and not for rewards only.” Thus, the main strategy of Beyond Budgeting is to separate (financial) bonuses from performance evaluation and to use relative and not fixed targets as a foundation for the evaluation.
Sociocracy suggests holding 360 degree in-person meetings. The person being reviewed should request it when needed, not just on a rigid annual basis, and perhaps not just once in the year. In the 360 degree meeting, the organization itself can be critiqued in the review - “the way we organize is causing performance problems.” Similar to Beyond Budgeting there is a focus on the vision and mission of the specific department as well as the overall company as a source of inspiration and motivation. The output of the performance review meeting should be a development plan that the immediate group of supervision, peers, and subordinates consent to.
Based on BOSSA nova, we invite participants to dive into what Beyond Budgeting and Sociocracy combined offer for performance appraisals. Participants will take away insights that they can use in their organizations.
Learning Fast & Small - Nourishing Company-wide Agility in a Skeptical EnvironmentJutta EcksteinCoach, Consultant, Trainerself-employedJohn BuckPresidentGovernanceAlive LLC
schedule 6 months agoSold Out!
Agile beyond IT and beyond just doing it, but rather being it requires experimenting continuously in order to learn continuously. Thus more important than failing fast is learning fast.
In this workshop we will learn what learning fast means for every individual and the organization as a whole and we will define experiments for you to use in your company for becoming agile truly. This will allow you to create an environment for continuous innovations.
In this workshop we will also make use of examples that make:
- the organizational structure (hierarchy?) more agile
- the organizational processes faster so that they enable innovation
- the organizational strategy better aligned with current needs so that your organization is able to drive the market instead of being driven by the market
Company-wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space, and SociocracyJohn BuckPresidentGovernanceAlive LLCJutta EcksteinCoach, Consultant, Trainerself-employed
schedule 1 year agoSold Out!
The challenges companies face today in the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world call for Agile throughout the company. There are two challenges: companies in general are trying to survive intense disruption and companies with successful software departments are trying to expand Agile methods to the whole company, including the board and the legal structure of the enterprise. Both the VUCA challenge and the pressure to implement Agile beyond IT, demand guidelines for implementing company-wide Agility.
We discovered these needed guidelines in Beyond Budgeting, Open Space, Sociocracy, and Agile. Design Thinking, Lean Startup, Human Systems Dynamics, and Cynefin provide additional insights.
However, in talking with various experts about how to address the challenges companies face , we got answers from within that expert’s framework. For example,
- A Beyond Budgeting expert said, “Stop fixing the budget annually, because otherwise you won't have the flexibility to react to frequent market changes.”
- An Open Space expert said, “You need to make space for what you don’t know and can’t control, for totally new things to emerge. If people can follow their passion, you will be able to implement company-wide Agility, otherwise people will just do what they are asked.”
- A Sociocracy expert said, “You first need to resolve the power structure, because as long as you have a hierarchy defined as top-down you will not become agile.”
- An Agile expert said, “You need to start inspecting and adapting by using regular retrospectives in order to react flexibly, otherwise you will neither be able to learn from the market nor from within your company.”
All of these perspectives are true, but each perspective was always from within the discipline. We synthesized the approach into a wider perspective dubbed BOSSA nova: B = Beyond Budgeting, OS = Open Space, S = Sociocracy, A = Agile.
The synthesis leads to a new organigram that reflects all the sources of guidance to a value center. The new organigram focuses board/CEO, inspiration, and resource and legal considerations on the value center. The value center is thereby free to focus on the customer.
We discuss how to use Cynefin-type probes that enable everyone to apply this new strategy for implementing company-wide Agility in their own organization.
Enabling Company-wide Agility in a Dynamic WorldJutta EcksteinCoach, Consultant, Trainerself-employedJohn BuckPresidentGovernanceAlive LLC
schedule 2 years agoSold Out!
Today companies are expected to be flexible and both rapidly responsive and resilient to change, which basically asks them to be Agile. Yet, doing Agile (the mechanics) is different from being Agile (the mindset). The mindset lets you apply flexible Agile patterns not only for software development teams but for whole company. In this workshop, we will examine what being Agile really means and how it can be implemented by combining principles from the Agile Manifesto, Sociocracy, Beyond Budgeting, and Open Space. We’ll draw on everyone’s experiences to show the path to transforming our companies into agile enterprises - from Board to janitor, offering concrete tools and methods that participants can apply right away.
Framework Intelligence: A Key to CollaborationJohn BuckPresidentGovernanceAlive LLC
schedule 2 years agoSold Out!
Agile teams meet constantly. For some teams some of the time, decisions seem to emerge like magic - more nuanced and complete than any individual team member could have done.
Too often, however, the meeting process feels like walking through deep mud. The team struggles with minor wording issues, or dominant personalities control the conversation while others feel bored and frustrated, or participants try to control the outcome of the meeting by scheming beforehand, and so forth.
The factors that make a team effective are not particularly clear. Level of education of the team members, gender balance, age mixture, experience and expertise, venue, and other usual demographic factors don't seem to correlate. The only factors that seem to matter are equal voice and "framework intelligence," a combination of "emotional intelligence" and "perceptive intelligence." The latter refers to the ability to be aware of and manage the way assumptions and partial information influence and limit one's understanding of reality - and therefore limit one's ability to collaborate. Good listeners typically have good perceptive intelligence.
Several of the elements of an egalitarian governance system called sociocracy support equal voice and framework intelligence. In this way, they support agile decision making. This session will interactively demonstrate several of those methods:
- Awareness of blind spots
- Both-and thinking
- Rapid prototyping
- Consent with your body
- Learning to estimate
- Use silence
- Be a super-organism - like an octopus
- Do rounds
Participants will have an opportunity to practice these methods by electing someone to a role and responsibilities using the consent election process.
With Sociocracy, Hierarchy Becomes AgileJutta EcksteinCoach, Consultant, Trainerself-employedJohn BuckPresidentGovernanceAlive LLC
schedule 2 years agoSold Out!
Many agile teams suffer from the mismatch of agile and organizational leadership, with the latter being reflected by the organizational hierarchy. Based on self-organization and iterative processes, the agile teams run into trouble with the top-down steering of their environment. Consequently, agile proponents very often believe that a supportive agile organization should be structured without hierarchies, the so called “no managers” approach of “reinvented organizations.” Several companies in the agile field are experimenting with different organizational approaches that don’t use hierarchies. Yet, “no hierarchy” or “no managers” is not an option for many organizations.
In this session we suggest using sociocracy as a solution that leaves the hierarchies in place in an agile way - an option the organization is free to choose. Sociocracy shows how hierarchies can actually be agile and can strongly support (rather than opposing) agile philosophy. It enables managers to become agile leaders. As a participant you will learn how the principles of shared decision making and double-linking are key to enabling self-organization. These principles convert hierarchies from linear to circular so that they support an agile mindset.
Sociocracy is a way for groups and organizations to self-organize. Based on four principles (self-organizing teams, shared decision making based on consent, double-linking, and electing people by consent to functions and tasks), sociocracy provides a path for existing organizations to have empowerment and self-responsibility on all levels. Different than comparable methods, sociocracy allows companies to start where they are – with their existing organizational structures and the like. It seems to be a perfect fit for organizations that need to be truly agile (due to market pressure) beyond their IT departments and software teams.
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