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The importance of be-ing at work!

Someone asked me today:

Assume I want to be lazy and not effective or productive today. How does that fit in with Sociocracy 3.0?"

They followed with:

"I like the question because I like that driver. "Laziness is an aspiration that few truly achieve". (Chris Matts)"


"...I don't care. If I'm in a team and someone chooses to be lazy and I am currently driven to work, I'd go ahead and do it. I might reconsider and we can be lazy together. My first organisational principle is "personal interest trump org interest or group interest. period." aka "extreme self-care". I have no idea if this is compatible with S3."

I had a go at answering.

Dear X,

From an S3 point of view there are a few patterns that could be considered. Here are some of my thoughts:

Firstly a **Driver** for action is qualified in relation to existing organizational drivers. So start by asking yourself, "what's happening and what's needed that motivates you to consider having some down time today?" If it's the case that in the course of you delivering value to the drivers you previously agreed to account for, that today you decide to spend time "being" rather than "doing", and you consider that this is **Artful Participation** (is my behaviour in this moment the greatest contribution I can make to the (overall) effectiveness of this collaboration?), then it's probably a good idea.

If in doubt then you can ask others to get another opinion (this is the pattern **peer feedback**). Remember also that **effectiveness** (a principle of S3) is much more than efficiency and trying to "do" when needing to "be" can result in neither being achieved.

If your choice has no negative impact on flow of value (**align flow**) to organizational **drivers** and/or there are no obvious ways to improve it, then it is probably "good enough for now and safe enough to try". a.k.a. no **objection**.

You might conduct an experiment that is small enough to fail **empiricism** in action. Take one hour for example and then evaluate the consequences. Or 1 day, or 1 week. If it's within the scope of your **domain** of autonomy to decide, then you can relax into doing whatever you want, provided it:

• doesn't compromise flow of value to an organizational driver,

• fits within the constraints of the domain you agreed to account for,

• doesn't miss an opportunity to improve. For example - you may decide to take some down time but it means that someone else is left waiting on something that they need from you. So perhaps first you find someone else to take care of that by pulling in the pattern **ask for help**, or at least, you check with the person impacted if they would have any **objection** to your proposal to take some time out. Maybe they can re-prioritize their backlog (**prioritized backlog** and **navigating via tension** and pull something else in (**pull in work**) for now instead.

S3 includes the pattern **breaking agreements** with the caveat to:

• clean up disturbances

• follow up ASAP with those affected or accountable

• initiate changes instead of repeatedly breaking the same agreement

Choosing **organizational values** to guide and align behavior in an organization can add another dimension of clarity when there is doubt. For example, "personal well-being", or "self-determination" would bring specific focus to this question and along with the S3 principle of **accountability** (being accountable for what we agree to account for), this would emphasize various dimensions to consider.

Ultimately we are accountable for whatever we decide, both now, previously and in the next moment. Self care is vital if we are going to maintain effectiveness over the long run. Also though to recognize that a decision to take on a more demanding, inflexible or stressful backlog of work, is ours to make. Sometimes our culture rewards the capacity to handle this, and whilst tempting, having our cake and eating it is not always the action with greatest integrity.

Each case needs to be considered on it's own merit and if we find ourselves in working / collaborative contexts and would prefer to be doing something else with our time, then it could be expedient to take a moment to self-reflect and pivot our life path if appropriate. I suspect that many a person has died as a consequence of inadequately integrating "being" energy into their lives. Not all organizational contexts suit everyone, at least, not all of the time.

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