Figuring out where to start is challenging. There are multiple threads, shifting patterns, and influences which shift over time. There are often quiet sounds which get drowned out in the noise of life but important truths we rediscover later. Language is an imperfect tool, bold statements often belie the complexity and nuance of circumstances.
Rather than agonize over the best manner to frame these ideas and thoughts, we are going to send ourselves flying into the unknown. Blazing a new trail and hopefully developing increased clarity over time.
Break the wheel #
There is a constant cycle of growth in the corporate world which mirrors the organic world in many ways. In the book, Barbarians to Bureaucrats, the organizational leadership cycle is described as follows:
Prophet > Barbarian > Builder & Explorer | | Administrator > Bureaucrats > Aristocrat
As you can see the first half is a positive increase in principles and process but the second half disintegrates into excessive rules, procedures, and processes which stifle creativity and put the organization into a death spiral. That sounds dramatic but analyzed over a long enough period of time - what organization has avoided this slow downward spiral? Most large corporations leverage their position to buy smaller companies which injects a temporary boost of innovation and creativity into the behemoth.
So in founding this organization, the goal is to break out of the cycle and escape at the peak of the cycle and maintain synergy going forward. I believe there is no shortcut or easy path, but accomplishing this requires doing hard work and making very difficult sacrifices. These ideals will be examined in more detail in future posts but they all center around limiting the accumulation of power, wealth, and influence within the organization. For example, rather than offering complicated compensation plans, salary will be negotiated transparently and shared openly. There will also be a hard limit on the total compensation that any individual may receive. Everyone can’t be paid the exact same amount, but everyone should see a path to obtaining the maximum pay, if they desire to put in the work.
The desired end state is an egalitarian organization with a non-hierarchical power structure that embraces unique individuals and uses worker cooperative dynamics to ensure that everyone has a real voice in the future of the organization.
Drop Pod is a boutique technology services firm focused on the public sector. Inspired by Cap Troopers of sci-fi, we drop into new environments to neutralize problems, stabilize environments, and achieve results.
While admittedly there are thousands of companies who do similar work, our goal is to use a fundamentally different incentive structure which we believe will better support the government over the long term. Our goal is to help the government reduce reliance on external support and rebuild internal expertise and capacity so that it can work better for everyone.
As a Benefit Corporation, we can do this even though it will reduce future profits and impact shareholder value because the firm is a tool for social good focused on the mission of delivering value in a sustainable manner.
Every great organization has guiding principles but our unique horizontal and vertically scaling model means that we have broad guiding tenants that all chapters have agreed to, but each chapter is free to build in potentially contradictory directions based on their leader’s vision as long as there is alignment to the broader organizational framework.
Many organizations have ideals that often degrade over time into shiny marketing materials without tangible facts backing them up (for example, a corporation which claims to genuinely care about employees but also hires aggressively and then lays off 10% of staff right before quarterly earnings to maximize profits). We will need to constantly look for those moments to prove that these words aren’t hollow promises. It will be an ongoing cycle to establish and update mechanisms to prevent erosion of ideals and measures to hold the organization accountable over time.