From Pyramids to Circles

Last month’s High Life Magazine (from BA) marked the Magna Carta moment 800 years ago when the king ruled that no one is above the law. In this stimulating article, several influential people offered one radical rule to improve life. Here we ask which new rules might improve how we lead our organisations.

The Magna Carta gave people in my country a revolutionary moment 800 years ago, in which surprisingly a king limited his own powers, and agreed to govern by a set of rules, including the right of every free man to a fair trial.

Apparently open to change, SMT members disagreed over whether to try to change the “what” (discuss different topics), or the “how” (find a better way to reach decisions). One thing they did agree to was a live experiment: weekly meetings would continue unchanged… except for one meeting per month, in which, under very strict “rules”, they would listen while each took turns to speak for a maximum of one minute, and after three rounds on a topic, they would summarise and set next steps.

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There is no doubt that the implicit rules about how we do things are being challenged. In each organisation not only are the rules different, but so are the needed adjustments. May the trials continue - and through good conversations about what really works let’s unlock the best of what we already have!