Is your organization a Spider or a Starfish? Derived from…
The Book: The Starfish and the Spider
The Authors: Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom
Previously: Book Review: The Spider and the Starfish
RAP1: The Spider and the Starfish
At first glance a spider and a starfish seem to be similar with their multiple limbs spanning from their core.
On further examination, they are very different in the way they think and act in the world.
The same can be said for Centralized and Decentralized organizations.
They may appear on the surface to be similar yet are operating and thinking in completely different ways.
Action: Is your organization a Spider or a Starfish?
Spiders : Spiders are like humans, they have a head that’s in charge, a body with the essential organs within and a couple of extra legs.
Chopping off the spider’s head is like killing a king or dictator, you destroy the ability of the organism to function and it dies.
Starfish : Normally, if you attack the head of anything you can defeat it, except starfish don’t have heads.
It’s central body doesn’t even control things.
It’s essential organs are replicated through each of its arms.
If you chop an arm off or cut it in half, the starfish doesn’t die, it simply re-grows.
Some species of starfish can even replicate if only one part of an arm survives an attack.
What’s even more interesting, for a starfish to move, one arm starts wiggling and the rest may or may not follow.
There is no central command making the decisions.
In the business world there are no pure centralized or decentralized forms, most are a combination or fusion of both.
The key is to find your sweet spot.
Two primary styles are available.
Ebay is a centralized company that decentralizes the customer experience and GE is a centralized company that decentralizes internal parts of the business into separate independent business units.
Fusion is the way forward and the best mix will be the model that enables optimum results for the organization and its people, who turn up every day to get those results, for the good of all.