Governing Transparently

Have you ever seen an organization that lacks any semblance of focus, or prioritization at the program portfolio portfolio level, and cannot find any way to improve beyond operating in power politics wherein the highest ranking officer, or person with greatest social currency (aka. pecking order) calls all the shots with no real accountability for the final outcomes? I have.

I also knew of no simple alternative governance models…until today. There’s at least one. It’s called the “Money Pile Game.” I’m going to explain why this could be a boon for very serious Agile Executive Coaches, Intrapreneurs, and start-up founders everywhere looking for a simple, effective, and rapid governance model.

So, let’s start picking MPG apart with Good Game Mechanics. (a construct established by Jane McGonigal in her book entiteld, “Reality is broken.”)
It would have:
1. A clear Goal
2. Rules of the Game
3. A way of tracking progress
4. Opt-in or Opt-out

Maybe it could be modified or improved. Unfortunately, it was posted here:
by “unknown” in 2016, and I don’t know if this is Open source social technology.

Here’s the thing: Naomi Smith is telling a story, in the video above, and applying a principle (more formally articulated by Daniel Mezick and Mark Sheffield in their invitation strategy “Reduce the Ask by 1/2”) on the MPG, to collectively and transparently govern the finances of a single meal among friends, as a small-scale pilot to experiment on it’s pragmatic utility.

Obviously it can scale up or down on the Consideration. -Annual finances for a household, quarterly budget for an Enterprise, Annual City Budget for the Greater Metropolitan District of Tokyo, or a single, ad-hoc event like a rock concert…LiveAid?

Depending on the Fear Factor of the person who occupies the seat of decision-making authority, you can experiment your way into this by “Reducing the Ask by 1/2” until you’re just toe-dipping, about where to direct the costs and proceeds of a meal.

I believe the game could be modified to pre-decide equity & cash distributions for a start-up, building on Mike Moyer’s books on Slicing Pie

Plus, with the miracle of the internet, the MPG could effectively work through a collaboration tool like, webex, and what have you.

Here’s my most jarring premise: It could quickly settle business matters while growing engagement via. Communitas (a general sense of relatedness and belonging to something, such as an organization.

My 5 siblings and I used a variant of the MPG to settle my parents estate. (I highly recommend stipulating in your last will and testament something to this effect, if you have people you love in your life.)
1. Get all the objects, or avatars of all the valuable property owned by the estate, under 1 roof.
2. In a circle, give stickers of distinctive color or pattern to each person laying claim on anything in the Estate.
3. Disband the circle, giving 1 hour for all heirs or claimants to place their stickers on what they want. (each keeping a list of the items they personally wanted.)
4. Return to the circle, while the Executor/Executrix Inspects all the items under the roof for: Items left unclaimed, items with multiple claimers.
5. Decide democratically how to dispose of unclaimed items (including what to do with residual costs or proceeds.)
6. Decide democratically how to resolve multiple claims on items. (Iterate the process, run an internal auction, white elephant gift game, or randomized -toss of coin, or throw of dice.)
7. Run the democratically selected conflict resolution scheme.

Please notice that a participant can be silent and effective through the entire 7 steps. I was. I’m happy.

My older sisters invented this social technology. (One of them is a lawyer, the other was the Executrix. Both were participating heiresses.)

If you are familiar with any other kind of alternative governance model, decision making mechanism, or social technology that can operationalize work priorities at the highest level of the enterprise, please reach out to me, or comment about it here.

Written by Jon Jorgensen on June 21, 2019

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