When I met Rachel Conerly in 2003, it was immediately clear to me that she had designed a wholly new system for structuring and managing organizations, projects and teams. None of what I had learned in Navy leadership schools or my Organization Development training could touch the simplicity and power of what she had created. This powerful view of a completely new way of operating revealed a simple truth: our society has become over-reliant on hierarchy as an organizational system.
When designing bridges, computer systems and buildings, engineers always ask, "Which type of structure will best suit the needs of this particular application?" When organizing groups of people, we almost never ask this simple question. The answer is always the same: hierarchy. Many leaders don't even know that there are alternatives! To be sure, there are situations for which hierarchy is the best answer, but far fewer than most believe.
It has been my honor and privilege to add several innovations to the Collaborative Operating System, and I have trained over 100 leaders and consultants in its theory and methods. I have founded a non-profit that is using the COS to resolve some of society's most intractable problems. Our donors and partners are excited about making fundamental changes to how humanity operates, rather than treating symptoms.
Through my training in mathematics and engineering at MIT, my experience as a leader at Oracle Corporation, and several tours of duty as a commanding officer in the US Navy, I have seen the best and worst of our current system of organizing and leading people. The political and business leaders I serve are astounded to learn how they can use the COS to create inspiration and alignment across groups with seemingly intractable differences. The leaders of the future will be experts at collaboration and skilled at wielding the power of engaged, empowered teams.