FractalLeadership




Fractal Basics

Fractal geometry refers to the repeating patterns in nature. The concept is simple, but so vast and far reaching. Some scientists say that life itself is built on Fractal Geometry. Others say it is the “fingerprint of God.” You will find fractals or repeating patterns in every aspect of our universe. Fractal geometry is found in everything from behavior patterns to plants to sound waves. Life as we know it is built on this structure, and life has flourished for billions of years. The concept of fractal geometry permeates our very existence.

Perhaps one of the simplest explanations is to look at a tree. The main trunk supports branches, the large branches split into smaller branches, these split again into smaller branches, and this pattern is repeated down to the leaves.

In human and animal reproduction, cells duplicate by dividing from a single cell to two cells, then four, then eight, and so on.

The structure of the landscape can be seen in patterns of geometric shapes. Mountains are repeating triangles of different sizes. The clouds in the sky can also be seen in Fractal Geometry. A small section of the cloud looks the same as a large section of the cloud.

Although Fractal Geometry has always existed since the creation of our universe, it was “discovered” by Benoit Mandelbrot, a Jewish scientist living in France. He later became an IBM employee in the 1960s and discovered that the repetitive patterns in nature could be mapped to a mathematical equation. With this mathematical equation, he assigned digital colors to whole numbers, and when computerized, the colorful repeating patterns came to life. The amazing thing is that the mathematical equation, colors and patterns are infinite. He can enlarge the pattern forever, and though the pattern is constantly morphing, the same recognizable patterns emerge again and again. This pattern was called “The Mandelbrot set”.

The scientist took the mathematical equation and applied it to many things. One of the advances they made was in visual technology. They designed software that helped them make a big leap in the aviation industry. The imaging software they designed could now represent infinite patterns in nature, which aided in the visual simulation software designed for pilots-in-training.

In the law enforcement industry, they applied Fractal Geometry to their video surveillance technology to achieve much sharper images and video by applying repeating patterns of the same image over the original image.

Fractals in business structure

If you look back in history, you will find fractal patterns. Military ranking systems, Monarchy/Kingdom structures, Egyptian pyramids, family trees, ancient storytelling passed down through the generations, and even the structure of a song.

Based on the Fractal Geometry model, companies structured in this way will also be self-sufficient and foster growth. This is how people were designed to think, live, work and thrive. Like the human body, a business organization is similar in that it requires many parts to work together to thrive.

Often times, when business systems fail, it’s because the leadership structure is flawed. More commonly when there is a boss and many employees. This type of structure is inefficient because a single person cannot effectively manage a large number of people. Many employees leave based on their boss’s performance when the boss loses contact with them. When the relationship connection is lost, vision and motivation soon follow.

With the fractal leadership system, a natural correction occurs. Because skills are multiplied and passed on, the employee can easily and seamlessly become the next level manager. There is a natural restructuring that takes place. New managers are assigned, employees are reassigned, and the organization accepts the change that makes the business more efficient. Healthy organisms in life are constantly growing and changing. The same should be true for organizations.

When building a business structure based on Fractal Geometry, there are some key points to remember.

1. The structure must be scalable.

2. All members of the organization must agree with the vision/DNA of the company.

3. Members must work within your chain of command.

4. Skills must be shared and multiplied with the next level.

5. 2-4 members per level is optimal.

When an organization restructures to use Fractal leadership, things tend to fall into place naturally. Below is a sample of a fractal leadership structure. This is a 1:4 model

One thing to remember when making organizational changes or restructurings: keep the main fractal structure in place. If you are using the 1:4 structure, stay with that structure. Don’t “squash” a group of people under a manager who already has a whole level 4 under him or her. This will overwhelm the manager and lead to deterioration of the structure. Organized changes that adhere to the structure cause growth while chaos creates decay.

everyone is a leader

Using the fractal leadership structure, everyone is or will be someone’s leader. For example, the warehouse manager manages the different sections of the warehouse. There will be a Dry, Chill, Frozen and Will Call Warehouse Manager. Under each section, that manager will have a fractal below them, such as the receivers, chargers, collectors, and replenishers. If you look at a branch, such as the Receivers, they will create your fractal in the same pattern, with 4 employees under them and so on until they reach the starting positions.

To cultivate growth, it is necessary to establish a relationship with each fractal. Brief weekly meetings with your fractal are important to maintain morale and motivation. These weekly meetings should focus on the personal needs of the employee, not so much on the job. Talking about how they’re doing, their family, hobbies, etc., lets them know that the company cares about them, not just what they were hired to do.

Progressive companies allow these meetings to take place outside of the office. Cafes, restaurants, and coffee shops are perfect places for fractal gatherings.

Larger company-wide meetings are important for projecting the company’s vision and context. Having these all-staff meetings will instill a new vision into all fractals. Communication from the top level is important for the coordination of the organization as a whole. The “DNA” of the company must flow through all levels.

recruitment

When looking for employees to add to your organization, don’t hire those who can do it well, hire those who can make it easy for others to do it well. The organization must build a company made up of leaders. Leadership skills should be on the skills list for each hire. You may be thinking, “How will the job get done if everyone is a leader and no one is a follower?” A good leader leads by example and gets into the trenches and encourages others to do the same. A good leader also has a learning heart and mind and will be open to instruction from authority.

This brings us to the Character of potential hires. Training can be used to refine employees, but good character should be the foundation of every hire. How do we find good character and leadership skills?

A good employee will receive the vision of the company and accept it. They are excited and proud of the company they work for. Hiring managers must be good judges of character. Many new hires come from companies that have been unable to meet their needs. They are leaving their other jobs for a reason. New hires have a mindset that can be cautious, like a bad break. These employees will need a morale boost so they can build trust which in turn will build pride in the company. If the new employee has a sense of appreciation from the manager, he will begin to develop a sense of ownership in his work.

Another feature to look for is a utility player. If you hire utility players with skills in different areas, you’ll have more options during growth spurts or if you need to move people around when someone retires or quits. An employee may need to wear multiple hats over a season until a suitable replacement can be found to help them. An organization must be flexible and adaptable.

If one member of the organization is struggling or suffering, the organization as a whole is also struggling or suffering. Think about when you stub your toe. Your whole body reacts with pain. Your toe is not an isolated limb. During an injury, other members of the body reach out and help the one in danger. When this happens in business, other people in the organization should be sent to help that person or department in need until it is resolved. It can be an “All hands on deck” situation. Once the issue is resolved, members return to their normal responsibilities.

One of the biggest problems with new hires is retention. The new hires try it out for a couple of weeks and decide they don’t want to work there anymore. If there are multiple instances of this, it’s the manager’s job to find out why and try to correct the problem. Are they faulty expectations? Bad management? Bad relations between coworkers? Maybe the manager needs to explain the job description better, maybe with a video. To minimize high turnover, seek out those with similar experience, go on an interview tour with potentials so they can see what they are getting themselves into. Building success is a journey that is all about fixing bugs in your system. Below is a chart of some formulas for successful recruiting.

Application

When adapting your company structure to the Fractal leadership structure, be sure to do it in phases. Do it slowly and work towards the proper fractal pattern. Making restructuring changes slowly will give everyone time to adjust.

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