COCo considers itself a non-hierarchical organization (or co-managed, or consensus-based, or leaderfull, or collaboratively run- whatever you want to call it!).
For our staff, this means that almost all of our permanent staff have an administrative portfolio (Finances, Fundraising, Human Resources, Communications, Governance, etc), as well as consulting, facilitating and training with nonprofit organizations. Our team of 9 meets regularly to discuss organization-wide issues and give updates in our different areas, and we require consensus on a change to move forward. We make collective decisions as a staff, and also in smaller “hubs” (our fancy word for committees, made up of 2-3 people whose work overlaps considerably).
Each person is given a lot of space to make changes or improvements in their dossier, but those changes are expected to reflect the organization’s wider values, strategy, and orientations.
Our Board of Directors also reflects this structure; their titles are nominal and they take decisions by consensus.
Our ability to function effectively in this way relies both on consistently and continually clarifying the roles, responsibilities and accountability of each person in our structure. It also relies on making improvements and changes to the structure as our needs and the organization change.
Why We Have This Structure
There are lots of reasons that COCo continues to choose a non-hierarchical model. Here are some of the ways we’ve articulated the reasons for that desire over the years:
- Because we want to be a leader-full, not a leaderless organization. We want an organization where all members are actively involved in an on-going journey of self-designing and self-managing the organization’s systems and processes. We want to have leadership, guidance and direction come from multiple actors in the organization.
- Because we want to organize ourselves so that decision making power is held by those who have the most information about the decision and who will be most impacted by it.
- Because we want to be a more “human” organization where people feel motivated and excited to work. This means allowing ourselves to organize around the human energy that currently exists.
- Because we want to question our beliefs about “how things should work”.
- Because we want to have a high degree of transparency in almost every area of the organization.
- Because a non-hierarchical structure allows us to be more of a “learning organization”.
Learn More About This Structure:
- The History of COCo’s Structure
- The Role of a Board in a Collectively Managed Organization
- COCo’s Learnings from 15 years of Collective Management
- Thinking about Becoming a “Flat” Organization? Here are 5 things to think about
- Questions to Ask as Your Improve your Non-Hierarchical Structure
By Phone: (514) 849-5599 | toll free: 1 (866) 552-2626
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3680 Jeanne-Mance, #470 Montreal (QC) H2X 2K5
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