At # 5 of the 12 work-relevant characteristics of online life, which Gary Hamel puts forward in this blog posting, I read this:
Tasks are chosen, not assigned
The Web is an opt-in economy. Whether contributing to a blog, working on an open source project, or sharing advice in a forum, people choose to work on the things that interest them. Everyone is an independent contractor, and everyone scratches their own itch.
In this interesting 10 minute McKinsey Quarterly interview, Mr. Andrew McAfee sends a similar message – referring, for example, to how Wikipedia became a success: As people self selected roles they wanted to play, content they wanted to create, and basically did whatever felt natural to them, they reached much better results.
Mr. McAfee also gives some good advice for management of companies that want to move in this direction. Here are 3 of them:
1. Send signals to people on what is of value to the company.
2. Get out of the way. Let people do things themselves.
3. When you hear about grassroots efforts, support these efforts financially.