It is ironic that so many communities of work have become formal institutions dedicated to preventing surprise. Scheduled meetings, tight agendas, formal lines of authority, and centralized planning are the tools of this agenda aimed at creating a world predictable enough to be measured, planned, and controlled.
What’s interesting is that no matter how much habitual momentum the formal organization has developed over time, the informal organization of unplanned conversations continues to thrive. The informal side of the organization is the dynamic field of actions and interactions that are too resilient, tacit, opportunistic, inventive, and fluid to be prescribed much less controlled.
The informal organization is the organic, self-organizing, and evolutionary network of adhocratic relationships and collaborations that pulsate in the white spaces and margins of organizational charts. We observe the informal organization at work in unplanned conversations between meetings, across emails, and in side conversations.
The informal organization is the work community’s rainforest where new species of ideas, stories, and questions emerge and thrive. The idea that we can legislate any genre of spontaneity is unsupportable in my experience. This includes the quality of relationships that impact everything that occurs.