We spend most of our time in teams and organizations. Anyone who’s ever led has spent dozens or even hundreds of hours wondering: How can I make it better? When challenges come, what allows us to do a great job together and adapt quickly? How can I keep the community happy and engaged?
Historically, most advice about organization stems from looking at “good” teams and comparing them to “bad” teams. Naturally, this approach leads to generalizations of what successful teams look like, but not necessarily an understanding of why they are the way they are, or what it takes to go from “bad” to “good.”
Thankfully, Web3 gives us a great opportunity to think in terms of fundamentals, so today we move it beyond buzzwords like accountability or psychological safety. Instead, I’ll give you a framework that you can use with any DAO to see where you should focus your attention.
Interactively make or break the DAO
This old adage is the sum of the five people we spend the most time with and is widely circulated these days, but even in Web3 – we still live in a cult of star performers.
A few years ago, three Harvard professors realized—despite the hype—that little research has been done on star performers over time. Working to change that, they tracked ambitious CEOs, researchers and software developers, as well as leading professionals in investment banking, PR, management consulting, and law. They found that the best performers in all of these groups were more like comets than stars. Great success until they left one company for another and quickly failed.
For all the good things about these talented individuals, the team and community that surrounds them seems critical to their success.
Another Harvard professor, JR Hackman, concluded that team design and structure account for 60% of team performance. Consistent findings across domains as diverse as intelligence agencies, classical orchestras, and tech companies.
At the end of the day, an organization’s success is not determined by its individual strength as individuals, but by the way those people communicate and collaborate. DAO founders often forget this lesson, causing more than one community to split and contributors to leave.
More than anywhere else, in a DAO, the role of a leader is simply to create an organization that enables the most valuable interactions between communities.
most valuable interaction
The question I’ve been grappling with over the past decade is which interactions create the most value for the organization? The quest for answers led me to delve into systems theory, self-management, creativity, and behavioral science. It took me from the Michelin star restaurant craze to decentralized digital co-ops, FTSE 100 companies and numerous DAOs. I boil it down to:
Six key interactions make or break an organization, especially a decentralized one.
Master the Six Key Interactions of a DAO
So you need a DAO that can deliver great work, make the most of its resources, attract a lot of talent, and drive its entire ecosystem forward. Facing a crisis rather than a falling apart DAO. A DAO that is constantly evolving itself.
You may be close to your ideal, or you may be far from it; it doesn’t matter. It is important to set the conditions for learning and improvement, and gain momentum along the way. These six key interactions (SKIs) are needed to turn the flywheel, pushing your employees toward the (regenerative) flywheel.
SKI revolves around six problem areas that your DAO (and each team within it) seeks to solve:
- Identity: Who are we and what needs do we exist to serve?
- Future: Given how our environment evolves, how will we evolve to meet these needs?
- Change: How can we shift from here to the future?
- Coordination: How do we coordinate our work?
- Operations: What are we doing every day to deliver our value to our stakeholders?
- Support: How do we enable everyone to do their best in a sustainable way?
Identity Interaction explores the following questions:
- Who do we exist to serve?
- Why do we come together?
- Who is our core?
It is also the realm of culture, ethics, values and beliefs, a cornerstone of cooperation. Identity Interaction uses rituals, stories, and slogans (such as lists of values or a team’s origin story) to bring teams together, strengthen relationships and create shared identities. Exploring, refining, and embodying this shared identity enables teams to move beyond transactional relationships and foster a sense of community, belonging, and deep commitment.
But perhaps most importantly, it is this unwavering sense of identity that enables teams to change, believing that what matters most will always be at the heart of their work. Identity interactions provide security and continuity in a rapidly changing environment.
By the way, we developed a framework called “Guiding Questions” to refine the mission and purpose statement that defines the DAO’s identity.
Future Interaction seeks to answer the following questions:
- How has our environment evolved?
- What is our vision for the future?
- What new possibilities should we explore?
These interactions are where you find new opportunities for disruption, innovation and experimentation. It’s about looking for weak signals to understand what’s going on in the DAO environment, noticing trends, and using those trends to understand how DAOs need to position themselves to thrive and continue to thrive.
By definition, future interaction is an exercise in interacting with uncertainty. They need ambition, creativity and speculation. But because our human tendencies make us prone to confirmation bias and many other errors of judgment, effective future interactions include a balance between intriguing ideas and rigorous experimentation—whether dreamers or pragmatists.
Most importantly, these interactions imbue the DAO with a vibrant sense of possibility. They combine individual efforts with shared goals. They make the impossible possible.
Change Interactions addresses the following issues:
- How can we bridge the gap between present and future?
- Which of the multiple paths do we choose?
- How can we change ourselves as a team?
- And – more traditionally – what is our strategy?
These interactions are all about prioritization and transformation—a mature learning and growth environment…and discomfort. Change is fundamentally about letting go and embracing the new, or — more poetically — about death and rebirth. After all, constant renewal is the essence of life.
When we can balance structure and flexibility, healthy interactions of change occur that allow enough discomfort to grow without breaking us down. In more practical terms, changes include:
A high-level strategy to focus the DAO on some specific initiatives, and any follow-up work to achieve those initiatives.
Urgent changes, decisions on the fringe lead to multiple small shifts that gradually form larger shifts over time.
Maintaining a healthy ability to interact with change means empowering contributors to make big and small decisions “at the edge” (locally, in their teams or sub-DAOs). Cultivating both enables DAOs to adapt quickly and efficiently in the face of external changes, as teams can move autonomously, rather than waiting for approval from the entire community. Both give contributors a sense of agency, increase their satisfaction and motivation, and enable them to use detailed knowledge of their own situation, skills, and preferences to improve outcomes for clients and other stakeholders.
Coordinated interactions address the following issues:
- How do we communicate within and between teams?
- How and where do we store knowledge and information?
- What standards and procedures should we follow?
- How do we mitigate and resolve conflict?
Coordinated interactions are the lubricant of an organization, and just as traffic lights help prevent conflicts between cars, these interactions can prevent conflicts between people and teams, especially when everyone is moving fast.
This work is divided into three parts:
Design Coordination: Define how you and your other contributors will coordinate your work, such as choosing your project management tools or discussing common standards for using DAO communication channels.
Coordinate: Consider updating data sheets, planning sprints, holding daily stand-ups or weekly project meetings, or telling your team about delays.
Problem Solving: When shit hits a fan, get it back on track — for example, mediating interpersonal conflicts or clarifying roles when gaps and overlaps are problematic. Of course, there are steps to prevent this from happening, such as having the facilitator and coach develop a healthy relationship.
Ops Interactions handles the following issues:
- What needs to be done every day to create value for our community?
- How can we effectively do what we do?
- How do we consistently deliver high-quality products?
These interactions cover all the small tasks and processes that make up the day-to-day operations of a DAO – what needs to be done to deliver the product or service you are responsible for.
Ops is about getting work done, like responding to customer inquiries, making sales, coding software, attracting contributors, and all the core tasks of each department. It’s also about discussing work, for example, talking with your colleagues about how to respond to the questions above, providing feedback on their work, or asking senior contributors for advice. These interactions include production, continuous improvement, mentoring and quality control.
Ops Interactions are often grouped by functional expertise – your traditional finance, marketing or HR department. But you can also find operations grouped around product features or geographic regions, or even split into sub DAOs that sell services to each other within the organization.
Supporting interactions create space for questions such as:
- What do you need to fully contribute to the team?
- How can the team support your physical, emotional and intellectual health?
While the first five interactions treat the DAO as a whole, support is about listening and serving everyone’s needs. Support is an area of wellbeing, mentoring and career development.
These interactions invite you to see your employees as people and recognize the impact of work on their (mental) health and well-being. Support is essential because it enables people to be their best and makes them feel valued, watched and appreciated. These, in turn, contribute to the sense of security necessary for innovation, deep collaboration, and true accountability.
Essentially, a support interaction enables your community to do its best work among all other interactions.
skiing as a journey
Although I have explained them one by one, the six interactions complement each other. We need to support them both, which also means that barriers in one interaction can cause problems in other interactions. But don’t let that drive you down. Maintaining all six interactions is a daunting task, and no organization is perfect. So the role of SKI is not to strive for perfection, but to focus your attention and your community on what matters most: creating the conditions for regeneration, learning and improving every day for the betterment of your own and your community’s well-being contribute.
So whenever you find yourself wondering how to advance your DAO, ask yourself: What is the best way to have these six key interactions in our unique situation?
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/six-key-interactions-for-daos-to-thrive/
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