Luminis – A real output driven organisation

This is a blogpost in the series ‘business talk‘ . In these posts I vent my believes and experiences about how to do productive and fun work.

Last weekend I had a really inspiring meeting that made me start on this blogpost series.

I am part of the company ‘Luminis‘. This organisation is a real life example of an output driven organisation. So almost no management: the ‘work floor’ professionals drive the company together.

But there is a huge problem with being output driven: there is no power/control in the ‘upper management’. So how to steer on, lets say, profit? Or get the people to build and expand the organisation themselves if you can’t control them?

A lot of companies tried to be real ‘output driven’. But after a few costly failures they added control mechanisms back in. Most of them still think they are ‘output driven’ but the functional organisation makes it way back in real quick.

Luminis is celebrating its 17.5 years anniversary this year. That is 17.5 years being able to sustain the ‘output driven’ organisation type, and still going strong.

How do they do this? And how do I do my daily chores if I’m also responsible and accountable for the companies success?

In the upcoming posts I will try to give an insight into the magic behind this philosophy. And I will share my own experience on how I think a professional in an organisation like this can flourish.

A quick peek at some do’s and don’ts I think are a good point to start from. I will go into detail in upcoming posts but here are some things to think about:

  • If the speed of change in your business is extremely fast you need creative ways to stay on your game. When you are an organisation where creativity is the key, you need to be people centered (or at least I personally think so). But this combination leaves you very fragile (or at least you feel like so) because you delegate decision making and have to trust on people’s ingenuity. Luminis is build on trust. Really. I find as an professional in Luminis that’s doable in practice, because trust goes both ways.
  • Output driven organisations are bottom up. Bottom up organisations have to make the same decisions as top down organisations, but this time the professionals themselves make the call’s. But what kind of professional do you need to have to be able to do these things? At Luminis we think there is a base personality you need to have, because otherwise you will ask too much of the people. And that would not be fair.
  • That’s the other ‘easy to preach hard to practice’ thing: people centered. Like, did you read the agile manifest? And tried applying it to your organisation? And did find out that functional organisations and people centered don’t go well together? Output driven organisations fit Agile like a glove. As if it was the core idea in Agile to be output driven…
  • A lot of the idea’s of this organisation come from Eckart Wintzen and people that where around him, or where his employees. They founded Luminis. Hans Bossenbroek was the founder and is still the major shareholder (He is also very hands-on: he did facilitate the inspiring session with us last weekend).
  • The difficult part is that all the above is true, and you know it. But you probably also know from experience that there are a lot of opposing forces that you have to deal with. Like maximizing profit and maximizing grow speed doesn’t seem to go well together with this kind of organisation. But do you have a choice? See the first bullet point: creativity is the key and only way to survive. Now more than ever.

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