This culture likes to turn everything into top-down structures.

A top-down structure has its place but it will always be against the grain and therefore unhelpful and unsustainable outside of extreme moderation.

A bottom-up structure is with the grain.

This principle applies to every process of management, strategy, design, organizing, thinking, learning, everything we do. When you try to enforce a structure from the top down first, you will almost certainly fail.

If you don’t fail, you will likely be spawning externalities you are completely unaware of and causing collateral damage because you did not let the base and all other parts of the structure inform how it should work.

A top-down structure is “Let them eat cake.”

It’s an aloof, blind confidence that one understands the full complexity of something as large as a society or as “small” as a company without actually hearing from/deeply collaborating with each of the roles and component parts.

At the end of a process when constraints are at their peak, when everything must coalesce into This Outcome by 5pm, by this time is when top-down must have earned the trust to take over, direct the troops, put the pieces in place, take the hill, deliver the package, run the play.

If that trust has not yet been earned, top-down can be brute-forced, but eventually everything will crumble and everyone will die.

A bottom-up structure is what naturally occurs when you’re open and curious. It’s how things work. It’s how we learn.

A bottom-up structure should be the standard at all times until the moment there’s a decision, an end.

Then do it, quickly, and get back to listening.