How Hierarchy affects Responsibility

It's been amazing to see all the entrepreneurship occurring in the Waterloo region in the wake of BlackBerry's transition.

One particular observation that I've noted:

Placing people in corporate hierarchy is usually enough cause to stop their critical thinking machinery. Remove someone from corporate hierarchy, and you'll be surprised how much they can do. I am most surprised by young people, probably because I was so conditioned to thinking 'older people ran companies'.

It takes a while for people to unlearn an attitude for lack of responsibility, but with some minimal guidance it happens. Occasionally you can even see the moment when they realize - if I don't show up (in body and mind) then no one else will do it for me.

How can large corporations fight this effect? My advice is to create small, autonomous teams composed of experts in different subject areas. Treat each product like an independent company that exists in an ecosystem of other friendly companies that will do business with it for free.