The Starfish And The Spider

Ori Brafman & Rod. A. Beckstrom



If you cut off a spider's head, it dies; if you cut off a starfish's leg it grows a new one, and that leg can grow into an entirely new starfish. Traditional top-down organizations are like spiders, but now starfish organizations are changing the face of business and the world.

What's the hidden power behind the success of Wikipedia, craigslist, and Skype? What do eBay and General Electric have in common with the abolitionist and women's rights movements? What fundamental choice put General Motors and Toyota on vastly different paths?

Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom have discovered some unexpected answers, gripping stories, and a tapestry of unlikely connections. The Starfish and the Spider explores what happens when starfish take on spiders and reveals how established companies and institutions, from IBM to Intuit to the U.S. government, are also learning how to incorporate starfish principles to achieve success.

What will you learn from this book

  1. Decentralized Leadership: The book emphasizes the power of leaderless or decentralized organizations, contrasting them with traditional, hierarchical structures. It explores how decentralized leadership can foster innovation and adaptability.

  2. Starfish vs. Spider Organizations: Brafman and Beckstrom introduce the concept of starfish organizations (decentralized, resilient) and spider organizations (centralized, vulnerable). They illustrate these differences through real-world examples.

  3. Resilience and Adaptability: The strength of starfish organizations lies in their ability to adapt and recover from disruption. The book discusses how these organizations can regenerate and thrive in changing environments.

  4. Catalysts and Champions: The authors highlight the importance of catalysts and champions within decentralized organizations—individuals who inspire and guide rather than dictate or control.

  5. Open Systems: The book explores how successful decentralized organizations operate as open systems, encouraging participation, collaboration, and the free flow of information.

  6. The Power of the Edge: Brafman and Beckstrom discuss how decentralized organizations often derive power from their edges, where innovation and local decision-making occur.

  7. Preventing Centralization: The authors provide insights into how decentralized organizations can avoid centralization tendencies, fostering an environment that encourages autonomy and distributed leadership.

  8. Case Studies: The book offers various case studies, examining successful starfish organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous, Wikipedia, and the Apache tribe. These examples illustrate the principles discussed.

  9. Leaderless Revolution: It explores the idea that leaderless movements or revolutions can be more sustainable and impactful in the long run compared to those with a centralized figurehead.

  10. Adopting Starfish Principles: The book provides practical advice for organizations looking to adopt starfish principles, including embracing chaos, decentralizing decision-making, and leveraging the power of community.

Language English
ISBN-10 1591841836
ISBN-13 9781591841838
No of pages 230
Font Size Medium
Book Publisher Portfolio
Published Date 29 Jul 2008

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