Why we chose this purpose
August was founded with the belief that today’s most valuable work depends on teams of people who work well together.
Unfortunately, the way most organizations operate today gets in the way of good teamwork, instead of supporting it.
All around us are missions with the potential to change our world for the better. Some are incremental and are struggling to survive the next status meeting. Some are massive and require the coordinated resources of global institutions. Some will fix our biggest problems. Some will invent our future.
Each of these missions needs a team that is capable of learning and adapting fast enough to get it done.
August helps teams meet this challenge.
Our Guiding Principles
These are the fundamental operating principles that guide our own work, and provide the basis for how we begin to help our clients.
1. Be Purpose-Driven
Focus on the impact you’re trying to achieve together, and use that clarity of purpose to shape and guide your work.
2. Design For Networks
Enable people to work easily with others who are best suited to the purpose, across functions, divisions, levels of seniority, and even beyond the formal boundaries of the organization.
3. Distribute Authority
Everyone has the authority to do what they think needs to be done, as long as they've sought the advice (not permission) of the colleagues who are affected.
4. Learn By Doing
Adopt a make → ship → learn → iterate approach to all work, combined with a steady rhythm of shipping and reflecting on a weekly basis.
5. "Default To Open"*
Make information easily accessible and open by default.
Theory of Change
The world we live and work in is changing so fast that it has become impossible to predict, or even to effectively plan for. Yet, most companies that are shaping our future – for better or worse – are using an outdated way of working that revolves around planning and predictability.
This old way of working is still useful in a few limited contexts where the tasks are most routine and require the least amount of collaboration. But, more and more, the challenges we face are incredibly complex and require close collaboration among teams with diverse skill sets and perspectives.
The hierarchical, command-and-control model that enabled companies to thrive in the 20th century is now the Achilles heel of companies that want to succeed in the 21st century.
Over the past 10-20 years, leading organizations have begun to adopt a new way of working, founded on a new set of guiding principles.
Sustainable, Human-centered Change Management
Our work has shown us that there is no single, one-size-fits-all system that can address the needs of every organization. Each organization, and every team within those organizations, has its own culture, set of common values, and unique business challenges and realities.
This is why we apply the core principles of human-centered design to change management. Any successful change must be designed with and for the people who want to change.
Our work deliberately breaks down the traditional command-and-control dynamic within our clients’ organizations. It is critical to our work that our senior-most sponsors support and model this change, and empower their teams to work with greater speed and autonomy.
Changing how people work together requires a high degree of empathy and agility. Over time, our approach has led us to eradicate the boundaries of typical consulting relationships. We work side-by-side with our clients, leading change and building capacity through coaching and daily practice.
There is no standard, one-size-fits-all model that works for all teams. Each culture presents its own levers for change, as well as its own antibodies. We sprint to define the best opportunities to seed our change effort, engage all employees in a participatory process to ‘edit’ their organization, and scale what works.
Our practice draws on decades of research, application, and thinking by many other brilliant minds outside our company. These are a few of the foundational frameworks that guide our work and are shaping the operations of today's most successful organizations:
- Responsive Org
- Agile Software Development
- Lean Startup
- Google re:Work
- Reinventing Organizations
- Exponential Organizations
- The Fifth Discipline
- Self-Management Institute
- The Santa Fe Institute