top of page


The Unorganized Organization


By: Simon David Buckingham


Unorganization: The Individual's Handbook sets out to explain how individuals can thrive in today's unorganized world. With people increasingly unwilling and unable to rely on traditional institutions such as business organizations that once dominated the organized world, there's a pressing need to shift from being "rankers" in hierarchies to becoming self-employed "branders."


This transformation in attitude and activity is achieved by developing "lifestreams." This book explains that process, helping individuals navigate and excel in the unorganized world.




The term "Ranker" has two main meanings, depending on the context:


  • Military: In the British military and some Commonwealth countries, a ranker is a soldier who serves in the enlisted ranks, as opposed to a commissioned officer. This can also refer to someone who has risen from the enlisted ranks to become a commissioned officer.

  • Informal: In less formal contexts, "ranker" can be used more generally to refer to someone who ranks lower in a hierarchy or social order. This usage is not very common.


It's important to consider the context when encountering the term "ranker." In most cases, especially outside of military discussions, it's more likely you'd encounter words like "soldier," "enlisted personnel," or "low-ranking" to describe someone's position within a hierarchy.


Rankers are individuals who work in traditional hierarchical and less hierarchical organizations as interchangeable units of economic production. They are often those who have subsumed their personal beliefs to those of their employer or never had any views of their own. Few people are born average, but as we accumulate more chains and ties, we spend most of our time organizing and worrying about them.


Rankers are highly conscious of their rank and extremely sensitized to the whims and foibles of those higher up the chain of command. They laugh at their seniors' every joke, whether funny or not. If you find such hyper-sensitized attention-paying disgusting, you probably want to be or are already a brander.


The Core Workforce


The core workforce represents an organization's main knowledge base. These individuals add the most value by developing solutions that meet customer requirements. They generally have careers and are encouraged to stay within the organization through interesting projects that largely determine the organization's overall success. Results achieved rather than hours worked are emphasized because different people work best at different times and in different places.


The core workforce is the backbone of any successful business organization. These are the essential, highly skilled, and often tenured employees who perform the vital tasks that keep the organization running smoothly. Key characteristics and their importance:


  • Essential Skills and Experience: The core workforce possesses the specific knowledge, abilities, and experience critical to the organization's core operations. Imagine a team of software engineers who design and maintain the company's flagship product. Their expertise is vital to the organization's success.

  • Stability and Commitment: Core workers tend to be long-term employees with a strong commitment to the organization. They provide stability and continuity, allowing for efficient operations and predictable outcomes.Think of a team of experienced accountants who ensure the company's financial health year after year.

  • High Performance and Efficiency: With their extensive experience and honed skills, core workers are often highly productive and efficient. They understand the organization's processes and can complete tasks quickly and accurately. Imagine a team of production line workers who consistently deliver high-quality products on time.

  • Mentorship and Knowledge Transfer: The core workforce often acts as mentors and knowledge repositories for newer employees. They can pass on their expertise and organizational wisdom, ensuring a smooth transition and maintaining a high level of performance across generations.


Benefits of a Strong Core Workforce:


  • Improved Productivity and Efficiency: With a skilled and experienced core workforce, businesses can achieve higher levels of output and reduce waste.

  • Enhanced Innovation: Core workers can contribute valuable insights based on their experience, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

  • Reduced Costs: Lower employee turnover associated with a strong core workforce translates to cost savings in recruitment, training, and onboarding.

  • Stronger Employer Branding: A reputation for developing and retaining top talent attracts other high-caliber individuals, further strengthening the core workforce.


Investing in the Core Workforce:


  • Competitive Compensation and Benefits: Offering competitive salaries, benefits packages, and opportunities for growth demonstrates the organization's value for its core employees.

  • Training and Development: Investing in ongoing training and development programs keeps core workers' skills relevant and fosters a sense of career progression.

  • Work-Life Balance: Promoting a healthy work-life balance reduces burnout and fosters long-term commitment from core employees.


By recognizing the importance of the core workforce and investing in their well-being, businesses can ensure a stable foundation for continued growth and success.


The Contractual Fringes


The contractual fringes consist of individuals on the edge of organizations who specialize in tasks important but not core to the organization. These include consultants who work with different organizations on a temporary basis, often for specific projects, and then move on to another organization.


The term "contractual fringes" isn't a commonly used term in business or legal contexts. There are a few possibilities for what it might refer to, depending on the specific situation:


  • Fringe Benefits: This is the more likely interpretation. Fringe benefits are indirect compensation offered by an employer on top of base salary. They can include things like health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, paid time off (vacation, sick leave, holidays), retirement savings plans (401(k) contributions), tuition reimbursement, and more.

  • Contract Clauses Beyond Core Duties: In some cases, "fringe" might be used loosely to refer to clauses within a contract that go beyond outlining the core duties or deliverables. These clauses could encompass things like confidentiality agreements, non-compete agreements, intellectual property ownership rights, dispute resolution procedures, termination clauses, or specific work hour requirements.

  • Government Contracting Jargon: In the context of government contracting, there might be specific regulations or jargon related to fringe benefits offered to employees working on government contracts. Here, "contractual fringes" could be a reference to these specific regulations or the fringe benefits themselves mandated by the government contract.


To get a clearer understanding of what "contractual fringes" means in a specific context, it's best to:


  • Review the full document or conversation where the term was used. The surrounding text might provide clues about the intended meaning.

  • Consult with the other party involved in the contract. Ask them directly for clarification on what they meant by "contractual fringes."

  • If it's related to government contracting, search for specific regulations or guidance documents related to fringe benefits for government contractors  


The Flexible Labor Force


The flexible labor force comprises individuals who hold multiple jobs across different organizations simultaneously. They relate more to their profession than to any particular organization. These individuals are paid according to their results and cannot be supervised to the same degree as directly employed workers. They are paid as long as the jobs they do are completed within the stipulated time and to the required standard.


Flexible labor force refers to a workforce that can adapt to changing business needs. It's not a single concept, but rather a spectrum of work arrangements that differ from the traditional full-time, permanent employee model. Here are some key characteristics of a flexible labor force:


  • Variety of Work Arrangements: This includes part-time employees, temporary workers, freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, and gig workers. These arrangements allow businesses to scale their workforce up or down depending on project needs or seasonal fluctuations.

  • Skill-Based Focus: In a flexible labor market, the emphasis is often on skills and expertise needed for a specific task or project, rather than a long-term commitment to a particular company.

  • Technological Advancements: Technology platforms facilitate the connection between businesses and a flexible workforce. Online platforms connect businesses with freelance talent, while applicant tracking systems streamline the process of hiring temporary or contract workers.


Benefits of a Flexible Labor Force:


  • Cost Savings: Businesses can save on costs associated with full-time employees, such as benefits, overhead, and paid time off. They only pay for the work that is actually done.

  • Access to Top Talent: The flexible labor market provides access to a wider pool of skilled professionals, allowing businesses to tap into expertise that might not be readily available in their local area.

  • Increased Agility: A flexible workforce allows businesses to respond quickly to changing market conditions or project requirements. They can scale their workforce up or down as needed without long-term commitments.


Challenges of a Flexible Labor Force:


  • Management: Managing a diverse workforce with varying levels of commitment and expectations can be more complex than managing a traditional workforce.

  • Employee Engagement: It can be challenging to foster a sense of community and belonging among a flexible workforce that may not be physically present in an office or have a long-term commitment to the organization.

  • Job Security: For workers, a flexible labor market can mean less job security and fewer benefits compared to traditional employment.


The Trend of Flexible Work:


The rise of technology, the gig economy, and changing worker preferences have all contributed to the growing trend of flexible work arrangements. As this trend continues, businesses and workers alike will need to adapt to succeed in this evolving work environment. 




Entrepreneurs are more important than ever in the unorganized world, where fewer people can rely on organizations to take most of the risks. The uncertainty that entrepreneurs navigate is a fundamental characteristic of the unorganized world. Today, we are all entrepreneurs to some extent. Being an entrepreneur is all about attitude. You have to believe in something passionately, as there is no such thing as a successful half-hearted entrepreneur.


In an unorganized world, entrepreneurs become the architects of order, the builders of structure, and the navigators of chaos. While some might see such a world as daunting, for the entrepreneurial spirit, it's a breeding ground for opportunity. Here's how entrepreneurs can thrive in an unorganized environment:


Building the Foundation:


  • Innovation to Fill the Gaps: Where there's a lack of established systems, there's a desperate need for creative solutions. Entrepreneurs can introduce new technologies, services, and business models to bring order and efficiency to a chaotic landscape. Imagine developing a mobile payment system in a region with limited access to traditional banking infrastructure.

  • Resourcefulness and Adaptability: In an unorganized world, things rarely go according to plan. Entrepreneurs need to be resourceful, adapting their strategies on the fly and finding creative solutions with limited resources.Think of a logistics company that utilizes a network of motorbike riders instead of relying on a nonexistent road infrastructure.


Creating Stability and Trust:


  • Building Institutions: Entrepreneurs can play a crucial role in establishing foundational structures like legal frameworks, property rights, and contract enforcement mechanisms. These systems foster trust and predictability,critical ingredients for economic growth. Imagine launching a legal services company specializing in creating contracts and dispute resolution mechanisms in a region with a weak legal system.

  • Setting Standards and Quality Control: Without established regulations, quality and consistency can suffer. Entrepreneurs can introduce voluntary standards and certification processes to build consumer confidence and ensure a certain level of quality in goods and services. Think of a company providing organic certification for farmers in a region lacking oversight on agricultural practices.


Fostering Collaboration and Networks:


  • Building a Community: Entrepreneurs can act as connectors, bringing together individuals and organizations to collaborate and share resources. This can lead to the development of business networks and ecosystems that can thrive in an unorganized environment. Imagine creating a co-working space that provides shared resources and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs in a developing region.

  • Social Impact Entrepreneurship: In unorganized worlds, social issues often run rampant. Social entrepreneurs can leverage business principles to address these challenges, creating sustainable solutions that improve lives and communities. Think of a company developing affordable water purification systems for areas lacking clean water infrastructure.


While an unorganized world presents significant challenges, it also offers immense potential for the entrepreneur who can see the opportunities within the chaos. By being resourceful, adaptable, and willing to build the foundations of a functioning economy, entrepreneurs can become the driving force of positive change and prosperity.


To thrive as an entrepreneur, you need to live and breathe your business. Turning your hobby into a business is a good idea because you're typically passionate about your non-work interests, having invested time and money in them out of choice. Entrepreneurial success hinges on responsiveness and innovation. This is good news for passionate, focused, committed, and energetic individuals.


Becoming a Brander


Entrepreneurs are "branders." In today’s unorganized world, individuals should be branders—people who think of themselves as brands. It's no longer just products that need a brand identity; every individual needs to develop his or her own brand identity too. Outside of work, nearly everyone is a brand: we dress to express our personality, pursue various interests and hobbies, and engage in different activities with different people.


Becoming a brander involves developing and extending these differences into a way of making a living. Branders live life as if it is a resume, continuously adding qualifications and discoveries, learning, growing, and changing. Branders earn more than transfer earnings because they are in demand and cannot be in two places at once. You have to pay economic rent to persuade special individuals to work for you rather than apply their scarce talents elsewhere.


Rewards for Branders


Rewards paid to branders can take the form of pure cash payments or payments in kind, such as trailers on the studio lot. The size of these rewards depends on the amount of income over and above the economic rent the branders bring in. A unique film director, for instance, cannot direct more than a couple of films at once without the quality of their direction falling. Therefore, a director with unique talent will require payment at least equal to the level of transfer earnings to direct a film rather than pursue another interest, such as writing scripts.


Prerequisites for Small Business Growth


Several prerequisites are necessary for a small business to grow:


1. Talents: What you are good at. People have natural and acquired aptitudes for different things, such as drawing, writing, learning languages, or playing musical instruments.


2. Interests: What you enjoy spending your time doing. People have diverse interests, from digging up old bones to keeping fit. We should respect and encourage these different interests, as they equip us to meet the diverse challenges of the unorganized world.


We should dedicate most of our time and energy to our passions. Passionate individuals are more likely to succeed in their own businesses because they are genuinely interested in their work.


Developing Unique Selling Points (USPs)


Branders cultivate the differences that make them special. In the organized world, being average and ordinary was often encouraged and rewarded. However, in the unorganized world, being different is essential to being invited into and valued in dynamic interactions.


All individuals are unique, and we each have a responsibility to cultivate our differences when trying to live a fulfilled life. Emphasizing these differences rather than suppressing them is crucial. While we all share basic needs like sleep and food, beyond this common core, we should develop different skills, opinions, and interests.


Essential Components for Business Success


1. A Product or Service: Develop something unique in the marketplace, aimed at a different part of the market, or better than the market leader. Service your products and productize your services.


2. A Brand Presence: Individuals, like companies and products, must have a brand presence. Otherwise, they are rankers—interchangeable units of economic production with no options and no leverage. People want to partner with those who have unique knowledge or capabilities.


3. Networks of Contacts: The more people you can call upon, the better. Never miss an opportunity to exchange business cards. When assessing someone's capability, consider future applicability for other projects, not just current opportunities.


4. An Internet Presence: Have a professional-looking home page on the World Wide Web and an email address for easy contact. An online presence allows potential customers to find you first.


5. Use of Technology: Equip yourself with necessary technologies, such as a mobile phone, an Internet browser, email account, and a laptop. These tools help you stay connected and productive.


6. Business Alliances: Form partnerships with individuals and companies that have complementary skills and goals. Such alliances add value through customer support, equipment loans, industry insights, and networking opportunities.


7. Multiple Choices: Ensure you have multiple choices in customers, sources of finance, ideas, and talents. Job security today is about having choices and the ability to reinvent oneself in another role, firm, or industry.


Personality Traits of Rankers


Branders should exhibit qualities that maximize their chances of success in the unorganized world, whereas rankers should avoid these traits to survive in organized organizations that value compliance. Key traits for branders include:


1. Honesty: This supports individual and organizational change and learning. Honesty involves listening to your heart's responses to events and working out why you felt that way. Learning from these insights leads to positive change.


2. Charisma: A brander combines knowledge and ideas with communication and networking skills. Charisma helps convey ideas effectively, though it must be balanced with solid ideas.


3. Positive Thinking: Branders maintain a positive mental attitude, looking on the bright side of life. Enthusiasm and passion persuade others and help overcome challenges.


4. Openness to Diversity: Branders welcome new people, technologies, and ideas. They enjoy other cultures and compare different ways of doing things around the world.


5. Adaptability: Attitude is paramount. Successful individuals enact their ideas and make efforts to achieve their goals. Attitude determines success or failure more than ever before.


Expanding the Brand: Networking and Collaboration


One of the key strategies for thriving in the unorganized world is to continuously expand your network. Networking is not just about collecting business cards but about building meaningful relationships that can lead to collaboration and new opportunities.


1. Join Professional Associations: Becoming a member of professional organizations can provide access to industry events, resources, and connections that are invaluable for career growth.


2. Attend Conferences and Seminars: These events are great for learning about the latest trends and technologies in your field and for meeting potential clients, partners, and mentors.


3. Engage on Social Media: Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Instagram can be powerful tools for building your personal brand and connecting with industry leaders and peers.


4. Offer Value First: When networking, focus on how you can help others. Offering value first creates a positive impression and opens the door for future collaboration.


5. Mentorship: Both seeking mentors and becoming a mentor can provide valuable insights and expand your network. Mentorship helps in learning from experienced individuals and in giving back to the community.


Leveraging Technology for Growth


In the unorganized world, technology plays a crucial role in business success. Staying updated with the latest technological advancements can give you a competitive edge.


1. Digital Marketing: Utilize digital marketing strategies to reach a broader audience. This includes SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing


2. Automation Tools: Use automation tools to streamline repetitive tasks. Tools like Zapier, IFTTT, and various CRM systems can save time and increase efficiency.


3. Data Analytics: Leverage data analytics to understand your market better and make informed decisions. Tools like Google Analytics, Tableau, and various BI tools can provide insights into customer behavior and market trends.


4. Cloud Computing: Utilize cloud computing for scalable and flexible business solutions. Services like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure offer a range of tools for data storage, computing, and business applications.


5. Cybersecurity: Ensure robust cybersecurity measures to protect your data and customer information. Regularly update software, use strong passwords, and consider investing in cybersecurity solutions.


Continuous Learning and Development


To thrive in the unorganized world, continuous learning and development are essential. Here are some ways to keep growing:


1. Online Courses: Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and edX offer courses on a wide range of topics. Continuously update your skills by taking relevant courses.


2. Reading: Make a habit of reading books, journals, and articles related to your field. Staying informed helps you stay ahead of the curve.


3. Workshops and Webinars: Participate in workshops and webinars to learn new skills and stay updated with industry trends.


4. Certifications: Earning certifications can enhance your credibility and open up new career opportunities. Look for certifications that are recognized in your industry.


5. Peer Learning: Engage in peer learning by joining study groups or mastermind groups. Sharing knowledge with peers can lead to new insights and collaborative opportunities.


Financial Independence and Management


Achieving financial independence is a crucial aspect of thriving in the unorganized world. Effective financial management ensures stability and growth.


1. Budgeting: Create and stick to a budget. Track your expenses and ensure you are living within your means.


2. Savings and Investments: Regularly save a portion of your income and invest wisely. Diversify your investments to mitigate risks.


3. Emergency Fund: Maintain an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. This fund should ideally cover 3-6 months of living expenses.


4. Debt Management: Manage your debts wisely. Avoid high-interest debts and pay off existing debts systematically.


5. Retirement Planning: Plan for your retirement early. Consider various retirement plans and choose the one that best suits your needs.


Health and Well-being


Maintaining good health and well-being is essential for sustained success and happiness. Here are some strategies:


1. Physical Health: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep are fundamental. Incorporate physical activities that you enjoy into your daily routine.


2. Mental Health: Practice mindfulness, meditation, and stress management techniques. Seek professional help if needed and ensure you have a support system.


3. Work-Life Balance: Strive for a balance between work and personal life. Set boundaries and make time for hobbies, family, and relaxation.


4. Regular Check-ups: Regular medical check-ups help in early detection and treatment of health issues. Ensure you have health insurance to cover medical expenses.


5. Healthy Environment: Create a healthy work environment. Ergonomic furniture, proper lighting, and a clean workspace contribute to better productivity and well-being.


Personal Development and Self-Improvement


Personal development and self-improvement are ongoing processes that contribute to overall growth and fulfillment.


1. Goal Setting: Set clear, achievable goals for both personal and professional growth. Break them down into smaller, manageable tasks.


2. Time Management: Prioritize tasks and manage your time effectively. Use tools like calendars, to-do lists, and productivity apps.


3. Self-Reflection: Regularly reflect on your progress and areas for improvement. Journaling can be a useful tool for self-reflection.


4. Confidence Building: Engage in activities that build your confidence. Public speaking, volunteering, and taking on challenging projects can help.


5. Positive Relationships: Cultivate positive relationships. Surround yourself with supportive and inspiring individuals who encourage your growth.


Adapting to Change and Embracing Innovation


In an unorganized world, adaptability and innovation are key to staying relevant and successful.


1. Embrace Change: Be open to change and view it as an opportunity rather than a threat. Adapt your strategies and approaches as needed.


2. Innovate: Continuously seek ways to innovate in your work and personal life. Experiment with new ideas and be willing to take calculated risks.


3. Feedback and Improvement: Seek feedback regularly and use it to improve. Constructive criticism can provide valuable insights for growth.


4. Stay Informed: Keep abreast of industry trends and technological advancements. Being informed helps in making proactive decisions.


5. Resilience: Develop resilience to cope with setbacks and challenges. View failures as learning experiences and keep moving forward.


Building a Sustainable Future


Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in today's world. Here are some ways to contribute to a sustainable future:


1. Eco-Friendly Practices: Adopt eco-friendly practices in your business and personal life. Reduce, reuse, and recycle.


2. Sustainable Products: Choose sustainable products and services. Support businesses that prioritize sustainability.


3. Energy Efficiency: Implement energy-efficient solutions. Use renewable energy sources where possible.


4. Corporate Social Responsibility: Engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Contribute to community development and environmental conservation.


5. Education and Advocacy: Educate yourself and others about sustainability. Advocate for sustainable practices and policies.




Individuals form the backbone of any organization. Understanding and valuing individual differences is essential for creating a productive and harmonious work environment. Managers play a critical role in recognizing and harnessing these differences to achieve organizational goals. Emphasizing individuality and promoting diversity enhances team performance and contributes to the organization's overall success.


By fostering an inclusive environment and developing strong relationships, organizations can unlock the full potential of their diverse workforce. In the unorganized world, where traditional structures are less reliable, individuals must adapt by becoming branders, cultivating their unique qualities, and leveraging opportunities. The goal is to achieve Fat Liberty, combining freedom and prosperity for a fulfilling and successful life.


To thrive in the unorganized world, individuals must continuously learn, adapt, and innovate. Building a strong personal brand, leveraging technology, and maintaining a positive attitude are crucial. Financial independence, health, and well-being, along with personal development and sustainability, are essential components of success. By embracing change and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, individuals can navigate the complexities of the unorganized world and achieve their full potential.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page