Can we create organizations free of the pathologies that show up all too often in the workplace? Free of politics, bureaucracy, and infighting; free of stress and burnout; free of resignation, resentment, and apathy; free of the posturing at the top and the drudgery at the bottom? Is it possible to reinvent organizations, to devise a new model that makes work productive, fulfilling, and meaningful? We organized a wonderful webinar with Frederic Laloux to find out how….
Can we create soulful workplaces―schools, hospitals, businesses, and nonprofits―where our talents can blossom and our callings can be honored? Can we create organizations that help sustain the earth instead of depleting its resources? Many people might dismiss this as wishful thinking. “We have egos, we play politics, we like to blame, criticize and spread rumors. This will never change.” But, on the other hand, we have all experienced peak moments of teamwork where achievements came joyfully… Which voice do you listen to…?
The webinar recording with Frederic Laloux is accessible for paying members.
Self-management, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose are what “new organizations” offer their employees – it’s a whole new way of organizing and collaborating that is emerging around the globe – and it is possible! Some impressive organizations are silently running their business in a whole new way for many years but went unnoticed until now.
Stages from wolf packs to families
Their new way matches quite nicely with the stages of human development. We started out in the tribal phase with magic thinking and hunters/gatherers. Then we had the agrarian revolution that taught us how to plan for crops to harvest and structure our communities in hierarchies and schedule our time. The scientific revolution in the Renaissance pushed us to think for ourselves and innovate, achieve goals and do our best to get ahead in life – using our brains instead of authority and social class. This lasted through the industrial revolution and the next technology push, the information age. Welcome to our post-modern information age where people long for a human touch, value-driven cultures, kindness, empowerment, stakeholder value, positive leadership…
Can we create soulful workplaces where our callings are honored? Click To Tweet
The organizational stages during human development resembled wolf packs, armies, machines, and families. What’s next? This will be the fifth time that we’ll do a major leap in human development. Will we call this the authentic age, the integral age? We will start to self-manage, to be ourselves at work and find a purpose.
Frederic Laloux: Reinventing Organizations
This fascinating perspective is painted by Frederic Laloux, a former management consultant who researched organizations that energize people. In his book Reinventing Organizations, he argues that self-management, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose are three key breakthroughs that new organizations can offer.
First is self-management. Working without a boss in large organizations sounds like a recipe for chaos. Frederic found: you need structure, but you don’t need a boss.
The second difference is Wholeness. There’s an expectation we show up at work with a professional self-mask. But it’s not our whole self. The masculine is appreciated; it means resolve, determination, being clear, looking forward and not backward. The feminine side is what you leave home when you go to work: questioning, vulnerability, caring, emotions, intuitions, and spiritual considerations. In new organizations, it’s encouraged to show up with our whole selves – because they use practices that accept people as they are – and they brim with energy and authenticity.
The third breakthrough is Evolutionary Purpose. All organizations say they have a purpose, but the real priority is often money. Organizations put their competitive advantage in a vault. New organizations love to contribute to a purpose, other than their self-interest and are not afraid to do so and lose money.
In the traditional organization, the leaders create vision and strategy and lead execution. The organization is an inanimate object – leaders program it. The new guys believe that organizations are living beings. The organization itself has a sense of direction that it wants to manifest. In new organizations, our role as leaders is to listen to where the organization wants to go naturally and to align people and processes with this direction.
Are you ready to consider the 21st-century organization? Check out the book Reinventing Organizations and become a member to access our webinar recording.
Marcella Bremer co-founded this Leadership & Change Blog and OCAI-online.com. She’s an author and culture & change consultant.