Work and Love

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Of course it’s understandable to want a clear cut set of instructions on how to proceed – a list of “how to’s” in proper sequential order.  But just like creativity, transformation doesn’t work that way.  Instead, we offer you a distinction as a starting place and a series of questions to guide you as you begin.  Consider the distinction a place to stand, from which to perceive your organization in a new way, and the questions as possible doorways into the space of inquiry.  Transformation is not a new answer to an old question, but rather a new question that’s not so much seeking an answer as it is exploring a landscape.

First the distinction: The whole is greater than the sum of the parts and you can’t get to the whole by summing up the parts.   As we’ve said throughout this article, the conventional way of dealing with work and love is to consider them separate from each other.  Since both are desirable, usually the manager in charge will ask him or herself something like, “What is the proper balance between the two in the current circumstances?”  In other words, what’s the correct compromise to be made here?  But seeking a compromise, no matter how well meaning, is exactly the wrong approach for achieving transformation.

A compromise is based on the premise that a Systemic Imperative is one of the ingredients in the organizational soup, that is, one of the many parts that make up the organizational whole.  But this is not so.  A Systemic Imperative is not one of the parts –it is the whole or the context, which gives sense and meaning to all the parts.  If a company is really more committed to performance than to people (regardless of what might be in the corporate vision statement), then adding a bit of concern for people won’t make any difference.

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