Home Concepts Organizational Theory It is Time to Reinvent the Organization: As Places for People to Express Passion and Purpose

It is Time to Reinvent the Organization: As Places for People to Express Passion and Purpose

9 min read

If we want to break out of the hierarchical command and control mode, if we want to transform the organizations we work in, we cannot wait for permission, or for someone else to take the lead. We need to lead by example. Here’s how you can get started:
1. Remind yourself and others why the business exists, say what its design purpose is — if you don’t know, find out
2. Express the purpose as a compelling context for everything the organization engages in – and a context that is always beyond delivering on your KPIs or maximizing profit
3. Live the core values so they shape your behaviors. Know how you will act when you see colleagues acting inconsistently with the values
4. Express what you do as a clearly defined role(s) – with accountabilities, responsibilities, decision-making authorities, and what others expect of you
5. Contribute to creating the future, and the strategies to realize it. Make it an inclusive process — by contributing
6. Focus your day-to-day activities and interactions on sensing and responding to the real world vs. trying to predict, plan and control
7. Know the key metrics and measures of your performance and make them visible to all. The gap between what is happening and the outcomes you want is the context for your innovation and creativity
8. All practices and systems need to be designed to support work, yours and the people in your immediate circle, as work changes change the practices and systems
9. Do your bit to maintain individual and collective energy and vitality, it is just as important as maintaining positive cash flow for the businesses long-term viability.

We are all familiar with the Internet ¬– few would doubt its power to mobilize large numbers of people in coordinated action. It is the most adaptive intelligent autonomous self-organizing system we have invented to date.

Now imagine you are part of a self-organizing organization with that same power to mobilize and engage all its stakeholders in forwarding the purpose of the business, and all within a set of shared values and organizing principles. That is a possibility that is worth nailing to the front door of each and every organization everywhere — some organizations, like the Catholic Church of the 1500s, will tear it up and call it heretical, for others it may just be the impetus they need to start a transformation of their own.

So as Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

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