Essentially there are only two types of changes, representing two opposing ends of a large spectrum:
Inert change, the direction of which is downwards and controlled change, the direction of which is upwards.
Ironically, as they fall, organizations rationalize their lack of control with what they call change management.
There is no compromise, consensus or management in architecting and leading upward change.
“Tools” for architecting change are
- The concept, which serves as a platform of integration for strategy and leadership must be articulated. Such concept must be based on principles (not in the conventional sense).
- Strategy and organizational design
- Essential (vertical) leadership
Upward change essentially goes against the current (fights convictions), since the environment is falling. The challenges are tremendous and in this context terms like courage, integrity and loyalty regain their original, undistorted meaning.
Upward change is transformative especially when initiated in modern business organizations.
Upward change accomplishes what people experiencing inert change are only dreaming about: synthetic integration between actors of the given system and those of the environment (be it customers, stakeholders, whatever).
This question comes up in my conversations more and more often. In this post I will focus only on one single aspect of this question because I think this aspect is somehow missed by most people:
Business does not provide context for proper qualitative differentialtion between men and women; this means that the gender “question” is irrelevant.
If anything, it eliminates qualitative differentiation! In other words: decision making in context of profit does not call for masculine OR feminine qualities! No man or woman is qualified since there is no qualitative factor present. Ironically, the drive for business leadership roles only strengthens the tendency of undifferentiation, all under the aegis of diversity.
The answers to what constitutes virile/masculine or feminine qualities are to be found entirely outside the business domain.
Acknowledging this, and introducing principles (masculine, feminine and others) into the organization thus enabling the emergence of organic hierarchies, where economics are subordinated to its appropriate level, calls for leadership in a higher (than business) sense.
Image source: http://surfeurope.mpora.com/news/top-women-surfers-heading-for-mozambique.html
The word integrity is abused; it is abused to such a degree and so pervasively that it is worth having a clear look at what is actually meant by it.
To keep this short, we won’t draw conclusions here, we will only resort to the presentation of facts in the context of organic organization, explaining the meaning of the word starting with the point of view of specialists, positioned at the bottom of organic organization, and finishing with that of the main integrator, positioned at the top of the organic organization. Not wanting to become overly philosophical, we will not elaborate on world views and only briefly present the following factors for consideration: will and role. As a general rule, it must be mentioned that the fundamental will of superior players in each role is to integrate up. To what degree they are ready to make compromises on this, determines their level of integrity; the less integrity the more deviations we can see in behavior and communications.
Before we continue we must emphasize, that organic organizations and business organizations are in almost polar opposition to each other, meaning that in business organizations the top of the perceived hierarchy is mostly occupied by specialists, unable to exert any kind of integration, and a so called “main integrator” is almost never present.
The function of specialists is performance. Integrity on this level means that the person actually does what he says he does. Being a specialist -just like the other three roles within an organic organization- is a mode of existence with a very specific world view, and corresponding thinking. The behaviour of specialists is conditioned; it has the least amount of freedom in comparison to the other three roles, it is the most dependent on circumstance. It’s easy to see that if the conditions are not favourable, meaning that the other roles are not purely present (and they are never purely present), to live up to the premise of “I do what I say and I say what I do” is almost impossible. So even on this lowest level, integrity is constantly compromised; and of course the more it is compromised, to more it is talked about. What specialists want, in addition to the chance to perform, is recognition and reward. In lack of a direct force of integration coming from “above” (from integrating specialists), the coveted recognition and reward becomes purely quantitative, in other words they completely get out of control.
The role of integrating specialists, in a business setting is to manage expectations. Not up, but down. Since the roles are never present in a pure form, reality is that they have to manage expectations both up and down. On this level integrity means (in addition to not lying) successfully representing groups and finding consensus. Integrating specialists want acknowledgment.
The role of the specialized integrators is only minimally connected to specialized functions. They are focused on so called vertical integration. Vertical integration is qualitative, based on principles. Simply put: principles are the cause of organic organization. What makes an organization mechanic is precisely the lack of principles: they can’t “emerge”, they must be created; so specialized integrators represent principles and this representation, this “presence” (of principles) is what ensures upward vertical integration. From another aspect: specialized integrators are trying to transform a mechanic organization to an organic one. Since it is obvious to everybody that this can’t be accomplished perfectly, the integrators role is comparable to that of a warrior.
Integrators do not make compromises on principles, because this would mean that they compromise themselves. We can only talk about near perfect integrity among integrators.
Is it worth talking about illusions?
Illusions are incomplete realities; incomplete in that the essential factor is missing. In other words: they are almost completely substantial. This is why they so dangerous: nobody argues with substance as reality. The word substantial comes from the Latin sub stare: to stand below something. The implication is: the “one standing” only exists relative to what it stands below, without which it is just an illusion.
In business terms: the existence of business functions, components, factors, or business as a whole is only an illusion if it lacks awareness of the essence it depends on. And as we all know the attention span of businesses rarely extends beyond the substantial.
From this context today all businesses are illusory, including the ones that are perceived to be doing fine. This caused a pervasive identity crisis; the identity crisis of companies, organizations and participating people. The right questions are never being asked, leadership is non-existent while it has become an industry (leadership development, consulting, etc.), the confusion about ethics is wide spread and people don’t have the slightest idea about what they are doing besides trying to make some money. From this point of view there isn’t much difference between street hustlers and CEOs: in fact the style elements (world view, thinking, values, speaking, behaviour, etc.) of the two are increasingly becoming the same.
Drawing attention to the areas of Leadership and Organization; Strategy, Identity and Transformation; Communications Protocols and Style Elements as the three main areas where illusions prevail, may trigger thinking that results in essential leadership, which is the prerequisite for the much needed integration on all levels of business, as well as between business and its strategic environment.
LEADERSHIP & ORGANIZATION
- Leadership can not exist in an environment that is subordinated to quantity (and its analogies, like profit, revenue, various KPIs, etc.).
- Leadership and business have no common denominator: one is based on principles, the other is based on money.
- Power is not subordinated to money. Never was, never will be.
- Economics can only be a third grade factor (at best) in an organic organization. The first one is principle the second one is power.
- Money is perceived to be power only by 3rd grade people and below.
- The concept behind the modern term of shared leadership disregards (often denies) the vertical direction of organic organization, and assumes that leadership is a specialized function. This concept is the brainchild of specialists, and it has no foundation from the highest point of view, i.e. from the point of view of principles and integration.
- There is no organization without principle(s) and power. Money is not a principle and it is not power. Consequently there are no organizations today, only businesses. That, which is called an organization today is a pseudo-unity, which has been assembled based on functions and inferior goals (not purpose!), thus the first step in the “realization” of these organizations is infinitely mechanical, and with time, mechanization will proliferate, which results in increasing inferiority.
- It is not the organization that makes (breeds, cultivates, “develops”, etc.) the leaders, and it is especially not –horribile dictu!- the HR department; it is the leader that calls forth organization with the appropriate structure. Leaders exist without happen to be leading an organization but (organic) organizations do not exist without a leader.
- The “concept” of the organization is its highest point. There is only decline from there: operations without leadership therefore are in analogy with decline. Today this applies even to an organic organization. The leader must actively represent the concept, which must be based on principles. Once organization is under way, the leader’s role is to exercise maximum control, i.e. to stop involution, and ensure integration. In short: he must ensure that principles are manifest throughout the organization.
- Leadership is qualitative, and its direction is vertical. Its starting point is the centre and it is oriented upwards: that is for transcendence; transcendence of current states: organizational and individual. In other words it integrates “up”.
- Management is quantitative and its direction is horizontal. It integrates towards the centre. While it is fundamentally quantitative, it does have qualitative elements, which are manifest in the function of (horizontal) integration.
- Leadership, purpose, organization and strategy. These are not silos. No matter what the organization’s function, it is not finance, hr, technology, marketing or any other function that is responsible for leadership, purpose, organization and strategy. It is the leader who, as the main integrator, incorporates leadership, purpose organization and strategy; all in one.
- In polar opposition to business organization there is organic organization. One is mechanical and lifeless the other is powerful and transcendent. From this point of view alone, with the exception of very few, today all organizations are business organizations: business, military, government, academia, religion.
- Artificial organizations are put together because otherwise they would never come to life: they can not have a true purpose; without any connection to principles this is not possible.
- Opposite to the common sentiment, the “evolution” of an organization is not from the parts towards the whole; it is not based on quantitative factors, where complexity is measured by the number of units. The evolution of the organization is rhythmic, in that it starts with the whole, which is the concept and the purpose of the organization, through the parts, leading back to the whole, through an intense effort of integration, following an up-down-up rhythm, whereas the first step towards the realization of the purpose is in the same time the step farthest away from it. This applies only to organic organizations. In modern business organization the first step is the closest to the concept, and the subsequent steps continue leading farther away from it.
- With some compromise data maybe considered as the smallest unit of organization. But an organization does not consist of data or information: it’s not a sum total of data. This view is unacceptable.
- Today both money and information is mishandled, but it’s not enough: money is treated as information and information is treated as money.
- Leadership is intrinsically elitist: it presumes the presence of superiority.
- The inferior rightfully perceives the integrity of the superior as a direct threat to his existence.
- Today the dominant view flat out denies the existence of superiority. Therefore the whole environment is counter-leadership; to say the least.
- With the denial of superiority, degrees of inferiority are being considered as levels of superiority. Naturally this is only pseudo superiority, which can be easily disclosed by its purely quantitative nature. Superiority is qualitative: it has nothing to do with “amounts”, like amount of experience, amount of knowledge, etc.
- Acknowledging/sensing/understanding the superiority of those above us in the true hierarchy indicates that our range of potentials includes superiority. Those who truly deny superiority do so because their “reality” does not contain it. Not potentially, not virtually and certainly not actually.
- The confidence of the inferior individual comes from numbers: there are more of us. In so called moments of truth quantity is rarely present. Such moments crumble the inferior individual; while such moments rarely happen in the life of the inferior individual, superior persons are literally living in continuous moments of truth.
- The small man is practical, opportunistic and vulgar. As they aptly describe him: “he does not care about higher ideals until he fills his stomach”. Even when he feels safe, the realm of the superior is an abstraction for him; he may discuss it between sports, cars or the current TV show, but only briefly and without any effect on him. Numerous small men usurp leadership positions, but they will never be leaders; no organization maybe centered around them.
- The story of the self improvement/self-help book hero is not a heroic story. It’s a repulsive story of senseless mechanical formulas with inferior style elements. Fundamentally there is no difference between a self help book hero and an MBA hero.
- It is laudable if people reach back to the great leaders of the past for leadership advice; it is preposterous however if they, grotesquely, adjust those advices to the inferior conditions of the present, or make it fit their own inferiority. There is no compromise in leadership as upward integration: it is a heroic praxis…
- ….It is even more disgusting if authors usurp the names of great leaders for their own personal name, or as it is commonly called : for building their own personal brand.
- Today, at this moment, each and every organization is so far away from the ideal state as it has never been; nobody is positioned where they should be, nobody is doing what they should be. …and there is no sign of a turnaround.
- Each and every organization today is in an identity crisis. Not because there is confusion about their identity. They simply do not have an identity.
- Each and every organization must be transformed. The required transformation however can not be delivered by so called “transformation consultants”. It must start outside of the corporate setting.
- Today’s leadership does everything in their “power” to maintain an illusion of order to the degree that they seriously believe that the inert fall that they are experiencing is “good change” and they manage it well.
- Lies have never been like this: they are honest. But under the surface of this personable, friendly, upbeat honesty there is a deep identity crisis. Everybody knows they should be doing/thinking/seeing something else. Today “people don’t believe what they know and don’t know what they believe” (Bela Hamvas).
- The other type of lie is the habitual lie. It is so ingrained in the mass that it is almost expected. This is one reason why liars and thieves are not ostracized in the corporate world: who would ostracize them?
- Everything that happens in an illusory setting is an illusion; The bizarre phenomena of corporate training with fireworks, offsite team building exercises, etc. is a testament to this.
- There is no such thing as absolute illusion. This would be a contradiction. Illusion means incomplete reality, which is in analogy with lack of clarity. This is why it is so dangerous.
- The rational mind, which is incapable to look behind facts, inadvertently contributes to the growth of illusion. Such minds desperately need the presence of a force of integration, which can only come from the supra rational realm. They sense this, yet they deny it. Rationally speaking they have no other choice. Thus what makes a rational person great (specialists and integrating specialists), is not the perfection of their rational faculties, but their attitude towards the superior. An intuition that is analogous with faith.
- Leadership has become a reward: not for mediocrity but for inferiority: there is nothing superior about people in leadership roles today.
- Only few people expect superiority from leaders and even they do so only unknowingly. These people are the disappointed ones. For the overwhelming majority, superiority is beyond comprehension: these are the cynical ones. Since in mechanical organizations there is no true path of realization, it’s unavoidable that the disappointed people will become cynical. The cynical ones never become disappointed: that would presuppose the evolution of the organization.
- Supremacy is the foundation of respect. Supremacy, dominance, control: analogous terms. In the presence of true supremacy those, who occupy roles lower on the hierarchy but are predisposed for transcendence, relate to those superior to them, with respect. Superior men, since their range of potentials fully encloses those of the inferior, possess full understanding. However superior men should never accommodate (adjust themselves to) the inferior. The inferior in turn, due to his lack of understanding should never “challenge” the superior. Challenging principles is senseless revolution.
- All books on strategy and leadership on the shelves of the business section in bookstores are worthless. Each and every one of them has the same foundation, propagates the same purpose, has the same style and is written for the same audience: the mass. In fact the mass is their foundation and their purpose. This statement, like all others, is unintelligible from the practical (lower) point of view.
- People’s purpose is not work or work for money (to buy them “freedom” or whatever other purpose it may serve). If you make them believe it is, or you believe it yourself no matter how nice you are to them, what benefits you provide, how creative the work environment you create is, what autonomy you allow, or how much you care: you are lying to them and to yourself.
- Leadership is not chronicled in a resume. Resumes are appropriate for specialists and integrating specialists only. For specialized integrators but especially for the main integrator it is impossible to have a resume. But again: most people occupying roles of the top echelon of leadership are “career leaders”, just usurping power: they are mostly specialists and integrating specialists (at best): they simply don’t belong there.
- The current educational system, including all schools and training programs, are set up exclusively to produce specialists.
STRATEGY, IDENTITY & TRANSFORMATION
- The foundation of strategy can only be one single thing: identity. Without identity there is no strategy.
- A reactive strategy, i.e. one that is determined largely by market conditions, is not a strategy.
- Identity is not to be confused with brand identity. Brand identity is only the style element of identity; the reflection of the core.
- Identity is the reason for an organization to exist. Without identity organizations are just illusions; since they lack essence, they don’t have anything, they don’t think anything, they don’t accomplish anything. Anything they perceive to be having, thinking or accomplishing is just an illusion which easily crumbles at the slightest probe of the intellect.
- The reason why companies are always looking outside, to competitors, the strategic environment, trends, etc., is because they don’t have identity: there is nothing to look at on the inside. An organization with identity transforms the whole strategic environment.
- Some may ask the question: can an existing organization be given an identity? The answer is no. At least not without transforming it first.
- Nobody can ask people to identify with corporate goals: becoming number x in the market, producing superior products, etc; “purposes”, like contributing to the well being of humanity are simply illusions and not to be taken seriously in current settings.
- The more “humanistic” a modern organization’s purpose is, in actuality the more destructive they are to humanity. This especially applies to those, whose mission is openly and obviously just a PR stunt.
- Transformation is only possible if there is one person suitable for transformation, and he is in the right role.
- Elements of transformation are principle, principle based concept, control, power, awareness and a synthesized praxis. These are terms surrounded by complete confusion today. These, and related terms cannot be grasped by mechanic, rational thinking. It requires supra-rational intellect, which presumes a truly spiritual orientation, i.e. supremacy.
- A true leader maybe aware of „strategy schools” but considers them as entertainment only. If you create strategy, you must not be thinking in strategic terms.
- The significance of facts is 3rd grade only; at best.
- Identity is beyond facts. Facts relate to identity as the periphery of the circle to the centre.
COMMUNICATIONS PROTOCOLS & STYLE ELEMENTS
- The four actors in almost any organization are, in a hierarchical order, starting at the top: one main integrator, a few specialized integrators, large number of integrating specialists and the specialists. These are the true roles in the organization, the rest are functions. Functions should be centered around roles.
- Each one of the four actors may exist potentially and actually.
- A specialist may never become a main integrator; maximum an integrating specialist.
- The main integrator, the representative of the highest degree of vertical integration, is not a bottom up “career”; it is a mode of existence, just like the other three roles. The only way to maintain the illusion of that everybody is a leader is to completely quantify the definition of leadership, which also automatically voids articulated values of any quality, turning them into illusions.
- The organization should enable people to occupy their role and to actualize and transcend it.
- Once a specialized integrator reaches the next level, he will likely leave the organization; either way his relationship to the main integrator will change substantially.
- If possible, the main integrator should never communicate directly with specialists in a discursive manner.
- Nobody in the organization should make statements about things that are (should be) either obvious or well known to their audience; “we treat employees fairly” is a good example of this: never make such statement, just do it! Another one is: “sales sucks, we must improve it”… and many others.
- The specialized integrators’ development (realization) is insured by the main integrator and/or the great masters; the main integrator’s evolution is ensured only by himself and the great masters. The top echelon does not need education in the conventional sense. The integrating specialists’ and specialists’ education is ensured by schools and training programs. Their realization is insured, indirectly, by the main integrator, through the mediation of specialized integrators.
- Great men are those who are
- aware of their position and role
- oriented upward
- focused on actualizing their potentials
- In a highly organic organization cynicism and sabotage rarely surfaces. If it does, it comes from people who are usurping their role and the corresponding power. If this happens in an organic organization, these people must be immediately eliminated, they can not be “transformed”, i.e. they can’t be lead back to their role and corresponding function. In today’s mechanical, syncretic organizations everybody usurps power, so the whole organization must be transformed; cynicism and sabotage is simply a clear sign of no leadership and a total lack of integration.
- If the main integrator’s realization is not perfect, or near perfect, the weak spots in the organization become apparent. One of the main signs of this is simply the “revolt of the specialists”.
- A person with integrity does not subordinate the superior to the inferior. The lower we go on true the hierarchy, the more compromises we encounter in this regards.
- The superior/elite is present among all four players of the organization. Organic organization is in the sign of superiority.