Let’s face it: despite the best intentions, companies are less than ideal environments to work in and to spend time in: they force people to work and act inauthentically.
Our views are summarized in a brief, incomplete manifesto that you’ll find below.
Based on these views we have launched Authentic Organization – a platform to discuss this fundamental problem, share views, exchange thoughts, hoping that this will catch on and become a movement that triggers massive change in how companies are led, attracting decision makers, thinkers and consultants.
Please visit the site to read our thoughts and to get involved if you wish:
Change has become a pseudo-science nobody understands. The foundations are wrong.
We tend to forget that there is mechanical change and there is organic change. Mechanical change can be managed and measured; it can even be contained. There is however a fact that any mechanical engineer will confirm: not even mechanical change (in machines!) produces outcomes with 100% predictability.
To assume that we can manage, measure, perhaps contain organic change is delusional; to expect to do all this with 100% accuracy is dangerous especially if we deploy (mechanical) instruments to support such expectations.
All business problems are organizational problems and all organization problems come down to the question of authenticity. We challenge you to find one single exception!
There is no business without people. Business is more than the sum of various transactions. With the appearance of the first corporations people got subordinated to processes: they were “placed” into mechanical roles and with this they no longer organized organically but were imitating – begrudgingly – a machine. If automation completely runs its course and there is a future where companies no longer need to employ any people because they will have fully become machines, even then: there is no business without people.
The company is not the organization. You own and to some degree control the former but not the latter.
As long as people are employed, they will always organize themselves differently from the blueprint of the org. chart. Obviously you have two ways to go about this: the first one, which is pompously called management science, is well known to everybody: turn people into machines and eventually replace them with robots. The second one is to understand how people organize organically and tap into this force of nature.
Companies don’t have any culture. Organizations could.
It’s obvious that machines don’t have a culture and it’s also obvious that a company is more of a machine than an organic organization. How we do things, values translated to behaviors and similar are so far away from a culture as a beehive is from the Roman Empire at its peak.
You can’t turn a company into an organization; this works the other way around. Mary Shelley’s intuitive work, Frankenstein is of symbolic value when it comes to attempting to turn a mechanical entity into an organism. The intuition about the absurdity of this effort may be why people don’t take team building exercises seriously.
So called corporate roles don’t offer the chance for authenticity for anybody. There is no such thing as natural born payroll administrator, search engine optimizer, software engineer, material scientist, controller, marketing guy, etc.
The Career was a fundamentally flawed concept the moment it was concocted – this is increasingly becoming evident with time. The sinister premise of the Career is that the corporate ladder is reflective of the evolution of people, implying that a SRVP is a more advanced life form than a Director, who in turn is more evolved than a manager, not to mention the CEO position which symbolizes (according to this theory) human perfection, quantitatively: the bigger the company the more perfect the CEO.
The promise of self-realization through a career has made people feel good about signing a deal they otherwise wouldn’t have. Many things have changed in the past 150 years and it seems it’s time to develop new deals.
Views decide. Behavior is based on thinking, thinking is based on views. Based on views, the same activity will yield different outcomes. There is a difference between fantasies and views! Views have become rather uniform across academia, consulting and corporate management, domains where players regularly switch seats thus maintaining a rather inbred thinking. Companies have become predictable bureaucracies pursuing the same goals in the same way with only quantitative differences; it is no surprise that a fundamentally quantitative factor, SCALE has become the new ultimate competitive advantage.
This is an incomplete, evolving manifesto. We have collected a total of over 60 points that sum up our views in three categories: Leadership and organization; Strategy, Identity & Transformation; Communications protocols & Style elements.
They comprise part a new book called Philosophy of Integration, coming out soon, as a follow up to Critical Thinking? Introduction to navigating the irrational. If you’re interested, please feel free to pre-book it by giving us your email address. You’ll also get a free copy of Critical Thinking with your order!