Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Organization Is Alive

[5 April 2010 - Strategy + Business] To change an organization from within, it helps to understand four basic circulatory systems, analogous to the channels of communication in a living body. ... Over the past 30 years, management thinkers have largely come to accept the idea that organizations are not machines; they are as unpredictable, unruly, self-organizing, and even sentient as any living beings. Gareth Morgan, Arie de Geus, Peter Senge, Meg Wheatley, and others have written eloquently about this. Even those who don’t buy the idea of organizations being literally alive are bound to agree when writers such as Jon R. Katzenbach and Zia Khan (in their book, Leading Outside the Lines: How to Mobilize the Informal Organization, Energize Your Team, and Get Better Results  [Jossey-Bass, 2010]) suggest that hard-nosed, engineering-oriented leaders need to develop virtuosic skill at managing the informal, personal aspects of a company. In other words, although organizations may not literally be alive, when it comes to running and changing them, they might as well be. In that light, the primary organizational challenge facing any business leader is much like the challenge facing a parent: to understand this living entity, placed partly in your care, well enough that the moves you make will lead to productive growth and change. And although there is a body of theoretical work on living systems (including that of Brazilian philosopher Humberto Maturana) to draw on, those writings have little to do with the day-to-day realities of a product launch or a project team. More

No comments:

Post a Comment