What drives the way we run our businesses, our institutions, and our public and private agencies? Is it the needs of the organization or those of the individuals taking part? Realistically, it is both, and that is Laloux’ purpose: bringing people together. This theme takes the writer into areas of humanity beyond simply practical matters.
Let us see the direction Laloux takes. As cultures matured, hunter-gathering expanded into seed sowing, and tribes grew into communities. Activities multiplied as did the number of people engaged in them. With groups growing, so too did the power of the leader. Organization was initially strict, top down. The leaders commanded like Mafia dons, gang leaders and tribal chiefs.
When populations grew further, individuals became more vocal in their need for participation. Organizational structures shifted. The chief became a general; the pope a religious head; a school principal the director of policy; the government minister master of his realm. Their staffs carried out orders, made orders of their own and even advised their leaders. Organizations adjusted.
Then, as culture was reshaped by invention, by shifting human rights and social perspectives, innovation became key to staying ahead; machinery, competition, profit and growth now entered into the organizational equation. Multinational companies grew in number. Educators, no longer content with old styles of learning, wanted innovation as reflected in charter schools.
Humanity is constantly maturing. When deeper knowing and awareness increase within, so does knowledge gathered by our senses from without. Each event, person and interaction broadens an individual’s world view. Society, expressing these collected views, influences the weave of organization. And as society incorporates individual refinements, the needs of organizations and their improvement become central to their redesigning. The culmination of these successive stages of civilization and adaptations brings us to reinventions found in companies like Southwest Airlines and Ben & Jerry’s.
Yet, these are mere beginnings. Ultimately, the defining shift in worker attitude should be from the question “Who’s in charge in this organization?” to “How do we wish to be involved in this organization and why?” In other words, organizations should serve not only those who are involved in them but humanity or society at large — and for the benefit of earth itself.
Reinventing organizations requires being involved deeply, personally and not in a manner dictated by organizations. To be authentic, it must happen in the way I am, that is spiritual to me, that is reverential to dear ones and sacred to all of humanity and the earth. As each of us responds in like manner, an innate intelligence arises, and with that balancing we know we are on the right path.