“The Earth has music for those who listen.”
Most of us instinctively recognize the old ways of running organizations, which can be traced by to the 1700s and earlier periods, cannot meet the challenges of the 21st century. In fact, our wondering from a natural, community-based model of organizations to a mechanistic industrial-age model is at the root of many of society’s problems. Dee Hock, visionary organizational leader and founder of VISA, wrote way back in 1978:
“The mechanistic, command and control, industrial-age corporations and the fixed manager for fixed duties, such godsends of the Industrial Age, are not only increasing irrelevant, they have become a positive public menace.”
Sadly, many organizations today continue to be trapped in the machine model of reality that grew out of the industrial age. How do we get unstuck and shift toward a model of life-enhancing enterprise- one that values people, community and nature and our incredibly networked world? As discussed below, the key to our success moving forward is to create nature-inspired organizations.
Organizational inertia, or unwillingness to change, is tied to three powerful, mutually reinforcing forces – values, perspective, and behavior (see diagram above). Each of these affects, and is affected by the other two. Values, as our social DNA, shape the lens through which we see the world and often guide our decisions, actions or organizational development. Perspective, as the lens through which we see and interpret reality, in turn, affects how our values develop and how we behave. Behavior is how we act and relate within our environment. Environmental feedback regarding the results of our behavior shapes our values and our perspective. If we wish to transform our lives and organizations, we must shift our values, perspective and behavior.
Values, like DNA in a cell, define reality, structures, interactions and relationships. For instance, individual and organizations that resist change tend to develop a thick, impenetrable membranes between themselves and the outside world. They selectively see only what conforms to their worldview. They remain stuck in their internal paradigm and find it difficult to perceive or adapt to changes.
Here are some questions I’d like you to consider:
- What is your value-perspective-behavior system?
- What factors shaped or influenced that system?
- What obstacles prevent you moving toward being a life-enhancing enterprise?
- What goals or habit shifts will help you become a life-enhancing leader?
Contact me today if you need help answering these questions or want to know more about creating a nature-inspired organization.