A real return to prosperity and long-term growth will require a rebirth of business based on new rules for a new era. The interplay between social, cultural, and economic transformation accelerates the need for organizations to become agile, strategic, innovative, and effective. Yet organizations are doing little to develop collaboration, influence, perspective, integration, and relevance to a common context. Without attention to the human characteristics, the organizational characteristics—agile, strategic, innovative, and effective—become meaningless buzzwords; as they already have for some organizations.
A recent article in PsychologyToday “Misunderstanding the brain is bad for business” reinforces that organizations pay little attention to the human dimension. The article discusses how the physical elements that organization’s invest in to drive collaboration and innovative creativity are shown to discourage it. Low cubicle walls, non-private workspaces, and crowding detract from human collaboration. Open floor plans derail attention and morning meetings do not permit people to use the best time of the day to tap creativity and insight. Improving how people feel at work has a bigger effect on collaboration.
Old economic rules placed the product and producer at the center, and organizations developed organizational narcissism. The individual became a disembodied personification of an employee, consumer, supplier, or partner. How can an organization hope to develop a trust-based relationship with individuals outside the organization (i.e., new consumers, engaging them in creating new products and services) when it does not have that trust with its internal individuals (i.e., employees)? The old rules that are poorly suited to the values of today’s new consumers are also poorly suited to the relationships organizations have with their employees, suppliers, and partners.
New rules shift the focus from institutional centrism to the individual. Placing the individual at the center is about igniting the ability of every individual to make an intellectual contribution and recasting expectations of organizational behavior and performance. Gartner IT1 clients can access “Organizational Principles for a New Economy” which discusses the principles providing a framework for organizations to create an environment of collaborative coordination. In such an environment, the relevance of individuals to each other is heightened in order to rebuild trust, release value, and create new wealth. Without attention to human characteristics, the organizational characteristics required for the new economy will not take hold.
Organizations must shift their focus to recognize the importance of individuals. They must pay attention what human’s need to encourage the collaboration and openness required for innovation, hypothesis generation, investigation, imagination, initiative, and calculated risk taking. We need the insightful skills of humans to be unleashed – the new secret weapon.
Great books related to this topic include:
- Shoshana Zuboff, James Maxmin. The Support Economy. Penguin Books, 2002.
- George Soros. The Soros Lectures. New York, New York: Public Affairs, 2010.
Thanks to @trevorsnaith tweet via @tetradian for the inspirational link to the Psychology Today post.