People Never Behave Like Machines.

Don’t be confused by the title. We will not be getting into any sci-fi realm today with our comments. And we do know that often in organizations, we secretly wish the people around us would do exactly our bidding! But, really this ends up being less effective. Moe explored just this topic in a recent speech.

“Meg Wheatley is an esteemed writer, speaker and thinker. In writing about creating adaptive and resilient organizations, she observed that the story of the last 300 years of Western culture could be characterized by dominion and control and an all encompassing materialism. It began with a dream that it was within humankind’s province to understand the workings of the universe and to gain complete mastery over physical matter. It embraced the image of the universe as a grand, clockwork, or machine. This engineering image has led to organizational lives where we believe we can ignore the deep realities of human existence…spiritual questions and quests, people seeking love and acknowledgment, emotions, families, health crises, or deep worries.

People are seen/viewed as machines and controlled to perform with the same efficiency and predictability.

It is one of the great ironies of our age that we created organizations to constrain our problematic human natures and now the only thing that can save these organizations is full appreciation of the expansive capacities of us humans.

I believe that this old story has not created organizations that are sustainable over time or welcoming of the human spirit. And it is time for a new story. One which gives birth to itself using two powerful forces.

These forces are the need to be free to create ones self and the need to reach out for relationships with others.

Leaders who live in the new story help us understand ourselves differently by the way they lead. They trust our humanness—they welcome the surprises we bring to them. They are curious about our differences; they delight in our inventiveness; they nurture us, they connect us. They trust that we can create wisely and well, that we seek the best interests in our organization and our community and that we want to bring more good into the world.”

What is your organization like? Are you expected to be robots or does your organization get that it’s humanness is its greatest asset?

Jim Morris