In my mission to foster a work revolution, I operate on a pretty simple premise:
If humans insist on being part of work tribes (which we always will), we need to make our tribes better.*
Because right now, most of our organizations suck.
I mean this literally — they suck the life out of us and the resources from the planet.
To stop this destructive pattern, we need to understand that there are two sides to a “business tribe:” a me side and a we side. Right now in our companies, we focus almost all of our organizational change efforts on the “me” component. This includes coaching, training, workshops, learning events, etc. These types of programs are all designed to help an individual get better, more enlightened, etc.
I’m a huge fan of personal development (clearly; it’s a big part of what I get paid to do). But it can’t stop there. And right now it does.
Here’s the problem: all the personal development in the world can’t fix a problem that lives in the system. It’s like treating cancer with a band-aid.
We have to get to the “we” side.
This is the “group” component. It’s about company culture and organizational structure. It is the “tribe” side of work. These are the rules that govern how we act when we work together, and each organization is a little different (which is good). Unfortunately, most of our companies have similar bad habits around how we organize (which is bad).
If we insist on working together, how can we organize our groups in ways that work with the new world, instead of against it?
I’ll be making the full case for this idea in my upcoming book, but a huge part of our challenge stems from the fact that most of our org charts are built around people performing a specific function or task. This is a problem, because in reality our work is much more complex and intelligent and nuanced and creative than just performing a list of duties.
Can everything you do for your company be summed up in a “job description?”
If it can be put in list form, do you want it to be!? How boring is that?
(I think you’re better and smarter and more interesting than a robot who performs a list of droning tasks, personally.)
The entire world is being rewired into communities centered around passion, which, not coincidentally, also lines up perfectly with how people create value for their organization. The great opportunity for business lies in learning to leverage the passions of the tribes that surround us.
*For clarification, when I say “tribe” in this context I mean any kind of organization — for-profit to non-profit, small to large, startup to established, and anywhere in between.