People follow instructions, mostly. Processors follow instructions, mostly.
A major difference: people may misunderstand at times but most aim to get it why we are in business; why we are doing things this way around here. Processors are just robot followers occasionally plagued by buggy code and exploits. They never ask why or improve on their own.
Overall, shared values, purpose, and intention with the open space for co-creative expression at the workplace makes a people based system more resilient and fault-tolerant, especially for complex processes such as for innovation. The eternal urge to understand why we work this way also happens to be a factor that pulls in an overdue upgrade for the corporate OS.
Workplace upgrade needed, in beta is OK
by Louise Altman on 02/10/2011
Lately there’s been a great deal of attention paid to democracy. Everyone’s talking about it. Millions have watched the coverage of the historic protests in Egypt, where hundreds of thousands of people have courageously taken to the streets demanding political and economic freedom.
In fact, we see a rising tide of citizens across the globe expressing their growing discontent with the old order – “the ways of the Old Men are dying,” as one young Egyptian journalist put it.
While the voices for political and economic democracy are getting louder – way, way down under the radar screen there’s another trend brewing. It’s taking shape in different ways – unfolding slowly but surely. It’s a nascent but potent idea – workplace democracy.
I’m not suggesting that anywhere in the corridors of today’s C-suites there’s a clamoring for more democratic workplaces. Even the most enlightened leaders recognize that this concept is unshaped, inherently problematic (especially for the powers that be) and inevitably messy (as real democracy usually is).
Program or be programmed
We trust our computers to process our instructions to the letter, through applications, operation system, firmware, and anything in-between. Makes us glad the specialists among added sophisticated exception-handling and error-recovery. And, because programmers are not perfect, we are glad to have systems built to be upgradeable so as to iron out bugs and improve performance.
We trust our workers to process instructions to the letter, through forms, rules/instructions, governance, and anything in-between. Are we glad the specialists added sophisticated exception-rules and error-proofing? We know it is not perfect but the workplace can be upgraded so as to iron out bugs and improve performance.
Why workplaces would welcome an upgrade
... the technology of management will change as radically in the next few decades as it did in the early part of the last century. Three things will drive this new management revolution. First, ...new and inescapable challenges that lie outside the performance envelope of management as usual. The second driving force is the Internet, which has spawned a vast array of new tools for managing collaboration. ... The values and attitudes of the Millennials now entering the work force make up the third challenge that will compel organizations to retool their legacy management models.
What you can get by upgrading to W-OS 2.0
Again, quoting Louise Altman:
- Real transparency – sharing of information, strategies, planning, fiscal practices
- Shared process of defining, developing and acting on vision, purpose and mission
- More economic parity and revenue sharing – not too many entry-level workers expect to make what the CEO does (if CEO’s will still exist as such in the new workplace?) but they know that the disparity is enormous
- Real decentralization of power – despite the “flattening” of corporate hierarchies, most power is still concentrated at the top
- Recognition of the “whole person” at work – time to drop all of these 19th beliefs about work life vs. “personal life.” The information we now have from recent neuroscience renders that thinking anachronistic.
- Develop relevant (meaning driven by the real needs of a given workplace) work-life balance. While the “work-flex” movement may have been stalled during the recession, the legitimate and life-affirming needs of workers aren’t going away.
- Develop and manage with meaning in mind. Every single survey and study proves that when employees understand and participate in shared purpose – engagement levels rise.
- Give workers greater autonomy, access, choice and accountability.
Why is this upgrade important?
Wwworks on flickr.
You get what you intend, not what you hope for. ... A visionary is already doing it (conation) and a dreamer is talking about how nice it would be if… (velleity).
What about profits - proven?
No guarantees for your organization, there are many factors. For the open collaboration part, check with McKinsey:
A new class of company is emerging—one that uses collaborative Web 2.0 technologies intensively to connect the internal efforts of employees and to extend the organization’s reach to customers, partners, and suppliers. We call this new kind of company the networked enterprise. Results from our analysis of proprietary survey data show that the Web 2.0 use of these companies is significantly improving their reported performance.
How do WE get there?