“Organizations, as we know them today, are simply the expression of our current world-view, our current stage of development.”*
Why do we care about the future of organizations?
When we mention “organizations”, we refer to each cell of society where people come together with a shared purpose; may it be a family, a school, a bank, or a charity. Organizations are living systems that are made of people, whose effects reach far beyond its headquarters. The future of organizations is about the future of our societies; the values we flourish, the way we work together and treat each other, the areas we focus our resources and efforts on, or the skills we develop.
As HMD, we believe that helping organizations to understand the human better and transform their structures around it, would eventually benefit all stakeholders of the society. In short, that’s why we care.
Modern organizations contributed to the development of society in many ways; in most of the developing countries where the education system failed to provide the necessary capabilities/competencies for people to survive in the world of business, companies took on the role of being a “school” as well. For many people, organizations became the place to enhance cognitive skills, while colleagues became the social circle to practice emotional skills. Organizations affected the economies, the quality of life, even politics… The list goes on and on. It is obvious that the progress in human history would not be possible without their efforts.
However, we came to a point where many people sense that most of the organizations do not make sense anymore. We live and breathe it every day as employees, customers, or even founders. However, most people are reluctant to change because as Keynes once (in 1936) said:
“The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify…into every corner of our mind.”
Corporations, offices, excel spreadsheets, surveys and many other “imaginary” assets get ahead of people, impact, meaning, and purpose. Organizations started dominating our lives, manipulating our expectations, setting standards in a way that no longer contributes to the advancement of humanity but to the enrichment of the shareholders. Organizations lost their purpose and turned into ever-working machines run by efficiency-obsessed engineers whose sole purpose is to meet the year-end targets. We were taught to see the organizations as great machines, but then we could find anything human in it. Effectiveness replaced values, numbers replaced insights, nonsense replaced common sense. Anyone who challenges this paradigm is called an idealist or a fool.
“Perhaps we need to access a new stage of consciousness, a new world- view, to reinvent human organizations. If we are to overcome the daunting problems of our times, we will need new types of organizations―more purposeful businesses, more soulful schools, more productive nonprofits.”*
We believe that it is time for organizations to discover their human selves.
The organizations of tomorrow should invest in its people, build a capacity to understand the human and show the courage to disrupt itself in a way that contributes not only to its shareholders but to all stakeholders. The future of organizations is the future of our societies, and we all are responsible for making the human-centered transformation of organizations possible.
By rethinking organizations and opening a space for others to voice their thoughts, we partner with champions who lead the change in their organization, win or lose.
*Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired By the Next Stage in Human Consciousness. Nelson Parker, 2014.