Kategoriarkiv: People

Organizing reflection 25

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
It’s not ok to sell, to buy—or to rent—human beings.

Today’s reflection is based on David Ellerman‘s arguments against the rental of human beings at the Abolish Human Rentals website. (The contents of the website are also available as an ebook., which is compiled by Daniel Trusca.) This site examines the standard employment relationship, the human rental, and seeks to promote an understanding of the problems associated with it. The abolition of human rentals is a profound idea, which has revolutionary implications. David Ellerman writes (my emphasis in bold):

Inalienable rights are based on the already broadly held principle of the non-transferability of responsibility for one’s actions. That principle, taken to its logical conclusion, means the rental of humans have no more legitimacy than their sale. The issue is not one of coercion, willfully choosing to be rented, or the treatment and compensation of workers. Humans cannot choose to be rented for the same reason people cannot choose to sell themselves into slavery or sell their vote, regardless of their consent or how much they are paid.

The alternative to human rentals is universal self employment in democratically managed worker owned businesses, or worker cooperatives. Workplace democracy eliminates the alienation of decision making power, and worker ownership means workers appropriate any resulting profits or losses, thus bearing financial responsibility for their actions.

Human rentals involves two key features.

The first aspect is the agreement to follow orders within terms of the rental. … The rented person must obey, or risk being fired.

The second aspect of a human rental is the transfer of responsibility for the actions of the person while at work. The most obvious is the transfer of responsibility for any profit or loss that results from the worker’s actions.

Since the abolition of slavery, humans ownership has been banned. People are no longer allowed to sell their labor by the lifetime. Instead they must rent themselves temporarily for a salary or wage.

The inalienability of personal responsibility is the foundation of the abolitionist argument from which all else follows. … The legal system clearly recognized this principle in the prosecution of crimes. All participants in a crime are held responsible. The law does not excuse a hired criminal because they were following orders.

The inalienability of responsibility for ones actions does not disappear when a crime is not being committed. It holds in all cases where human action is involved. In particular it applies to productive labor. However, the legal system pretends otherwise… It allows financial responsibility for profits or losses resulting from labor to be contractually transferred violating a principle it readily acknowledges in the commission of a crime.

Isolated individuals can rarely overcome a system, organization is necessary. The employment system has demonstrated a remarkable robustness in insuring human rentals remain the dominant form of labor exchange.

Progressive change is inherently a bottom up activity. It involves people getting together to discuss common problems, coming to mutual decisions, and taking action. It requires building trust and relationships, both time consuming activities. …

It is not rugged individualism which solves problems, but cooperation between people which provides the solution. …

Parallel approaches are essential, because they cater to the different assessments and abilities of individual participants. Organizing efforts can and should take place simultaneously on different fronts.

The point is that the best solution is not known. There are promising directions in the current environment, but circumstances change. History can only provide so much of a guide. Creativity and experimentation in the organizing process is a necessity.

In the end education and awareness are necessary but not sufficient, structural change is also needed. The structure of work and the employment system must be fundamentally changed.

There are many steps that can be taken to abolish human rentals. By analogy one can think of appropriate actions if we were seeking to abolish slavery.

Advocacy on this issue carries significant risk and the need for mutual support is essential. Efforts to provide support and build a viable alternative should not be neglected.

Worker Cooperatives are democratically run, worker-owned businesses. They are the alternative to the … alienating employment system, involving collaborative self-employment by groups of individuals.

While technically trivial to implement, the transaction is simple it is unlikely to happen. The primary reason this won’t spontaneously take place is that equity holders are unlikely to be willing sellers at the net asset value. It would be the equivalent of slave owners spontaneously deciding to free their slaves.1

Generative organizing involves people getting together to discuss common problems, coming to mutual decisions, and taking action. It requires building trust and relationships. Creativity and experimentation are necessary.

1 David Ellerman, Abolish Human Rentals | Support Worker Cooperatives (accessed 2018-08-18).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 4

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas. Here is my previous reflection.

What is on my mind?
People ARE assets
This is a further development of my first reflection. I wrote in this reflection that people are NOT assets. Well, people ARE assets — systemically. It all depends on whether you take a systemic, extrinsic, or intrinsic perspective:1

  1. People ARE assets from a systems perspective. Their systemic value are as assets.
  2. People also have extrinsic value as a type of asset. Notice that the extrinsic value of people can be compared with the value of other type of assets, say, relationships BETWEEN people. We can claim, as is done in this reflection, that it’s NOT people, but the relationships BETWEEN people that are our greatest asset.
  3. People, finally, have intrinsic value as human beings. This has far-reaching consequences that I will come back to in future reflections. A corollary is that people are NOT assets — intrinsically.

1 Systemic, extrinsic, and intrinsic value are three value dimensions defined by Robert S. Hartman. See, Hartman, The Structure of Value: Foundations of Scientific Axiology, p.114.

Related posts:
Book Review: The Structure of Value by Robert S. Hartman
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 1

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. Often, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts. Here is my next reflection.

What is on my mind?
People are NOT assets, neither are relationships
Bob Marschall (@flowchainsensei) tweeted this morning that: ”People are NOT our greatest asset. In collaborative knowledge work particularly, it’s the relationships BETWEEN people that are our greatest asset.”

Bob Marschall (@flowchainsensei) 2018-01-02. Tweet.

I totally agree that relationships are important, but I question whether they are assets? An asset is something which is useful or valuable. It’s furthermore often something which is owned. From this perspective, I’d claim that people are NOT assets, neither are relationships.

New books arrived today
Volume one and two of Dee Hock’s Autobiography of a Restless Mind arrived today. These two volumes were written in the decades spanning the turn of the millennium.1 I am really looking forward to reading these two books.

Dee Hock, Autobiography of a Restless Mind, Volume 1 & 2.

Previously, I’ve read Dee Hock’s book One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization. Here are extracts from the book. It’s a post written by my good friend Simon Robinson, which is based on my tweets at the time.

1 Dee Hock, Autobiography of a Restless Mind: Reflections on the Human Condition Volume 1 (iUniverse, 2012), p.ix.

Related posts:
Dee Hock in his own words
Dee Hock on control
Dee Hock on rules
Agile software development in the 1970s
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Respect for people

This is a post in my organizing ”between and beyond” series. Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to explore Bob Emiliani’s emphasis on Respect for People.1

Bob Emiliani has written several books and papers where he presents Lean as a management system. He describes the interplay between the Continuous Improvement and Respect for People principles in Lean.

The Respect for People principle ”extends back to the 1900s.”2 Respect for People is ”deceptive in that it seems very easy to understand and apply, but it is not.”3

The principle consists of two parts at Toyota: (1) To ”respect others,” and ”make every effort to understand each other,” in order to ”build mutual trust.” (2) To ”stimulate personal and professional growth,” and to ”share opportunities of development,” in order to ”maximize individual and team performance.”4,5,6

Respect for People can ”never be completely comprehended.” ”It takes years of thought and practice” to understand it well.7

The Respect for People principle ”has been around for many decates,” but it has ”only rarely … been put into effective practice.” The focus has instead been on ”the near-singular pursuit of productivity and efficiency improvements to lower costs and increase profits.”8

Already in the 1800s, ”business thinkers … began to press for improved cooperation.” R. Whatley Cooke-Taylor wrote, for example, in 1891 about the ”strained relations often existing under the modern factory system.” He pointed out ”some grave dangers … which the future may have in store for us in this connection.” The ”cure” Cooke-Taylor proposed was ”that of co-operation.”9

”Co-operation,” in this case, meant a business ”operated jointly by labor and management,” combined with ”profit-sharing.” Respect for People was seen as ”a practical necessity to reduce conflict and help achieve higher productivity, lower costs, and better quality.”10

Taiichi Ohno wrote in 1988 that the ”most important objective of the Toyota System has been to increase production efficiency by … eliminating waste.” But Ohno also wrote that ”respect for humanity” is ”equally important,” and that the ”respect for humanity” has been passed down from Toyoda Sakichi (1867–1930), the founder of the company, to Toyoda Kiichiro (1894–1953), Toyota Motor Company’s first president.11

I think that the Respect for People principle is generally applicable, regardless of whether its Lean, Agile, or something else. And I find it interesting that Toyota’s Respect for People was lost with the birth of Lean thirty years ago. Similarly, I think the Respect for People in Sociocracy, i.e., the emphasis on equivalence,12 has been lost in Holacracy, where the process is all that matters.13

I agree with Bob Emiliani that the Respect for People principle is ”anything but trivial to understand.”14 Too many are too focused on processes and tools ”to notice the foundational principles.”15

1 Bob Emiliani, The Equally Important ”Respect for People” Principle (2008) (accessed 2017-01-14).
2 Ibid., p. 1.
3 Ibid., pp. 1, 8.
4 Ibid., p. 2.
5 Toyota Motor Corporation, The Toyota Way 2001 (Toyota City, April 2001).
6 Toyota Motor Corporation, Sustainability Report 2007, p. 57.
7 Bob Emiliani, The Equally Important ”Respect for People” Principle (2008), p. 2.
8 Ibid., p. 2.
9 R. Whatley Cooke-Taylor, Modern Factory System (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd, London, 1891), pp. 459–461.
10 Bob Emiliani, The Equally Important ”Respect for People” Principle (2008), p. 3.
11 Taiichi Ohno, Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production (Productivity Press, Portland, 1988), p. xiii.
12 Gerard Endenburg, Sociocracy: The organization of decision-making (Eburon, 1998), pp. 44, 167, 168.
13 Brian J. Robertson, Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy (Penguin, 2015), pp. 21, 110, 111.
14 Bob Emiliani, The Equally Important ”Respect for People” Principle (2008), p. 8.
15 Ibid., p. 5.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts
Bob Emiliani on Scientific Management and Lean Management

Carol Black on the wildness of children

Carol Black writes the following in On the Wildness of Children (my emphasis in bold):

When we first take children from the world and put them in an institution, they cry. … But gradually, over the many years of confinement, they adjust.

The same people who do not see themselves as “above” nature but as within it, tend not to see themselves as “above” children but alongside them. They see no hard line between work and play, between teacher and student, between learning and life. It is a possibility worth considering that this is more than coincidence.

The underlying belief that somebody always has to be in charge is stubbornly persistent, woven into our thinking at a very deep level. There always has to be a subject and an object, a master and a slave. We have forgotten how to live and let live.

Control is always so seductive, at least to the ”developed” (”civilized”) mind. It seems so satisfying, so efficient, so effective, so potent. In the short run, in some ways, it is. But it creates a thousand kinds of blowback, from depressed rebellious children to storms surging over our coastlines to guns and bombs exploding in cities around the world.

— Carol Black1

1 Carol Black, On The Wildness of Children, April 2016. (Accessed 24 April 2016)

Life-nurturing vs. life-depleting behaviors

The environment within which people work is key to the organization’s success. Life-nurturing conditions contribute to high creativity and productivity, while life-depleting conditions contribute to apathy and low productivity.

Life-nurturing behaviors 1 Life-depleting behaviors 2
Listening Controlling
Understanding Punishing
Trusting Regulating
Sharing Telling
Clarifying Shaming

1 These are some of the behaviors listed in Birgitt Williams, The Genuine Contact Way: Nourishing a Culture of Leadership, (DALAR, 2014), p. 221.
2 Ibid..

The fine art of shutting up

Ernesto Sirolli

If people do not wish to be helped, leave them alone. 1

The most important thing is passion. … The passion that the person has for her own growth is the most important thing. 2

Planning is the kiss of death of entrepreneurship. 3

We have discovered that the miracle of the intelligence of local people is such that you can change the culture and the economy of this community just by capturing the passion, the energy and imagination of your own people. 4

1 Ernesto Sirolli @ (05:02), Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!, YouTube, Published 26 Nov 2012. (Accessed 27 March 2016)
2 Ernesto Sirolli @ (06:26).
3 Ernesto Sirolli @ (10:44).
4 Ernesto Sirolli @ (15:41).

The toxic handler

Peter J. Frost and Sandra Robinson presents their research on The Toxic Handler: Organizational Hero—and Casualty in the July–August 1999 issue of the Harvard Business Review. They write that:

Toxic handlers voluntarily shoulder the sadness and the anger that are endemic to organizational life.

Toxic handlers alleviate organizational pain in five ways:

  • They listen empathetically.
  • They suggest solutions.
  • They work behind the scenes to prevent pain.
  • They carry the confidences of others.
  • They reframe difficult messages.

But toxic handlers also pay a high price themselves in creating a life-giving environment within the larger toxic organization.

Managing organizational pain is vital to the health of the enterprise—but at great cost to the health of the toxic handlers themselves.

I wonder if it’s worth it to risk your health?

Holding space

Heather Plett writes here what it means to ”hold space” for people, and how to do it well. It’s something all of us can do for each other. She writes (my emphasis in bold).

”[Holding space] means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.” 1

”To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc., we can’t do it by taking their power away (ie. trying to fix their problems), shaming them (ie. implying that they should know more than they do), or overwhelming them (ie. giving them more information than they’re ready for). We have to be prepared to step to the side so that they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe even when they make mistakes.” 2

1 Heather Plett, What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well, 11 March 2015. (Accessed 19 March 2015)
2 Ibid..

A rainbow of intelligences

Lasse Ramquist and Mats Eriksson believe that we all can access each one of the following intelligences. The more we use them, the more they develop.

Color Values Strenghts Weaknesses
Beige Survival Brings full energy to the job at hand if something is at stake. 1 Falls into complacency when feeling safe. 2
Purple Belonging Builds strong relationships with colleagues, and always ready to help. 3 Sense of belonging is not necessarily to colleagues or the organization. 4
Red Concrete operational logic Quickly finds the best solution to practical challenges. 5 Stubborn and aggressive self-confidence. 6
Blue Rules and roles Uses basic routines and simple rules that make things work. 7 Blindly follows structures and procedures. 8
Orange Rationality and creativity Ignores rules, if necessary, to achieve the objectives. 9 Believes the ends justify the means. 10
Green Contextual logic Listens closely to the viewpoints of everybody involved. 11
Yellow Visionary and integral logic Wants to understand how everything fits together. 12
Turquoise Global and holistic logic Understands that the organization and its environment co-exist and co-evolve. 13

1 Lasse Ramquist & Mats Eriksson, Integral Management, 2nd Edition, p. 162.
2 Ibid..
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid., p. 163.
6 Ibid..
7 Ibid..
8 Ibid..
9 Ibid..
10 Ibid..
11 Ibid., p. 164.
12 Ibid..
13 Ibid., p. 165.

Book Review: Who am I?

Steven Reiss had a life-threatening illness which led him to rethink what makes life meaningful. His research formed the basis of his book Who am I?: The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personality. Steven Reiss describes at length the 16 basic desires1 that he identified together with Susan Havercamp:

  1. Power is the desire to influence others.
  2. Independence is the desire for self-reliance.
  3. Curiosity is the desire for knowledge.
  4. Acceptance is the desire for inclusion.
  5. Order is the desire for organization.
  6. Saving is the desire to collect things.
  7. Honor is the desire to be loyal to one’s parents and heritage.
  8. Idealism is the desire for social justice.
  9. Social Contact is the desire for companionship.
  10. Family is the desire to raise one’s own children.
  11. Status is the desire for social standing.
  12. Vengeance is the desire to get even.
  13. Romance is the desire for sex and beauty.
  14. Eating is the desire to consume food.
  15. Physical Activity is the desire for exercise of muscles.
  16. Tranquility is the desire for emotional calm.

Each desire must fulfill the following criteria2:

  1. The desire must be valued intrinsically rather than for its effects on something else. That is, it must be sought for its own sake.
  2. The desire must have explanatory significance for understanding the lives of nearly everyone.
  3. The desire must be largely unconnected to the other basic desires.

I found Steven Reiss distinction between feel-good happiness and value-based happiness interesting3, but otherwise I’m not convinced by Reiss’ arguments. I think, for example, that idealism and vengeance are related. Read Talking to the Enemy by Scott Atran and you will see that an act of vengeance also can be an act of idealism. Also, being influenced by Christopher Alexander, I think real beauty 1) can be valued intrinsically, 2) have explanatory significance for understanding our lives, and 3) is largely unconnected to the other 16 desires – most notably romance and sex. Actually, I think the desire for real beauty is related to, but more basic than, the desire for order. I might be wrong, but I suspect that it’s our personalities that motivate our desires, and not our desires that motivate our personalities.

1 Steven Reiss, Who am I?: The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personality, (Berkley, 2002), pp. 17–18.
2 Ibid., p. 33.
3 Ibid., pp. 123–141.

Lasse Berg om san-folkens egalitära kultur

I sin bok Gryning över Kalahari: hur människan blev människa skriver Lasse Berg om san-folken och deras kultur (min betoning i fetstil):

Hos san-folken råder en strängt egalitär kultur. 1

Samförstånd är det som gäller i alla san-grupper. … Men på samma sätt som jämlikhet inte betyder likhet, så kan samförstånd inte likställas med demokrati. Visserligen finns det inget auktoritärt eller formaliserat ledarskap, … men det är inte heller så att man röstar sig fram till någon sorts majoritetsbeslut. Vuxna och ungdomar samtalar om det som behöver bestämmas kollektivt … Men man diskuterar inte tills alla är överens utan tills man hittar ett beslut som ingen motsätter sig tillräckligt starkt. Naturligtvis väger olika röster olika tungt, beroende på speciell kunskap eller erfarenhet, när det gäller att forma denna allmänna samsyn. Ledarskapet är auktoritativt, inte auktoritärt. Det sociala trycket att komma överens är starkt, för att uttrycka det försiktigt. Samarbetsvilja har mycket hög kulturell status. 2

Men tvister uppstår naturligtvis. De är oftast av personlig art. … Det allmänt accepterade sättet att lösa konflikter är inte som i vår kultur att så tidigt som möjligt klargöra motsättningar och lyfta fram dem till diskussion. Istället utmärks san-kulturen av … utpräglad konflikträdsla. Man föredrar … att i första hand skämta bort problemet. Helst i elegant metaforisk form så att ingen tappar ansiktet eller blir utskämd. En spänd situation kan plötsligt punkteras av ett skämt som får lyssnarna att formligen vrida sig av skratt. Gränsen mellan skratt och vrede är ofta nästan osynlig. Det betyder inte att man inte tagit det hela på allvar, utan att man behandlat tvisten i inlindad form. 3

1 Lasse Berg, Gryning över Kalahari: hur människan blev människa, Ordfront Stockholm, 2005, s. 256.
2 Ibid, s. 261.
3 Ibid.

Bonnitta Roy on how self-organization happens

Bonnitta Roy writes in How Self-Organization Happens … and why you can trust it on Medium.com that

Self-organization = Intention x Identity x Interaction.

Here is a summary of Bonnitta Roy’s article.

Values drive all organizational life
. Our thoughts are constantly floating on waves of shifting intention-motivational states, or value-streams. These value-streams create waves of thoughts and actions. There is no way to insulate oneself from these value-streams.

Furthermore, It’s easy to confuse official scripts for the value-streams, which are more precise than the abstractions commonly used to represent organizational life. The value-streams reflect what is most relevant and real. They surface the information needed when making decisions or solving problems.

Identities emerge from negotiating values
. We constantly size up each other and negotiate our power relations. We naturally fall into our roles, which are identities we assume in order to distribute the physical, cognitive, or psychic energy load required to fulfill our values (needs).

We are beginning to see how to allow for flexible identities and creative role-playing. Over time, a group of people with fixed roles can transform into a real team where roles and identities are in creative interplay, and outcomes are novel and emergent.

The challenge is that we are not used to letting go of old identities. This is probably because we have lived our lives inside institutions where role-identities represent authoritarian and disciplinary power. The roles and identities that people would want to perform need to emerge.

Trust supports interaction
. Trust cultivate the capacity to be with what is human and natural and real in organizational life. Trust is an outcome of being allowed to show up as we actually are, as we actually feel, with our actual dreams and fears. Trust is all about allowing what is actually happening, rather than what should be or is demanded to be.

We might be able to limit bodily behavior, but we cannot control internal thoughts. We might be able to constrain conversations to official roles and scripts, but we cannot constrain the unofficial conversations people share. We might be able to constrain actions to normative standards by using disciplinary power, but we will never be able to eliminate deviant activities that result from those constraints.

People intuitively know what is relevant in the moment, even if they have trouble communicating it. An honest response of how one feels about a decision often gets deeper to the root solution than a rational argument. The relevant content of what is actually happening need to inform decision-making and responsive action taking.

Related post:
Bonnitta Roy on an open architecture for self-organization

Self-driving cars are involved in twice as many accidents

Self-driving cars are involved in twice as many accidents as ordinary cars1 because they always obey the law. People just don’t expect anyone to actually follow all rules without exception.2

1 Brandon Schoettle & Michael Sivak, A Preliminary Analysis of Real-World Crashes Involving
Self-Driving Vehicles, The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, October 2015.
2 Humans Are Slamming Into Driverless Cars and Exposing a Key Flaw, BloombergBusiness, December 18, 2015.

Generous listening

In generous listening you don’t even listen in order to understand why the other person feels the way they do. It doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s true for this person, and you simply receive it and respect it. And in that safe interaction something can happen which is larger than before. And that’s all you need. You already are enough. You are enough.
— Rachel Naomi Remen

Generous Listening: Rachel Naomi Remen shares how to use generous listening.

Ralph Stacey on rule-following

Ralph Stacey writes that we have to think of global organizational order as continually emerging in myriad local interactions,1 and that it is highly simplistic to think of human beings as rule-following beings.2 In our acting, we may take account of rules but can hardly be said to blindly follow them.3

The essential and distinctive characteristic of human beings is that we are conscious and self-conscious beings capable of emotion, spontaneity, imagination, fantasy and creative action. We are essentially reflexive and reflective.4 We do not interact blindly according to mechanistic rules, but engage in meaningful communicative interaction with each other.5 We establish power relations between ourselves.6 And we also exercise at least some degree of choice as to how we will respond to the actions of others.7 In addition, we use tools and technologies to accomplish what we choose to do.8

This means that consciousness, self-consciousness, reflection and reflexivity, creativity, imagination and fantasy, communication, meaning, power, choice, evaluation, tool use and sociality should explicitly be brought to any interpretation, as regards human beings.9

1 Patricia Shaw and Ralph Stacey (editors), Experiencing Risk, Spontaneity and Improvisation in Organizational Change: Working live, (Routledge, 2006), p. 125.
2 Ibid., p. 126.
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid..
7 Ibid..
8 Ibid..
9 Ibid..

Related post:
Ralph Stacey on beliefs

Principles for making organizations work

John Gottman writes about what successful relationships look like and how to strengthen them in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work together with Nan Silver. Below is a summary of Bob Marshall’s adaptation of these principles to organizations:

  1. Enhancing “Love Maps”. Flourishing organizations are familiar with their peoples’ worlds and needs.
  2. Nurture Fondness And Admiration. In flourishing organizations people respect each other and have a general positive view of each other.
  3. Turn Toward Each Other Instead Of Away. Flourishing organizations have more goodwill and positivity stored in their ”emotional bank accounts,” so when rough times hit, their emotional savings cushion conflicts and stressors.
  4. Invite Colleagues To Influence You. Flourishing organizations are places where people consider each other’s perspective and feelings, make decisions together, and search out common ground.
  5. Solve solvable problems. Soften your startup. Make and receive “repair attempts”. Soothe yourself and then each other.  Compromise. It’s important to take each other’s thoughts and feelings into consideration, and to be tolerant of one other’s faults.
  6. Overcome Gridlock. Flourishing organizations believe in the importance of everyone – the organization included – helping each other attend to their needs. Try  to remove the hurt so the problem stops being a source of great pain.
  7. Create Shared Meaning. Flourishing organizations create a community culture that attends to everyone’s needs. In being open to each other’s perspectives and opinions, flourishing organizations naturally thrive.

People evolve their own responses

A mechanical system simply acts according to its instructions. But a living system, with its internal intelligence and complex feedback organisation, reacts to the meaning it finds in the information. The system selects the messages to which it listens and then evolves its own response.1

Human beings are a prime example of living systems with internal intelligence and complex feedback responses.2

1 John McCrone, Review: Hidden Connections by Fritjof Capra, The Guardian, 2002.
2 Philip Harland, The Power of Six, (Wayfinder Press, 2009), p. 51.

The Tyranny of Structurelessness

Jo Freeman’s essay on The Tyranny of Structurelessness is about the tyranny of ”elites”, where an ”elite” is defined as ”a small group of people who have power over a larger group of which they are part”. The problem with these ”elites” is that they don’t have ”direct responsibility to that larger group, and often without their knowledge or consent”. The conclusion then is that these ”elites” should ”at least [be] responsible to the group at large”. This means, for example, that the ”rules of decision-making must be open and available to everyone”. The assumption is that a ”formal structure” can ”hinder the informal structure from having predominant control”. I’m not so sure! I don’t think formal structures help if all people care about are their own ”elitist” interests. I think the cognitive model of human beings as rule-followers is inadequate.

Närhet ger bäst vila för våra hjärnor

Agneta Lagercrantz skriver i SvD 2015-09-15 att närhet ger bäst vila för våra hjärnor. Tillsammans med våra allra närmaste sjunker nämligen stresspåslagen i hjärnan helt. Mänsklig gemenskap signalerar till hjärnan att den kan vila. Social närhet påverkar våra känslor, och våra känslor påverkar hjärnans aktiviteter. Till exempel beror kollektiv intelligens, förmågan till problemlösning i grupp, på hur bra varje gruppmedlem är på att läsa av ansiktsuttryck hos varandra.