Yesterday I read quite an insightful article with the title of this blog entry. Here are some quotes:
“Why do so many people in organizations feel discouraged and fearful about the future? Why does despair only increase as the fads fly by, shorter in duration, more costly in each attempt to improve? Why have the best efforts to create significant and enduring organizational change resulted in so many failures? We, and our organizations, exist in a world of constant evolutionary activity. Why is change so unnatural in human organizations?”
Great question, if the situation was any different, there wouldn’t be any need for Open Change. The author goes on and attributes a lot of the difficulty to our tendency of seeing organisations as automata, as machines. Why do we not view organisations as “being alive” and learn from the self-organisation of life on earth?
“It is time to change the way we think about organizations. Organizations are living systems. All living systems have the capacity to self-organize, to sustain themselves and move toward greater complexity and order as needed. They can respond intelligently to the need for change. They organize (and then reorganize) themselves into adaptive patterns and structures without any externally imposed plan or direction.”
Are todays organisations’ leaders pursuing this direction, or are they controlling machines? Are the staff expecting a solution without engaging – ‘wash me, but don’t get me wet’?
Well, the article is by Margaret Wheatley and is absolutely worth reading. Did I mention it was published in 1996?
Wheatley, Margaret, and Myron Kellner-Rogers, Myron. “The Irresistible Future of Organizing”, July 1996. http://www.margaretwheatley.com/articles/irresistiblefuture.html.