Thursday, 30 July 2009

What is 'Corporate Instinct'? - Part 1

I think I'm about ready to try and share some clarity about the nature of this concept of 'corporate instinct'. Please bear with me, - I'm thinking as I'm doing so won't always get it right first time!

Some words will follow, but I want to start with some images. Take a look at the school of fish and the flock of birds. What messages do the images present when you think about human organisations?


In both of these clips there's the immediate 'how do they co-ordinate so effectively?' I'm interested in reflecting on this later. But for now, I was particularly interested in the fish clip, - because we are closer to the action, we see more detail:

  • How is it that different groups of fish simultaneously take the lead (and former leaders allow themselves to be followers)?
  • Which fish decides on a change? ...or is 'decides' the wrong word?
  • How and why do subgroups emerge creating harmonious yet contrary motions?
  • ...and how do they re-unite?

Part 2 to follow soon, - but please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

What a great waste of human potential

I attended the Welsh Human Rights Summit yesterday.

This was a day event organised jointly by The Equality & Human Rights Commission and Public Service Management Wales. It was hugely stimulating, providing both good and bad news stories and critically, generating a powerful 'call to action' for us all.

I left the event, however, feeling unsettled, - frustrated that we were still having the same debates and are, to an extent at least, still stuck in the same place.

You see to me, the concept of unconditional human rights for all is just part of the journey. On Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs, I'd place Human Rights pretty near the bottom, not far above food and shelter. In an organisational context, Human rights are very much part of Hertzberg's 'Hygiene Factors', - the basics that must be in place rather than providing any sustained motivational driver.

I suppose I see human rights as a necessary, but not very exciting starting point. I'm much more interested in the human conditions that are liberated when we enable people to exercise their basic human rights:

What about Human Excitement, Human Creativity, Human Imagination?

What could an organisation that is full of Human Compassion, Human Inspiration and Human Vision achieve?

What could possible stop an organisation that was piled high with Human Commitment, Human Motivation and Human Understanding?

These are the human qualities that will best see us through the current recession, and that will create long-lasting and sustainable transformation. Why is our society, - let's face it, why is our planet, still struggling with the basic conditions that are needed to release this amazing and transforming capability?

Perhaps the good news is that, in the current global economic climate, the organisation that takes on the Human Rights agenda in a genuine and holistic way and recognises the value of unlocking its latent human potential will fly, - and act as a beacon for others!