I’ve suggested that in networks we come together around a purpose and objectives, and then begin to discover appropriate skills sets and motivations amongst members of a given network .. after which we begin to negotiate what we are going to do and why, who’s going to do what,how and by when, and then make this strategic information available, in full view, to all who are participating in the conversations, exchanges of information and the actual work (which often consists of pointing each other to pertinent just-in-time information that will make achieving the negotiated objectives easier or more efficient).
The more I am working with relationships as the essential element with organizational sturctures that work, the more I am coming to realize that the glue that binds structures together is intimacy, friendship and respect. Maturana and Bunnell in their paper on love in organizations note:
There is something peculiar about human beings: We are loving animals. I know that we kill each other and do all those horrible things, but if you lookat any story of corporate transformation where everything begins to go well, innovations appear, and people are happy to be there, you will see that it is a story of love. Most problems in companies are not solved through competition, not through fighting, not through authority. They are solved through the only emotion that expands intelligent behavior. They are solved through the only emotion that expands creativity, as in this emotion there is freedom for creativity. This emotion is love. Love expands intelligence and enables creativity. Love returns autonomy and, as it returns autonomy, it returns responsibility and the experience of freedom.
When we treat each other well, we are capable of being intellegent, creative and free together. When we don;t treat each other well, intellegence, creativity and freedom eludes us. How much traditional organizational development includes love on the menu?
Certainly Jon has been noticing all of this for a long time as an OD practitioner working with the architecture of organizations and communities. His own charting of the shift from hierarchy to wirearchy might be summed up by the watching autonomous individuals be finally recognized as the real part of any organization. As technology advances our ability to work closer together, we find more and more ways to simply operate as companies of friends, making agreements based on the accountability of the heart.
This is not soft stuff I am talking about here. Working this way is what makes major transformations possible in all kinds of fields and sectors. As long as we have energy tied up in defending our small territories and personal fifedoms, we don;t have a full suite of assets to apply to meeting the challenges facing our organizations, communities and world. Being at peace with friends, working side by side with shared purpose, openness and autonomy is what will enable us to become more intellegent than we have ever been, and will provide us with the tools to meet challenges that seem insurmountable any other way.