This month marks ten years since the start of the 2007 financial crisis. Our economic models have failed us. Anyone who has lived with the aftermath of that crisis knows that. Many have lost their jobs, or lost their investments and even their future prospects. Many who expected to have a smooth career path are getting by from contract to contract, or may even be chronically unemployed. The gap in income inequality widens by the day.
What happened to progress?
In the western world we expect every generation to progress, and instead today, the world that was rebuilt after the devastation of World War II sees many people achieving less in material terms than their parents and grandparents. We all know something has changed for ever. We all know decisions and policies cannot be repeated if we want to avoid the same catastrophic results. We sense that resources, both human and natural, are being squandered because of short-term thinking. What are the alternatives?
We need to adopt a systemic approach to management and economics, based on cooperation, where everybody can win.
Back in 1993, Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the founding father of the Quality movement, published ‘The New Economics’. It was already obvious to Deming what was going wrong and what needed to be fixed. Competition was destructive. We needed to adopt a systemic approach to management and economics, based on cooperation, where everybody can win.
Sustainability through networks of cooperation
Resources are scarce, so the name of the game has to be about sustainability. How do we create economies that are sustainable? How can we survive and thrive? Deming has pointed the way, and the discoveries of life sciences underline his point. Life, as we experience it on this planet at every level, is based on interdependencies and interconnections. We exist, as physicist Fritjof Capra brilliantly pointed out, within a “web of life”, a network of interdependencies that cannot be understood solely in terms of its basic components but has to be studied in terms of its interrelations.
Win-Win conflict resolution, cooperation instead of competition, symbiosis instead of survival of the fittest, patterns not just structures; these today are some of the basic, well understood elements that make up a society that can sustain its ambition to evolve and prosper, as well as the founding elements of our biological existence.
What do we need to survive and thrive?
There are four fundamental things we need in order to put solutions for a prosperity into action.
- A theory – this means an epistemological framework, or profound understanding of interdependencies and the implications of our actions, otherwise we’re just making it up as we go along
- A mindset – in other words the ability to think systemically to continuously develop robust solutions
- Tools – practical aids to foster systemic thinking and action
- A method to create results with all these elements
As we learn to recognize and act within the interdependencies that exist, as we increasingly adopt a systemic understanding and approach to our markets, organizations and governing policies, we increase our ability not just to survive but to prosper in our current world.
Now purchased in 21 countries around the world! Our business novel The Human Constraint takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride through the financial crisis and towards a new model for future business. Dramatizing several case histories with the Decalogue methodology, the e-book comes with an accompanying website highlighting chapter by chapter the thinking, methods and tools to achieve a new economy of sustainable wealth.
Sign up to our blog here and shift your thinking towards broader, systemic possibilities for yourself and your organization. Intelligent Management provides education and training on systemic management, W. Edwards Deming’s management philosophy and the Theory of Constraints (Decalogue methodology) in North America and Europe.About the AuthorAngela Montgomery Ph.D. is Partner and Co-founder of Intelligent Management and author of the business novel+ website The Human Constraint , so far purchased in 21 countries around the globe. This downloadable novel uses narrative to look at how the Deming approach and the Theory of Constraints can create the organization of the future, based on collaboration, network and social innovation. She is co-author with Dr. Domenico Lepore, founder, and Dr. Giovanni Siepe of ‘Quality, Involvement, Flow: The Systemic Organization’ from CRC Press, New York.