We are becoming increasingly aware of the need for collaboration and cooperation. This is not yet the mainstream for management and organizations, but the more complexity becomes the backdrop and context of what we do and experience, the more we need to find up-to-date ways to exist within that complexity. Is it just about being open to working and sharing with others?
Organizations are living systems, but they go well beyond the biological. A colony of ants may well cooperate in their daily existence, but they do not have the level of consciousness of humans. Organizations are made up of individuals, each with their own complex needs and desires. You can bully and coerce people into doing things and that is one way to get things done. Sadly, some organizations still employ this model. Today, we consider ourselves much more evolved and we require a more evolved way of managing and interacting.
Organizations, and the individuals within them, have the possibility to choose self-determination. In others words, they can decided on a goal and they can embark on the steps to achieve that goal. However, the mental and physical energies required to create change can quickly dissipate if there is no structured method to harness those energies in the direction of the goal. Entropy exists and it needs to be addressed. The Theory of Constraints contains a set of tools to guide and structure the planning and implementation of projects towards a goal. Moreover, the more stable the processes are in any organization, in other words, the more we manage variation in our processes, the more possibility we have to achieve our goals and grow.
Good intentions are not enough
A great deal of effort is being put into discussions and meetings in organizations to arrive at shared intentions. This is undoubtedly important work, but we need to go further. For those with an interest in spirituality, there is an interesting parallel we learned from a Rabbi friend. In prayer, intention is important, but not sufficient. You also need structure for that intention to be most effective. And even if the intention is confused, the structure will help make up for that. Whatever the intentions and goals are for an organization, in order for the people in that organization to work together fruitfully, collaboratively and fairly, they need to structure their efforts with method and suitable tools. This is the best recipe for making your intentions work in an organization. Our good will and best efforts are not enough.
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About the Author
Angela Montgomery Ph.D. is Partner and Co-founder of Intelligent Management, founded by Dr. Domenico Lepore. Angela’s new business novel+ website The Human Constraint looks at how Deming and the Theory of Constraints can create the organization of the future, based on collaboration, network and social innovation.