Work has almost completely changed its shape in the last 40-50 years, and the aim that work is designed to accomplish should change accordingly. Work can no longer simply be the organization of many elements to achieve a profit for a tiny minority. People today have different expectations and a different covenant with their working life. Our work can be fruitful, intelligent, and lead to success, but people also have to understand that they cannot be totally separate from what they do.
Meaningfulness in the workplace
The ultimate goal of work should be to elevate people. An organization has to build the right kind of interdependencies so people do not feel imprisoned in their work and there is intrinsic meaning in what they do. This means neither dependence nor independence, but interdependence. In this way, the individual can understand that by contributing with intelligence, passion and adherence to the company goals, they derive more benefit than they would by working alone (being independent).
How can the company leverage people’s natural desire for elevation? By providing opportunities to participate in something from which the benefit they derive is greater than the effort they put in. For an organization to allow this meaningfulness to exist in the workplace it must start from a vision. It must then create the right interdependencies, after which it is up to the individual to take part and become one with the organization knowing that their own personal life will be enhanced. This is precisely what the multi-project environment can offer: people contribute what they are capable of and the system capitalizes on this (See ‘The Organization as a Network of Projects‘.) By enabling people to do what they are good at there are immediate good results that reflect back on the worker in a plurality of positive ways.
The way we live is increasingly shaped by the limited availability of resources and this fact cannot be separated from a different, indeed radically different way of generating and distributing wealth. We are not talking about socialism but a more intelligent way of operating organizations. The way organizations and their work is organized, the way they interact with each other, the way they cater for the well-being and development of their members is a foundational part of a major shift in our productive lives.
Who, when, why and how
If we want to concentrate into two words everything we have said about the nature of the organization as a system those two words are: Quality and Synchronization. On a more abstract level this translates into variation and network. This applies not only to production but also to the entire organization. When we address Quality and Synchronization correctly, and the two are completely interdependent, we can guarantee that we achieve our goal in a continuous, predictable and economically viable manner. In our next post we’ll look at what we need to do on a practical basis to allow this to happen.
Extract from the book: Sechel: Logic, Language and Tools to Manage Any Organization as a Network of Projects
See also our series on Systemic Management: