'Kal' di' Enterprise


"...It is nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry;
..for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this freedom, it goes to wreck and ruin without fail.
..it is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty".
- Einstein.


I stumbled upon this gem by accident. And with decades of exposure (and some insights) to organized industry, it was no surprise that I started wondering how this would relate to industry & 'organizations'.

Yesterday's Organisation : Root origins from the word 'organize', shouting out loud that things are in order, strong structures, formal processes, controls, command, and hierarchies. It also brings up images of people clocking in & clocking out, everything well defined in terms of time, space and existence. Both the fore-runner and the current model of today's 'organization' still appear to bear the scars from the armed-forces, as also the industrial revolution.

Predominantly, many organizations appear to be built on such proud foundations of controls, processes, rules, ‘do-it-this-way’ play-books. And then there are some very interesting 'twists'
» add 'punishment' for stepping out of line (not following the rules).
» follow 'best-practices' almost to a fault (doing what others have done before)
» introduce 'scalability' and 'replicability' (more of it, repeatedly).

People are told what to do, how to do it, follow others who have done it before, and do more and more of it. Organized juggernauts, re-producing excellence over and over again.

We have become used to this, find comfort in it, and may just have started believing that this is the right way, if not the only way for industry to be, for businesses to exist.

Organization & Enterprise Leader: The last decade or two has seen more leaders talking more and more about the need for 'innovation' and 'differentiating' their organizations in order to survive and be successful in the world-marketplace. But still, it is a rare business leader who avoids the fatal attraction of 'best practices' or atleast goes beyond it. An even rarer leader who recognizes the limitations of the past, and seeing the limitlessness of the future…‘sees and searches’ for 'next practices'.

The 'organization leader' talks of wanting to find 'next' but continues to work magnificently with scaling up best practices. Those who are going beyond this, seem to be doing it from their very core; addressingthe holy curiosity of inquiry that made them business people, entrepreneurs in the first place.. the Entrepreneur leader instinctively seeking the enjoyment of seeing and searching.

Tomorrow's People
This is more than just about aging populations & demographic dividends. There was (and is) is a time & place for discipline and doing things right-first-time etc. However, there is need to take a fresh view of the new generation entering the work-force. As my friend Sangeeth Varghese from Lead-Cap says "..they know what they want and get it too. Added to this, are the general sociological changes of the age, where families now are more egalitarian rather than patriarchal or parent-dominated (in fact, families nowadays are probably more child-centered than parent-centered)...from a corporate perspective, this could spell trouble, because the new generation expects to be treated the same way as they are at home. They expect the same level of independence..."

This is not a problem, but a reality that needs a fresh world-view on what models (including moving from Organization to Enterprise) are relevant, and what will harness the positive, upbeat energy of these 'brave new people'. More than ever before, this is now less about rules and controls and boundaries that may have been relevant and served us well in the past, and more about 'people'.

And what about these people?

In many interactions with the bottom of the pyramid (early practitioners, and new entrants to the work-force, and even more exchanges with sections of students (outside the pyramid), the key messages that emanated were as follows:
Believe in the basic goodness of people (we are here to earn, learn and grow); let us not be seen as problems or challenges

We want to bring more of ourselves into the enterprise (what we have to offer is a lot more than what you are asking of us); let us go beyond narrow confines of 'roles'

We take our enterprise everywhere with us (so please take the enterprise to all those places that we go to); let us engage holistically beyond conventional 9 to 5

Tomorrow's Enterprise
Word is getting around. Tomorrow's people seem to know that they have a lot more at stake ... for themselves ... as they are the true inheritors... of our doings of today. The world is first about life and human beings. Industry is first about society and then about commerce. Businesses are first about 'people'. As such, current models of 'organization' may be inadequate to address the perspectives of these real stake-holders. As 'people practitioners', we need to begin to explore and look at other possible models & structures (beyond lines and boxes)... and evolve 'tomorrow's enterprise'.

Our legacy to the future...