The Force in organisational life — the story so far

Originally published on Medium: Aug 28 · 3 min read

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A quick summary of my series on the Force in organisational life so far. Which one of these do you think has the greatest impact on organisations, and why?

1) The purpose of the systems is what it does — there’s no point talking about ‘our purpose’ when you reliably and predictably produce something else

2) The hidden essential organisational logic — organisations must be viable systems if they are to survive

3) Leaders create culture through their behaviours — whatever the ‘values statement’ says

4) We all live in our own ‘world’ and make sense of things the way they make sense to us — that means we all see ‘reality’ differently

5) The Dominants and the Others will naturally separate and get into a sterile balance — ‘preserve and protect’, or ‘allow and adapt’

6) Each space in organisational life invites us to an instinctive response which makes that space harder to bear and pulls us out of partnership — Tops take on responsibility, Bottoms give it up…

7) Organisations lock into a structural coupling with their environment — which will drive their behaviour far more than strategy

8) We all want to divide the world into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and, guess what, we’re in the good part!

9) Real results are achieved where the work for each person fits their capabilities, and stretches them…

10) People are deeply shaped by trauma, shame, and referred pain, and will go to great lengths to avoid facing them.

Coming up:

11 — irreducible complexity — it’s mesy all the way down…

12 — And… it’s enabling or disabling constraints all the way down

13 — The need — and potential — for testing and learning in reality!

And then, some of the Jedi Knight remedies to these dynamics of The Force!

Links to the full story of The Force in organisational life so far:

Parts 1–4 (the purpose of the system is what it does, the hidden essential organisatioanal logic, the inevitability of the shaping of culture by leaders and systems, and the importance of ‘Worlds’)

And on LinkedIn:

Part 5 — how dominant/other patterns create system fragility

Part 6 — the dark side of human responses

part 7 — structural coupling

part 8 — control, framing, paradigms, politics, self-knowledge, and lust for power!

parts 5–8

part 9 — fit and stretch of work to people

part 10 — Human needs and the impact of trauma, shame, and referred pain

The question is — which of these has the greatest impact on organisational life, and why?

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