Saturday, April 30, 2011

Servant Leadership Practice--Encourage Life in the Organization

In Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace, Gordon MacKenzie muses on the creative organization. He works for Hallmark Cards, which you'd think would be one of the most creative companies in the world. At one point, he writes down a brief history of Hallmark and describes how the organization has hit middle-age. Becoming "stratified, calcified, petrified" much like a pyramid, he wonders if it could spark new growth.

New growth is like a plum tree.

Pyramid talk                                                             Plum tree talk
We must increase production                                    What do you need to motivate you?
We must motivate the workers to produce more.      We just need sunshine and air.
We are crushed down here under the organization.    Corporate resources flow up to the product creators.

Divisions                                                                   Groups
Departments                                                             Forces
Administrative                                                           Holistic

A plum tree is alive, growing, and utilizing and creating energy while a pyramid is a tomb. Holistic organizations realize it really is an "organism" where the systems are interdependent (I repeat, inter-dependent) and thrive on collaboration while recognizing and needing unique capabilities.

If your business model depends on innovation, today think about how you might encourage holistic operations with lots of collaboration and system awareness. Remove a tomb-inducing, calcified, administrative obstacle to growth.

For C12 and Truth@Work members, in some people's opinions, Jesus harshly condemned a fig tree for not bearing fruit, instantly causing it to wither (Matt 21.19)--and this just after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Similarly, in a parable, the servant who risks nothing by burying the talents he was given is condemned (Matt 25.14ff). We have to risk; we have to grow or we die. If we play it safe, by the rules, we become stratified, calcified and tomblike. You and your employees will suffer.

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