It’s become more and more evident that the old models we have for organizations are starting to fail us. We know how much more can be accomplished though the power of a collective effort, and many of us have left traditional corporations due to frustration with the rigid hierarchical model and its inherent inertia. Of course, traditional corporations were designed for shareholder profit as the central priority.
Yet, have you noticed that no matter how noble the goals might be of any other organization you join, sooner or later you find yourself back in the same frustrations you had with traditional corporations? Or, if you’ve decided to take a break from large organizations altogether, then you find yourself facing the isolation and limited impact of a solo entrepreneur.
Without any new models of how to work collectively, we tend to fall back on the familiar hierarchical models and rigid operating principles.
If we are to bring about the change we envision in the world, we must learn to harness the power of group effort without the old baggage. We cannot demand that the world change if we have not changed the way we operate!
Much has been said and done about the need to change our inner world in order to change the outer world, and the next stage of evolution in our society is to change the dynamics of the groups and organizations that we influence. Are you ready to take on that challenge?
Leadership and being an agent of change can take many forms. You might be explicitly directing the projects of others, or you may bring implicit leadership to a situation by proposing a better way to accomplish a shared goal.
One of the shifts that is needed is the shift from “me” to “we,” from competition to cooperation. This applies not only within organizations but between organizations (including solo entrepreneurships) which share a common goal. As we heal the part of ourselves that is still reactive and hungry to be recognized, we can begin operating from a genuine wish for mutual gain.
In the book Tribal Leadership (see Recommended Reading below), Dave Logan and others describe 5 stages which illustrate a natural progression towards a truly collaborative world. These stages can be described as follows:
1. “Life/existence itself is awful” (despair)
2. “My life/existence is awful” (victimhood)
3. “I’m the greatest (and you’re not)” (solo heroism)
4. “We’re the greatest (and they’re not)” (tribal pride)
5. “Life/existence itself is great” (universal appreciation)
How do you see yourself as contributing to this shift, making a difference while making a profit?
The first step is knowing that these two objectives are not incompatible and that moving up this ladder to a Level 5 perspective is the key to a truly collaborative world.
Take a moment to examine the theme of cooperation versus competition in your own life work, and how that might be holding you back. Are you avoiding opportunities to share your wisdom with potential collaborators for any reason? What greater impact could you be making if you were to use the power of a collective in new ways?
A new world awaits.