Has The Time Come for a (R)Evolution in Business?
Ever since we were old enough to know what business was, many of us have shared a dream of a world filled with noble, daring, empowering and adaptable organizations.
In more recent years, there has also been a growing awareness among many of us about how fast humanity is outgrowing and evolving beyond our existing models of business.
And by “business” we mean the full gamut of:
- Big business
- Small business
- Entrepreneurship; and
We can all clearly see the myriad ways that this century’s rapid globalization, with the arrival of the internet and the rise of mass media, have fundamentally changed the ways we communicate, connect, learn, work, travel and interrelate.
In tandem with these changes, our priorities and values have changed too.
There’s no shortage of research to show that millennials are decidedly less interested in security at any cost and far more interested in a life filled with freedom, fun, passion, purpose, creativity and connection.
And yet, “bureaucracy remains the cornerstone of virtually every large scale organization.” [fn id=”1"]
We’ve quantum leaped in our collective global development in the last 50 years, achieving more progress than ever before in human history and yet our predominantly bureaucratic business systems are still based in a management ideology that’s tantamount to control-ism; a system that seeks to maximize productivity and is still designed and predicated on mechanistic values and principles like predictability, precision, stability and control.
As renowned business expert Gary Hamel says in his book What Matters Now,
“Today our institutions are up against new challenges: a rapidly accelerating pace of change, hyper competition, the commoditization of knowledge, the ever-escalating demands for social accountability. These imperatives demand something more than control…we need organizations that are passion-filled, creative and malleable. Problem is, these organizational attributes are inversely correlated with bureaucratic control.”[fn id=”2"]
As such, the current business systems aren’t built to accommodate or adapt to our newly emergent values and behaviors.
So, if we’re at a point where we’re looking around us at other people or glancing higher up the food chain thinking there is nothing about our “superiors’” existence that we covet, where does that leave us?
The answer for many…is feeling trapped, empty inside and increasingly disengaged.
The consequences of this are shown in the sky-high levels of employee disengagement that have been recorded by the various polls these past few years.
It can also be seen in the rapid growth of career coaching/transition services and communities like “Escape The City” who offer sabbatical, employment and training opportunities to people looking to escape their high paying city jobs and whose membership skyrocketed up to 250,000+ London city workers in less than 3 years![fn id=”3"]
So that raises the question of what the current options are that are available to us?
Let’s assume for a moment that you’re a bright, talented, freedom-loving, creative and passionate human being.
Let’s say you feel trapped by the current bureaucratic operating model and you dream of escaping the confines of your thankless and uninspiring corporate job to make a positive difference doing something that you love….
…….As a corporate misfit, what do you do?
Well, right now the prevailing options du jour seem to be, either:
- Going to work for a charity or NGO — sometimes taking a sabbatical or time abroad, but ultimately returning to a bureaucratically modelled workplace and trading the soullessness we were experiencing for unsatisfactory levels of pay for our skills; or
- Retraining in a totally different job — which is often time-consuming and expensive, and few environments offer anything other than a bureaucratic model anyway; or
- Doing a vocational training program to become self-employed — often in something holistic like: yoga teacher training, health-related multi-level marketing products, or professional coaching. These programs are also often time-consuming and expensive, and rarely offer the business expertise necessary to actually become self-sustaining; or
- Starting our own entrepreneurial venture — which generally requires a team and usually also a certain minimum (and often significant) level of capital investment.
So, even if you do go down one of these roads, as you can see, none of them are exactly a panacea for evolution in our values and the issues that we’re discussing here.
Clearly, there is more innovation and exploration still to be done in the realms of business…… so, at Transformation Agency, we kept on going.