What Would (R)Evolution in Business Even Look Like?

Since we’re addressing this question from an evolutionary development perspective, it’s necessary to first get clear on how the evolutionary frame that we’ll be looking through differs from what we’ve been accustomed to up until now with the traditionally mechanistic interpretation of business.

First, we’re all familiar with the traditional ideology around business; the one that sees our organizations as machines and the people (or employees) as the cogs within it.

In the examples we’ve seen of more evolved organizations, however, it’s important to note that leaders talk about their businesses as a living organism or living system, rather than a machine.

Second, the traditional ideology around business is focused on external measures of success; or more specifically, delivering profits and maximizing shareholder value. Whereas the central tenet that sits at the heart of the evolutionary development perspective is that:

The ultimate goal in life is not to be successful or loved, but to become the truest expression of ourselves, to live in authentic self-hood, to honor our birthright gifts and callings, and be of service to humanity and the world… Life is seen as a journey of personal and collective unfolding toward our true nature. …..instead of setting goals for our life, dictating what direction it should take, we learn to let go and listen to the life that wants to be lived through us. [fn id=”1"]

That accords with what Gary Hamel also shares, about how:

We long for a kinder, gentler sort of capitalism — one that views us as more than mere “consumers”, one that understands the distinction between maximizing consumption and maximizing happiness; one that doesn’t sacrifice the future for the present and one that doesn’t regard the earth as an inexhaustible source of natural resources.[fn id=”2"]

Third, as we are evolving, it appears that some of our basic assumptions about human nature are changing.

In the traditional model, people are considered to be inherently untrustworthy, lazy, and in need of external motivators to get things done. In the evolutionary development perspective, the following assumptions sit at the core of our model:

  • People are creative, trustworthy, self-motivated adults, capable of making important decisions;
  • People are accountable and responsible for the decisions and actions they take;
  • To be responsible, people must understand why we do what we do and be free to decide how we do it;
  • People want to use their talents and skills to make a positive contribution to the business and to the world; and
  • We are all interconnected, so the more powerfully you advance the organization’s purpose, the more opportunities will open up for us to make contributions of our own.

From this newer lens of understanding life and people, we can begin to more clearly identify what’s important to us, how we want to live our lives, and therefore what values are most important for us to honor in our businesses.

From there, we can set about creating the key operational strategies, checks, and balances for the work environment that would allow us to live in alignment with our chosen values in every facet of our organization including our organizational design, internal communications, marketing efforts, customer service, and buyer experience.

And in our next blog we’ll talk about what sits at the very centre of our Why and How…..

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