Organize Around Purpose

When organizational purpose is both meaningful and authentic then people are motivated to collaborate on outcomes with maximum autonomy

The very heart of a Human Organization is one that is organized around purpose. Increasingly, business leaders are warming to the idea that placing positive world impact at the heart of what they do is key to their sustainable market success. Many are beginning to appreciate that organizations that strive to ingrain positive impact into there value creation activities will outperform organizations who are primarily motivated by profit, revenue, and growth.

Research is starting to show that organizations guided by strong purpose perform better than organizations who's purpose is weak or in-authentic. When we organize around a purpose; a purpose that both has meaning, and is genuinely authentic; then motivation, autonomy, and self - organization become a matter of course. Purpose and meaning become our compass, not bureaucracy and controls.

Start with impacts and work your way in...
* adapted from
Organizing For Complexity

Organizing around purpose comes from active listening and understanding the role our organization can play in the ethical creation of value. It manifests in tangible and real behaviors at all levels of the organization. It results in an outside-in org design, structured around meaningful impacts and the empowered teams who have the autonomy to achieve those impacts

Organize Through Choice

When organizations establish conditions of choice through practices that foster fairness, trust, & safety then people will demonstrate greater self-organization, self-management, and even elf-direction

The structure of industrial organizations is defined by the controls they put in place to restrict the decisions and actions people take. The structure of human organizations is defined by the choices they provide to empower the decision and actions people can make.

Organizing through choice starts with systematically establishing conditions that make choice possible. Though adoption of norms, practices, and structures that weave trust, safety, and fairness into the fabric of the organization.

And these practices aren't fluffy, they are tangible, specific, and actionable.

Using systems of choice, organizations empower people to choose the roles they play, the teams they belong to, and the outcomes they accomplish.

Organize For Change

When there is sufficient organizational awareness through transparency, feedback, and flow, then the people can continuously adapt and evolve through invitational and co-creative experimentation

The structures and processes we use to define industrial organizations, are by their very definition brittle. Their organizing structures almost never seems to match the outcomes they want to achieve. It seems people in large organizations are always struggling against their organization to deliver value with humanity.

Even the modern organization is not immune. We have done the hard work of organizing around impact and purpose, we have enabled choice and maximize autonomy and self-organization.

And WHAMM! Something comes along and completely upsets the apple cart. Perhaps a new innovation brings about an opportunity, maybe an environmental calamity, perhaps a pandemic has forced us to rethink the value we are creating.

If an organization is to truly succeed in the modern era it must display a degree of resiliency in the face of constant disruption. It must be able to organize for change. People must not only be able to self-organize within a team, they need to know how to self-form into the teams that will deliver the highest impact, and with a minimum of management intervention.

Common awareness, and dedicated social space are key to organizing for change. Both, which can be provided through modern approaches that focus on flow, feedback, and invitational, experimental change. With the right insight, people can guide their organizations to adapt and evolve in response to market feedback.

In Summary:

  • The Human Organization, is organized at it's core, around meaning, around impact, it is organized around purpose
  • Organizations with strong purpose are more resilient, are less reliant on rules, and perform better
  • Decentralization requires strong conditions of choice, and practical applications of trust, fairness, and safety
  • With the right norms and practices in place we can empower increasing levels of autonomy, so people can organize through choice
  • The world is in constant flux, our organizations need to be resilient to flex with it
  • Organizations that focus on feedback, flow, and change that is both invitational and experimental are able to adapt and come together to deliver sustainable value