June was packed with interesting and inspiring conversations. Social Business Forum 2012, Switch Conference and Social Now provided the venues for meeting for the first time, or encountering again, some very smart folks. Themes range from social business, the future of organizations and work to life, goals, books, communities and challenges.
In many cases, the art of conversations was accompanied by the art of the table, so as the stomach was being satisfied the soul was also nurtured.
In one of those interactions the topic of organizational & management change came to light. We agreed that the way our organizations work and the role of leadership & management needs to change, or to be hacked in the terminology of the Management Mix initiative led by Gary Hamel. But one of us, having met with a lot of silent resistance from middle and top management of many companies (silent in the sense that their talk at meetings and their Powerpoint speak one thing but their actions, or worst their non-actions, speak a very different thing and thus silently mine any change initiative), raised an uncomfortable but important question: could our organizations really ever develop into being more open, transparent, connected, human & socially responsible? Could we, the change agents deeply seeking to drive transformation in our organizations, really succeed into setting the foundations of a new sort of enterprise?
In some cases, I hope, yes we will be able to transform our existing organizations into entities fit for the uncertainties of the Big Shift . In other cases, I’m afraid, no. Resistance and preserving of the status quo will just prevail and radical transformation will not be possible.
But amidst the rather glooming mood settling in at the table while we exchanged views about this, I offered a different perspective: what if what we are doing is in fact showing people (our colleagues, our friends, our customers, our partners) that there is a better way to work, to build businesses with a purpose & to make a difference through their work? What if the bigger impact is not so much in the abstract concept of organizations but in the atom unit of each individual?
Maybe then, even if we can’t transform some of those organizations, we will succeed in inspiring people that will set out to build the new ventures that the World really needs. And I’ve seen this happen recently with some friends… In this case I’m sure the work of all intrapreneurs, management hackers, purpose-driven consultants & evangelists out there would not have been in vain!