So much more is possible
We are beginning to realize that we do not yet know the limits of human potential. Yet we have barely begun to explore how to realize that potential in our organizational settings. For years we have struggled with a perceived trade-off between getting work done and doing good for our people. It has been commonly assumed that to focus on caring for people means taking the focus off doing great work together: focus on one means not focusing on the other.
We are already doing it
Several living examples are showing a different way. In the business world, for example, there are now companies that demonstrate that it is possible to operate a world-class business that consistently achieves superior results while at the same time developing its people to unlock their latent potential. Indeed, their world-class results in both business and development are not achieved independent of each other, but through an integrated approach that views them as just one thing.
The world seems confused about some basic questions:
- Can an organization care for its people in a way that allows them to become more whole, more autonomous, more powerful, and more free?
- Can such an organization achieve superior results: financial results, strategic results, tactical results?
- Can people work together in a work setting where it is normal to be honest and direct and caring with each other?
- Is it safe, or even reasonable, to be open and honest with your work colleagues?
- Can you trust people to take the initiative, learn and grow, be accountable, and be trustworthy?
The answer for us to all of these questions (and more) is an unequivocal yes! Not only does it make logical sense for us that all of these should be possible, but it has been the way we have been building and running organizations for a while now. And once you have the experience of living and working inside such an organization, returning to the more conventional rules of corporate America seems unimaginable.
We call this approach to building and running organizations Nothing Extra: do you want an organization that consistently produces superior results? Grow and develop your people so they can handle the challenge and complexity required to deliver those results. You want to grow and develop your people so that they become bigger, more mature, and more free versions of themselves? Use the complexity faced by your organization to design a curriculum that sets them free. The answer to each question is found in the other. Nothing extra is required. Just run your organization so that the extremely high standards that you want for the results are the exact conditions required for an ideal development environment.