I’m sure you would agree that we’ve come a long one since the Industrial Revolution. Not much in our lives would be recognised by someone from back in the late 18th century. Our technology is incredible and well beyond what they could ever imagine. We have cars, homes and our living standards in the western world are amazing in comparison.
However while we have come all this way, we are still stuck in the past and the thinking of the industrial age.
The standard pyramid business model that came about way back in the 18th century is still what we base business on today. Yes, there has been some evolution however the basic assumptions that this model was built on are still echoing in business. This model was created with the need to control and numb the masses. This was essential if you were going to get a large number of people to do menial and repetitive tasks day in day out for 12 or more hours a day, 6 days a week, in questionable conditions.
Some of the assumptions from this model are
- Employees are lazy, so you need to keep an eye on them constantly or they will slack off, hence the need for a large number of managers and managers of managers, clocking and clocking out, etc.
- Money and power motivates. The only thing that will get people going is the offer of a monetary reward or an opportunity for promotion. This would have been especially prevalent when people were making just enough to keep them alive, if that.
- Employees can’t be trusted. Don’t let them near any supplies, they will steal them. Don’t let them have access to any sensitive information; they will share it with someone outside of the company.
- Employees are not capable of understanding the big picture. Don’t ask them for their thoughts and ideas; they have nothing valuable to contribute. If they make suggestions don’t listen to them, they wouldn’t know what is really going on.
We are living in a more conscious time. We are more connected than ever to our own spirituality and that of the consciousness of humanity. I’m sure you can see that these assumptions no longer have a place in our businesses and organisations.
We now want to base our businesses on assumptions such as these:
- All people are of equal worth
- If you treat people like adults they will act like adults
- People are essentially good and can be trusted
- Everyone is able to handle difficult and sensitive news
- The community is richer if all can contribute
To me this is the emerging future of organisations. This is where we find the most innovative and progressives businesses, here we find the most passionate of business owners and employees. Here we find a workplace where we would all like to work and feel at home, live our purpose, feel that we are valued for who we are and that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.
If we continue to look to the past models for direction on how to run our businesses and organisations then we are doing everyone a disservice. It is time to take a fresh look, to discover new paradigms. To revision what it means to be in business and how that can look. The 21st century conscious business needs 21st century structure which is living and evolving with every step.