Does how you respond get conditioned by who asks the question? In what circumstances? In what environment? Do you always answer exactly the same or do you change it? Understanding and forming identity is a key element of change, of leadership, of organisational survival. For any change to be meaningful it needs to engage as closely as possible with our identity because our existing identity will have already set the bounds to preserve the status quo.
Just as a virus is constantly adapting as the immune system tries to defeat it, the change movement must learn to evolve. Being wedded to the form that lead to early success is a sure route to failure. Unless the change effort mutates to fight the organisational anti-bodies its legacy will be nothing more than a sense of what might have been. You may not be able to plan in advance just when or how you will need to change the way you change, but you need to be very aware that at some point you will have to. What you end up with may not be what you first envisaged, but it will be real and lasting.
It would be easy to conclude that The Learning Organisation is a fantasy. Global financing and market pressures will never allow such a concept to really happen. Shareholders will always take the short term return, strangle the business, and then switch their capital elsewhere. In other words, its all the fault of someone else, someone faceless and intangible.
To conclude that would be to miss something that is happening everyday, before your very eyes. Each day people turn up at work, in sub-optimal offices and workplaces, not designed that way, but simply how they have grown to be with each iteration of the company’s progress. They work within a bureaucracy of process and procedure, designed in response to past events to ensure a brighter, safer future yet in reality limiting and constraining every individual’s capacity for creativity and humanity.
This is driven by a deep almost innate sense of organisational identity. More powerful than the agency’s branding or the consultants’ carefully crafted vision and strap-lines, this is our sense of who we really are. It has been created over the life of the organisation through each and every interaction. It has been created in how we have responded as our environment changed and how we made sense of it in all the conversations that explore that. Conversations by water-coolers, notice boards and photo-copiers.
If the global business is to find a sustainable balance it must attend to the local as well as the global. This is to see unique local cultures as the source of growth, not discrepancies that must be forced to confirm to a global ‘way of working’. A healthy local culture teaches us how to use the corporation in order to grow. It connects the history, memories and stories of the place with the changes afoot in the environment. It provides a way to make sense of them, together, a way to work out difference and garner understanding.
‘Smart City’ is the big noise. Rapid technological advancement has opened up a whole range of opportunities for city managers to increase their capacity to do what they’re paid to, manage their cities. A battery of smart sensors, vastly increased computing power, the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence and machine learning all combine to transform our cities into some wonderful utopian dream.
The idea is increasingly being propagated that we live in a ‘post truth’ world. In truth (ha!) the stories we receive have always been partial. Sometimes our story telling is deliberately disingenuous.
When you consult to a system who is your client? How do you know if you are doing the right thing? What constitutes doing good here and who decides? You cannot please everyone all the time. There is a difference between a reflexive action, changing the mood of a conversation through a comment or smile just because it feels to be going in an unhelpful way and a deliberate one such as considered reflection on events