Recently I was asked why I promote grassroots communities with such passion. Indeed I’ve never given much thought about it as it all seemed so natural for me. Now reflecting on this question, I guess it’s because I’ve tasted the power of “pull” rather than “push”. This is inherently why I’m passionate about Teal self-organization.
In a world where we see increasing challenges of complexity, increasing disconnections resulted in the current way businesses are operating, the traditional command and control simply cannot tackle the challenges. And if we look further into the future where AI, machine learning combined with bio-engineering, as Yuval Harari often says, may be able to hack human beings, the world we live in will change dramatically. For me, if we want to thrive in such a future, we’ll need to unleash our creativity and insights. These are the unique traits that make us human. Sadly many of today’s organizations are not built to cope with such challenges and the human creativity potential is largely undervalued or even being buried by the command and control mentality.
Teal on the other hand, with the ground of self organization, gives people the basis of freedom with a “safe enough to try” mentality.
In almost all cases, when I meet people in self-organized grassroots communities, I feel a strong sense of purpose. Because they are drawn to this work by their intrinsic motivation. What they do align with their purpose. These people are also extremely self-aware and reflective. And when such people get together, there seem to be an energy bond that connects us. The trust that is built in such occasions is much deeper than what happens in a command and control environment. Using a phrase of my Chinese medicine doctor friend, “the field is clear”. If the field is clear and people are working to fulfill their individual purpose and at the same time align with the organizational purpose, we get strong sense of fulfillment. creativity is like having Lunch everyday. It’s naturally flowing. I’ve read about peak performance research, what’s described there feels so familiar with a Teal environment for me. putting this back to the business context, with the technology advancement, many companies are focusing on digital transformation. What does digital transformation mean really? Time and again, business leaders cited mindset and culture to be key. And in the end businesses are there to create customer value. Challengingly in a VUCA world, often cases the customers themselves may have no clue what they need. So how do you deal with such an environment?
For me, empathy and creativity is crucial to navigate through the challenges. And that is precisely why I believe “pull” with “safe enough to try” will have a much better chance to thrive with customers in the future than the command and control scenario where a lot of stagnation and waste of talent is seen every day.
Now having written all that, I have a life changing learning from the years of being a change agent and all the excitement as well as the agony that associates with it. This is rooted from the Buddhism concept of “non- attachment”. I can be incredibly passionate and resilient in pursuing this work. Nonetheless, I’ve learned, or to be precise, I thrive, to do this work without having my “ego” attached to it. Like the wise line in the movie “Dr. Strange”- it is NOT about you. There is no need for a legacy, if in pursuing this work, a few hearts and minds can be touched; more compassion can be fostered in the world, it is enough. And the rest is fun!