Holding our organisations to a higher standard.

There are times when I have to think hard about working with some clients. They maybe provide services or products that I am not sure about or work in ways that I disagree with. I have limits and do say no sometimes. But for the others I justify my involvement in the following way.

If you have a big enough, mature enough, and lively enough internal network maybe when someone suggests sub prime mortgages and enough of you go “Really?” they think again. Maybe if someone proposes putting yet more sugar in your prepared food product and enough of you go “Really?” they choose a healthier option. Maybe if your organisation screws up, tries to spin the situation, and enough of you go “Really?” they do the right thing and take it on the chin.

In my book I suggested that if our corporate behemoths are becoming harder to constrain from the outside maybe we could all play our parts in doing so from the inside.


5 thoughts on “Holding our organisations to a higher standard.

  1. Unfortunately the top down structure of most companies does not allow this. If the strategy/marketing division of the company makes a decision everybody is expected to comply and not question. Most companies are still run like Stalinist regimes.


  2. Hi Euan,

    I notice that I’m starting to come across one or two people/orgs who work in the space of Laloux’s ‘Next Stage’ organisations, of dialogical/Open Space – non-Stalinist! – approaches etc who are taking the step of turning down clients for the kinds of reasons you outline. This can be far from easy.

    I guess we eventually want to get to a situation where it’s not just a few who take this stand, but enough current – or potential – staff and contractors etc that it eventually hits the unreformed, ‘Stalinist’ organisations hard enough that it creates pressure to change.

    On my optimistic days I think the Zappos experiment with distributed power – using the method of Holacracy – could work well and give permission for (even create a profit-driven demand for) other organisations to put in more human structures that aren’t the usual command-and-control hierarchy and foster employee autonomy/creativity.

    Here’s a blog of my – and other participants’ – experiences on a recent Holacracy introductory workshop, where we actually experienced running meetings in a new way. Certainly feels odd, at first: http://bit.ly/Holacracywkshp (next workshop is on 21 May).

    Matthew Kalman Mezey


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