Sunday, October 3, 2010

The New Science of Organization.

I say "new science" in the headline to draw attention, but really the theory behind the science isn't that new,  more and more studies are backing up the theory. What the studies and the science continually show is a growing gap between our perceptional "reality" and the "reality" of how people and organizations function. With that reality lies enormous opportunity for growth, efficiencies, innovation and healthier organizations. This means improvement in the bottom line. Better productivity, cost savings, and taking a decisive lead in the market place.

Two recent books bring this science closer to the surface. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink, and The Smart Swarm by Peter Miller cover different but overlapping topics.
Of the two, "Drive" gets more to the specifics--what motivates us--while "The Smart Swarm" by it's very nature covers the generalities social intelligence.

While two very different books, both give plenty of direction for how we can think and act differently as organizations.
With "The Smart Swarm", we get better acquainted with the pros and cons of the herd mentality I have written about here often before. There are times where following the herd is the smart thing to do, investing being one example. The trick being is having enough understanding of where that herd is leading, what it is that is protective or smart about it, and when to leave the pack and follow your own path.
Within your own organization, you can harness your own swarm, your own herd with it's own group intelligence to make better decisions on where your organization fits into the larger market conditions.
The other trick is for managerial actors to let go of ego so they can harness the intelligence within their team.

"Drive" helps us get there. The one main take away from Daniel Pink's work is that after a certain level, money is not what motivates us. A deeper sense of purpose is what really engages our abilities, creativity and desire to excel. That purpose can be with the organizations in which we work, that can be your organization.

What these two books also underscore again, is the need for fostering the right culture to let our 'drive', our 'swarm intelligence' flourish to the point where it's getting more out of the latent talent and abilities the lie within all organizations and within society itself.

The science and studies are there and growing. The question that also grows is does your organization have enough leadership within it to harness it's 'drive' and 'swarm intelligence'?

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