Evolving Workplaces: Business as Beings

Jul 12, 2022

If Corporate is Dead, what do we need to differently?

If traditional corporate business was run like a machine, what if the new business model is evolving like a human being?

What do you mean by business is run like a machine?

“A successful corporation is often said to be “well-run” or even a “well-oiled machine”; it is also a “good system” that is “efficient” and “well-designed.” When you hear these descriptions or hundreds like them, you are hearing the belief that employees should be cogs in the corporate machine. 

What do you think of when you hear the word "machine"?

  • Machines are known for being rigid, stable, solid structures. The parts that make up the machine are nearly identical and easy to replace when things go wrong. Machines execute in the same way repeatedly.
  • Controlled in the Control Room: They are typically operated by a single control room by only a few.
  • Machines are stagnant, unable or slow to change.
  • Overall Machines have no emotions, motivation, personal needs, growth, or change - it simply exists only to execute.

What does business evolving like a human being mean? 

Human Being as a Business Model: Let's use the human body as a model and think about all the elements of the human being as the elements (people) of the business.

  • Some people in the business play the role of the brain. The brain can't exist without blood from the heart.
  • Some people the role of the heart...the heart can't exist without oxygen from the lungs.
  • Some play the role of the lungs. And the lungs can't exist without the mouth to bring in air.
  • Some play the role of the blood - oxygen can’t get to the lungs without blood
  • Some play the role of the skin – without skin we’d fall all apart
  • Every single piece and part are important to the overall health of the being. 

Beings are in balance: No single piece or part is in control of everything, and they each work together with other elements for the greater food of the whole being. Each part impacts the health of another, and they must have equal access to the resources they need in order to operate effectively.

Beings are flexible but highly complex: There are infinite possibilities in which to leverage a being's capabilities to execute work. When a being isn't operating as they should be, you can't simply go out and replace it because not just any being will execute the work as it was intended to be performed. Furthermore, it's difficult to find the root cause or eliminate external variables when an issue arises due to the complex nature of beings.

Beings evolve and grow: When encountering challenges out in the world, beings grow and evolve to adapt. New behaviors are easily learned or changed quickly to navigate different situations. As a result, beings can develop new capabilities when necessary.

Beings overall: Feelings, motivations, life experiences, personal needs, growth, and need for change make up a being. Beings exist to contribute far more to the world than just to execute their jobs. They need purpose driven by their unique characteristics in order to thrive.

Beings as part of Beings...

Complexities of this Approach

While this approach aims to satisfy the needs of the people who work in and for businesses, it is not without its limitations. This model introduces new complexities and challenges for the workplace that will have to be acknowledged and addressed appropriately.

  • Harder to replace people when they leave.
  • Harder to optimize processes or systems
  • Harder to maintain control over everything
  • Harder to be rigid in business practices
  • Harder to get results using control
  • Must have highly effective performance management practices 

What could this look like in businesses?

The change from running businesses as machines to beings is one that does not happen overnight and with a single change. Workplaces will need to make a shift in each of the following areas to create better outcomes for both themselves and the people who work in and for them:

  • From Profit to Purpose
  • From Head to Heart to Gut
  • From Transactional to Transformational
  • From Competition to Collaboration
  • From Isolation & Separation to Inclusion & Connection
  • From Control to Trust & Freedom
  • From Power to Strength
  • From Rules to Guidance
  • From Results to Performance
  • From Struggle to Play
  • From Pain & Suffering to Joy, Peace, and Answers
  • From Scarcity to Abundance
  • From Fear to Safety
  • From Limitations & Challenges to Possibilities & Opportunities

We will be covering each of these elements in further detail in future podcast episodes and articles. Be sure to tune in to our Evolving Workplaces summer series on the Evolving to Exceptional Podcast to hear how businesses are negatively impacted by being run like they have been historically.

Related Podcast Episode

Check out our Evolving to Exceptional podcast episode where we discuss a new approach to running businesses as beings as we see the shift away from the traditional corporate culture.

Check it out here: Evolving Workplaces: Business as Beings

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