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Winning in the Age of Bohonomics

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Towards A New Capitalism In The World Of Bohos

Think about yourself walking in a thick jungle. In a jungle where the branches, bushes, lianes and the thick undergrowth makes your progress hard. Bristling with fear and anxiety you bulldoze your way forward with a help of sticks and knives. The knowledge that there might be dangerous beasts lurking among the vegetation doesn’t make your race any easier. You must constantly be prepared to attack and protect yourself.

Now imagine, that the jungle is finished and you entered a deciduous forest. The vegetation is still lush but not stickingly thick. However you keep your knife and stick ready and from time to time you cut a low hanging branch. And you are hoping that you’d get out of the jungle one day.

You are not ready to adopt the new environment even though you are in the middle of it. You are in deciduous woods clamouring for a change in the jungle.

We are so used to live depending on one big truth. To believe in one big truth. Not necessarily because it would be the only one but because it makes our lives easier.

The world has changed from a space divided with frontiers to a boarderless web of people. Different truths and ideas can wander freely and meet people also there, where the one truth nepotism has selfishly built isolated societies.

The discussion about the morality of capitalism is a sign of the change that is already going on. A crowd of people has left the jungle capitalism and moved into a grove of new economics. Yet many cry “it’s a jungle out there”, dangerous and hard.

”Capitalism is a system of cultural, spiritual and ethical values” says professor Tom G. Palmer in his book “The Morality of Capitalism”. Yes. And the mission for the people is to create for that system a content that serves the highest purposes of the human kind. Then capitalism can be a system where the right to ownership and the freedom to make agreements in the spirit of free will can be realized.

Marc Luyckx Ghisi a professor of Future Studies from Belgium says “Truth is in the empty center of the common table around which all cultures are sitting on an equal footing. Women and men are also equal. The urgent scope of life is to care together for our survival. But the main goal in life for everyone is to reach the center, the “divine light” or the “absence of light”. And the more you approach the center, the less you can define what the illumination is. You are only able to experience it. And nobody owns or controls this “empty” truth. It is impossible.” The nature, animals and plants are part of this consciousness and thus respected.

The truth, the light in the middle of the world-table, is a common emotional experience that the value that the individuals bring to the table creates something big and meaningful when it is integrated into the common flow of values.

This is the new world we are living in. Call it transmodern or post-post modern or a world of people, without definition… I kind of a world where “… the value grows by mobilizing the energy and capacity for invention of the people in an unprecedented scale, so that wealth is created to a common man…” in Tom’s book the sentence begins with the word “capitalism”.

Why do we need words? We need ideological vehicles so that we can realize in what kind of woods we are walking in. The word capitalism is difficult to accept for many. It is loaded with heavy accusations  but perhaps it is the right word when we seek for a vehicle to express the economics of this new world.

But if capitalism has made damage to people’s souls then we need to find a new vehicle to describe the system of freedom, spiritual values, the uniqueness and talent of the individuals, creative projects of societies, tribes and movements, holism without reductionism in the name of economics, wealth building without exploitation and robbery. “Substituting power with persuation and envy with achievements” says Palmer. Yes. Palmer emphasizes that capitalism does not include greedy exploitation and robbery because they lack the element of mutual free will.

My credo is ”we are built to win”. A human being is endowed with unique potential and her/his life is a work of art that we all must respect. The world is simultaneously a collection of talents and a shared, cooperative performace, “a concert of a globalized planet” *, where each and every one adds value with her own talents and uniqueness. In a cocreative process an awesome tapestry with thick value is formed combining the spiritual and the material. The economy is a part of that performance and that, the economy,  must be made to serve the human kind with the understanding that everybody is important and equally valuable.

Professor Bjorn Wahlroos talked about India. He reminded that it is not that long time ago the news we heard from India were those of famine. Nowadays we are hearing more and more good news from India. About flourishing businesses, great universities and exciting innovations. When the economy grows there will be space to handle other issues as well, human rights for example.

It would be unwise to push capitalism aside because of the greediness that has ruined it’s good parts. We need creation of economic value so that we can continue to develop well being of both people and the earth. But the capitalism must change. It must see that people have come out from the jungle.  I’ll quote John Mackey who was interviewed by Tom G. Palmer:

”Capitalism is a source for value. It is the most awesome tool for cooperation. This is the story we need to tell. We must change the way we approach it. From the viewpoint of ethics we need to change the description of capitalism so that we can show that capitalism is about creating shared value, not for some but for all. If people would see capitalism as I do, they would love it as much as I do.”

*) The great concert of the globalized planet”, Mario Vargas Llosa,  in Palmer’s book.

Tom G. Palmer, ed., Morality of Capitalism, 2011.

“We are built to win” you can find also from Mike Babcock’s book Leave No Doubt

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On The Way To Performance Centered Organizations?

Today many entrepreneurs, managers and business leaders think what are the secrets to business success? And where shall we find these secrets? The typical answers are: new technologies, new young smart people, new management techniques, and the active use of social media.

Another way to answer to this question is to ask: What destroys business efficiency, productivity, competitiveness, product quality and profitability?

An obvious answer is average performance which is based on average management techniques and average workers. Going beyond average is not easy because we love to be average persons with a normal and standard behavior. “I am only working here – do not expect too much” is so typical attitude in many workplaces.

We like to meet the expectations of an average behavior. Actually being something beyond the average is often punished by managers. There are also many trendy fashions in the management literature of organizations. That is why some answers about business success are short-lived.

Building up the performance-centered organization has been an obvious answer to business success. The key to avoiding the performance gap and the “average dilemma” is to become a performance-centered organization.

To build a performance-centered company or a team is not easy. Even more difficult it is to create a performance-centetered network. Unfortunatelly we cannot “photoshop” our organizations, teams or networks to be “performance-centred”. We must seek other more realistic management solutions.

Of course, we remember some business gurus told us some years ago that we must learn the habits of ancient Samurai sword fighting and Attila the Hun leadership secrets in an effort to be more competitive. They said we must look at our mirror and make changes.

Some gurus told us to rely on knowledge and knowledge management. They said that knowledge will be the new capital of the twenty-first century. Information technology, then, must be the big answer, right? Yes of course, because the world now is too complex, too competitive for companies and agencies to be successful without powerful and integrated knowledge management systems. However, knowledge is not enough to guarantee business success. We need real social and intellectual capital There are many companies, who certainly have a lot of expertise, information and knowledge, but something is still missing. What is this small something?

One missing element can be the way we work in organizations, how we perform our jobs in workplaces. Are we working like average persons or are we trying to reach something special? Are we dreaming about something out of box?

The natural tendency in many organizations is to seek high-level, single-focus solutions, business process re-engineering, strategic planning, new technology and system architectures and designs.

These tendencies are important – no doubt – but often we must also think our values, attitudes and real actions. We may need more bohemian attitudes and actions in workplaces. We need more bohemian spirit. We may need also more every day’s creativity and more ambient ideas and inventions. Then we may be on a way to a performance-centered workplace.

The real performance of working people will make up the organizations. Moments of value creation are important for the business success.

When someone really presents new ideas, novelties, decides, invents, acts or thinks in a radical way, they are probably moving towards a performance-centered organization.

The Bohemian X Factor is probably a very good answer to a better business success. We must believe in bohemian diversity as a key resource of business success. Too formal and homogenous corporate culture may not be very smart approach to a performance-centered workplace. As the Richard Florida proposed tolerance is a key explanatory variable in the success of cities. Flocks of bohemian types, or bohos, are important to the future of any city. This tolerance argument is also relevant in the context of organizations and companies. Other T:s of Richard Florida were technology and talents.

INDEX
1. Samurai sword fighting
Web: http://www.ehow.com/list_6669264_samurai-sword-fighting-styles.html

2. Attila the Hun
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atila_the_hun
3. Richard Florida
Web: http://www.creativeclass.com/richard_florida
4. Bohos
Wellman, L. (2002) Freaks, geeks, bohos — hey, it’s the Bay Area. Turday, June 6, 2002. Web: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi- bin/article/comments/view?f=/c/a/2002/06/06/MN161689.DTL

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