Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Build the Perfect Corporation

In nature, you find perfection. And everything functions according to its design. You don’t find fish climbing trees nor do you see hawks running around on the ground chasing its prey. The fish swim in water with precision and alacrity. The hawk uses flight for surveillance of the land then swoops down on its prey and carries it away. In nature, you see the fish and other animals operate with optimal performance as they function in the capacity they were designed to do. In corporations, it’s possible to elicit optimal performance from employees. However, if you squander talent in an organization, you will find less than optimal performance. Squandering talent is
analogous to asking the fish to climb a tree.

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." – Albert Einstein

To be clear, building the perfect corporation has nothing to do with being a perfectionist. A perfectionist in many cases is someone who does not always get the job done. Their desire to do things perfectly can prohibit them from completing the job.

The perfect corporation, on the other hand, is about maximizing the resources you have in the same way nature maximizes its resources. The cacti grow efficiently in the desert only because it was designed to thrive in the desert. Therefore, to build the perfect corporation, you must start with the number one resource – people. It’s important to know where your people will thrive in the enterprise.

While it sounds simple to put employees in positions where they thrive, it is often not the case. Perhaps what gets in the way is inaccurate judgments, assessments and opinions. Judging someone without asking what they are committed to being best at can be like asking the fish to climb a tree.

At the same time, there are people who have a difficult time seeing their own talent. As a result, they wander around the company searching for a place to fit in.

In the perfect corporation, misjudgment and uncertainty about ones role can be eliminated. Both misjudgment and uncertainty about one’s role can be the result of putting the past into the future.

In our training and education, we have been conditioned to believe that an understanding of the past can determine outcomes in the future. If that were a fact, Thomas Edison would have never made over 10,000 attempts to make the light bulb work. Common sense would tell any normal person to stop well before 1,000 tries. Yet, we judge people based on our past or our knowledge of another’s past.

In the case of self-judgment, we look at what we have experienced in the past to determine what is impossible in the future. As a result, we limit our choices based on the past.

While this mindset has been inherited as part of the human paradigm, it can be unlearned. In most cases, it is strictly our environment that has conditioned us to believe in presupposed limits. In other cases, our limits are the result of a negative early childhood experience that serves as a recording in our brains. Each time we find ourselves in a situation that is remotely similar a voice tells us to watch out for a repeat of the past. This causes us to focus on what we don’t want instead of what we do want. 

What does this have to do with a perfect corporation? Everything! Unless people are trained to manage presuppositions, they will judge themselves and others. Those judgments will cause them to mismanage people and other resources.

Because our predetermined beliefs appear to be reality, we have no way of incorporating an effective feedback loop. We only have the past as an indicator. And the past almost always appears to be ‘the way it is’. People even say ‘it is what it is’, when in fact almost nothing is stuck being the way it is.

In the perfect corporation, people are able to distinguish inimical conversations with themselves and others that derail or get them stuck. They commit to outcomes that may not have been accomplished in the past, even if there is no blueprint. Inside of that, they learn to distinguish their unique talents for optimal performance and focus them in a way that moves a team or organization several steps closer to a breakthrough result. What steps will you take today to make your company the perfect corporation?    

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.

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