Organisations as Communities - which require Communityship
A while back I wrote about Organisations as Organisms & asked this question.
What if he looked at organisations as organisms? Rather than talking about just goals, success, culture, structure, incentives — we talk about the health of an organisation.
Mintzberg (whom I admire a lot) suggests that the best organisations are communities which means that we should stop obsessing over leadership and focus on communityship. In order to maintain that health, we need to focus on developing the community. Makes a lot of sense.
Think of the organizations you most admire. I’ll bet that front and center is a powerful sense of community. To use a phrase that I cannot repeat too often, effective organizations are communities of human beings, not collections of human resources.
How can you recognize communityship? That’s easy. You have found it when you walk into an organization and are struck by the energy in the place, the personal commitment of the people and their collective engagement in what they are doing. These people don’t have to be formally empowered because they are naturally engaged. The organization respects them so they respect it. They don’t live in mortal fear of being fired en mass because some “leader” hasn’t made his or her numbers. Imagine an economy made up of such organizations.
Sure we need leadership, especially to establish communityship in a new organization and to help sustain it in an established organization. What we don’t need is this obsession with leadership—of the individual singled out from the rest, as if he or she is the end all and be all of the organization. So here’s to less leadership, or perhaps better put, just enough leadership, embedded in communityship.