Organizations Need Responsive People

Once I worked with senior executives at a successful organization in Asia. I was impressed with their efforts to design a system that could make deep change more frequently and effectively. They told me that they were trying to become an “organic” organization. When I asked for a definition, they showed me a public document that stated that an organic organization is one that is ‘responsive, acts quickly and in a coordinated way, and can adjust and learn and grow.’

Many companies have similar statements. The next sentence, however, caught my attention. It read, ‘Only organic individuals can create an organic organization.’

I was interested in this statement because so many organizations talk about becoming responsive, but few talk about the logical implication that naturally follows. Responsive organizations need responsive people.

In an age of continuous change, organizations must match their environments by being more responsive, and people must match their organizations by being more responsive. If organizations must make deep change more frequently, so must the people who work in organizations.

(Deep Change, pp. 7).

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