Ode to counter-intuitiveness

What about doing crazy things? We know that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Then comes a whole gallery of muscle flexing archetypes. We need force. This is what we grew up on: strength and honor. Sounds like the Roman empire. Actually it comes from the Ridley Scott movie “Gladiator” with Russell Crowe. So much for being true to history. It does not matter, we all like a good action movie. And movies are good because they fit with our value systems. A typical John Wayne epic is at best a nice time travel piece, at worst a racist manifesto.

Our values drive us

But when the going get tough, they make take us towards more muscle flexing. That is the natural thing to do. Work harder. Except it does not work that way. Not for long anyway. And most organizations have a problem: they want to do more with less. What do you get if you go on overdrive for too long? Breakdowns: relational, emotional, physical and mechanical. The end result: what sounded like a good idea led to bad outcomes.

Organizations of the past do this all the time. Their goals may be legitimate for the largest part of the population. But their approach is just horrible. The values that support them are obsolete. Our world is well aware of the finiteness of resources. And asking to do more with less is not only dangerous, it is misleading.

Because in our unfolding paradigm, you do not have to do more. All you need is to do the good stuff, that which is necessary and useful. And drop all the useless processes and procedures that have been piling up. That is where the real priority is. Get rid of the obsolete and the clutter, and tend to the real mission. This is more about housekeeping than showing biceps.

Letting go of the excess

The bargain is simple: you want to get something done, what are you willing to let go of? And what you need to shed is not good stuff, it is more like useless fat. Still, many will squirm at the idea of letting go. They want to keep it and still move on.

Value systems explain that too: the more you got, the better off you are. That used to be true. Those who still believe this are heading for painful realizations. So be counter-intuitive. Do what does not sound right. Go for the iconoclastic. And let go of the unnecessary.

About the author

Stephane Baillie Gee

Stephane Baillie-Gee is a senior consultant. He works on advanced management and leadership in the scope of organizations of the future. He also helps bridging the communication gap between Western and Chinese cultures and organizations.

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