The enterprise as a flow of ideas
For better or for worse, our thinking is, to a large extent, the result of our conditioning, a reaction of our memory. For centuries, leaders ordered, others obeyed. Then, with the advent of corporations, experts thought, others executed. These modes or organization rested on a deep belief in the difference between God-appointed nobility and the mob, then between higher education, and the rest. But this simply not true anymore – every one is educated. Every one has ideas that matter. Every one matters.
This old thinking makes us see organizations as a chain of command, a flow or work, and accumulation of capital – mostly machines and technologies. Let’s consider organizations differently: a flow of ideas and capitalizing on intelligence.
Respect is about taking seriously every person’s point of view and making the effort to figure out where their ideas come from. Teamwork is about developing individual competence and individual skill in dealing with people from different tribes and perspectives. The aim of respect and teamwork are to enhance the flow of ideas and grow intellectual capital.
Can a flow of ideas be led to enhance productivity? This is what kaizen is about: orienting the flow of ideas towards increasing customer value by improving customer experience and reducing unnecessary costs. Kaizen does that by asking every one to see the improvement potential in their own daily work, analyze their own work methods, come up with new ideas and partner with others to change how things work for the better: the flow of ideas engages both employees and customers, and so benefits every one by leveraging intelligence. Don’t work harder, work smarter.