Friday, November 04, 2011

A Small Organization Awakening

I was having a conversation with a friend recently in which we put forth our perspectives as to whether organizational life has really changed much over the past three decades. Certainly we are easily able to read about the "rapid pace of change"-I have been known to write about it and it helped shape the way my book Change, Resilience and Organizations turned out. (

Even though there have been many changes in the way the world operates largely created by globalization and technology advances, human expression has not really changed that much. We may use email, text message and social networks to communicate more often than we use the phone, save our documents 'in the cloud', interact at work with a much more diverse work team both locally and globally than ever before, but the behaviours we exhibit are only marginally different. Which means that the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of organizational life still occur and those tasked with managing people in organizations are dealing with the same plusses and minuses that occured 20-30 years ago, perhaps at a more public and rapid rate.

When I was researching for my book A Social Media Primer: For People In Organizations, the pace of change was mind boggling as during that 18 month period social media/social networking changed dramatically. But it is important to remember that such changes are adopted by people in a range from early adopters to not there yet but all those people are still managing. It is a good reminder that social media/networks are tools and they in and of themselves don't do anything, it is the people using them that create what happens. (

I am more apt to look at what is going to happen in the future than on history, but if we consider history and systems thinking in a big picture view of organizational life we will recognize that we have been *there* before. This can be a calming perspective when change feels like too much, too soon-we have been here before and we managed and we will do so again. I tend to be an early adopter possibly because of my intense curiosity for things that are new but I often go to my friends that are late to adopt for a good dose of perspective, reality and reminders. They have their own brand of wisdom to share and it helps me stay balanced in my approach which makes a difference when you work with diverse people.

So, what is your biggest concerns about organizational life these days? What problem are you trying to solve? What helps?


  1. Where I can go in place they know more information about organization of awakenings??

  2. I would suggest reading articles by Margaret Wheatley as one way to learn more about organizational change. Also, Peter Senge's books are excellent resources for understanding 'awakening' in an organizational sense.
    The other place to find more information is Dan Pontefract's blog at