A while back I read a highly insightful book by Bernard Stiegler entitled Taking Care of Youth and The Generations that discusses how current marketing practices today are impeding the social and cultural development of young people, thus preventing them from fully maturing as adults. What I find interesting is that I actually believe that we are undergoing a similar crisis within organizations today in that current business practices are impeding the social and cultural development of organizations, thus preventing them from also fully maturing as well.
To understand the cause of this problem though, I think we need to understand the developmental differences between a child and an adult. From my perspective, the goal of raising a child is to help them reach an adult state of freedom and responsibility whereby they are able to act independently on their own in a sustainable manner. In effect, to reach a point where they are no longer dependent upon their parents to support them but they can fend for themselves within the world on their own.
For the most part though, I’m not seeing this same sense of development being applied to organizations. If anything, instead of helping their organization to reach a state of independence, most entrepreneurs are doing the exact opposite, often micromanaging and maintaining their parental control, thus causing the organization to continually flounder in a dependent and child-like state, always needing the support and guidance of their founding birth parent.
Yet if we truly want to create innovative organizations of the 21st century then we can’t continue with this same approach. We need to learn to let go and allow the organizations that we have founded and birthed to fully grow, mature, and think on their own. Then and only then will they be able to take the next step and carry us into a new world and a more natural way of working together.