The idea for creating FAQs for Organizations came from the many coffee meetings I had with colleagues and friends while working in a range of organizations from global enterprises to startups around the world. It didn’t matter if the café was in America, Singapore, India, England, Russia, China, Japan, Germany or Australia, every time we were asking ourselves the same questions, “Why am I always in meetings?”, Why can’t we make decisions?”, Why do we have vertical silos?”. In fact, I would often get myself into trouble because I kept questioning my managers about the same things. They didn’t have the answers either.
This set me on my journey to find out why, and what are the solutions.
My investigation included reflecting on my own working experiences ranging in roles from Managing Director, Senior Vice President, Sales Manager, Product Marketing, Client Executive and Research Scientist. I read all the business books; Good to Great, Blue Ocean Strategy, Reinventing Organizations, and hundreds more. I attended conferences and completed a multitude of executive management courses. There were the consulting engagements where we worked with McKinsey & Co, Boston Consulting Group, Bain Consulting, Deloitte and PWC with me asking the partners for their answers. Along the way I learnt Six Sigma, TQM, Lean Thinking, The Lean Startup, Agile Software Development, Theory of Constraints, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Belbein Team Roles, Herrmann Brain Dominance, Social Styles and more.
What was emerging was that many of the people and books were saying similar things. Sometimes in different but complimentary fields like, personal development, organizational culture and operating structures. Scattered in front of me was a range of many jigsaw puzzle pieces that seemed to go together. I needed to find out how.
Next I delved into the immense world of academic research by undertaking my Masters of Strategic Foresight, a course only taught in three places in the world. There we covered everything from personal development, cultural development, cybernetics, viable systems model, stratified systems theory, big history, causal layered analysis, scenario planning, systems thinking and especially Ken Wilber's Integral Theory. The academic world is largely unknown to business people but very, very relevant if only they had the time to look.
It was Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory which provided the map to pull all the jigsaw puzzle pieces together. Wilber’s Integral map covers how we think, behave, the structures and systems we create as well as the culture that emerges from us as a group. Think of this as the physiology, psychology and sociology of an organization. Gathering together all the jigsaw pieces of the business books, academic research, my personal reflections as well as those of my colleagues, using the Integral map I have been able to put together the picture puzzle of a complete organization. The resultant completed picture is called the Integral Organization Model.
The Integral Organization Model provides the diagnostic tool that was needed to answer the questions. It is kind of like an organization’s equivalent of the Gray’s Anatomy book, which when first published in 1858 was the first time the knowledge of how the human body worked was brought together. The Integral Organization Model provides the diagnostic tool across the physiology (structure and systems), psychology (thinking and behavior) and sociology (culture) of an organization to determine the root causes and therefore the solutions to these frequently asked questions.
Having completed version 1 of this work, Gray’s Anatomy is up to its 41st edition, the idea of creating this website was to share this work. It allows us to interact as a community where we can comment on the FAQs and answers, ask more questions and debate the solutions. The FAQs are in no particular order, read whatever you relate to the most. At the bottom are topics in Blue Boxes which cover solutions for organizations. I am sure this will spark strong debate over whether they are right, wrong or somewhere in between. I look forward to the discussion. My hope is that together we can improve all of our working lives.
Below is a presentation explaining the creation of the Integral Organization Model. If you want to contact me directly my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Signalroad is my consulting practice, signalroad.com
Thanks and I hope you find this useful,
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