Yes, you read it right. Quotes like “The Greatest Good of the Greatest Number” sound very good and noble. Think about it for a while and you realize that it is not the greatest number but the smallest number! After all, pyramids end at a point at the top, don’t they? And those at the bottom are meant to support those at the top, right? Sadly, the Peter Principle is very much alive and well. It is alive and well largely due to self-interest, greed, slothfulness and fear. This is fed continuously by the image of organizations as pyramids. Pictures tend to embed themselves in our consciousness long after we have forgotten their meaning and context. Trouble is, we still tend to behave according to what we remember in the picture.
Perhaps it’s time to change that picture of the monolithic pyramid in our heads. I’ve been talking for some time now about the Organismic Company, and I think the picture of a cell illustrates what I mean extremely well. Imagine yourself as CEO in the centre where the nucleus is. The nucleus is where all cell activities and micro-activities are directed from. One slip and the cell malfunctions or causes damage to other cells. Repair of broken DNA strands is almost unending. Manufacture of proteins is just one of the tasks the cell has to perform. We need to realize that everything else needed to sustain life needs to be manufactured in the cell, too! That is how CEOs and Senior Leadership Teams ought to function. Not at the top of the pyramid, overseeing everyone else from their lofty perches, but from within, in the thick of things. Not to worry, though, if the foundational work is done right, CEOs will have time enough to look at strategy, network actively and effectively, keep pace with the trends in the industry, and so on. Make sense? Share with your friends if it does! Then you will indeed be helping all of us to arrive at “The Greatest Good of the Greatest Number.”