The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Belonging to something greater than ourselves

As a member of ISPSO, I’ve had the opportunity to follow a conversation the members are leading on our purpose. It has been a rich conversation where most of the contributions appearing offered a different perspective on the subject.

A few learnings I had along the way gave me perspectives on how many organizations find themselves struggling nowadays.

When people join an organization, they start with an idea in their mind of what the organization’s purpose is. They often will not know how the organization and the other members understand it

They join with their understanding of how to achieve that purpose themselves. They also join out of the desire to learn how others do it.

When they discover how others see it, they often either start to attack them or pull out of the conversation. They hope to be able to secure their first idea of what the purpose is. They then search for a perfect match in the hope that they don’t need to change their perspective.

The focus on the satisfaction of the individual makes it difficult for other members as well as the leaders of the organization. They hesitate to name the change an individual needs to adopt to experience themselves as belonging.

Organizations search for the ingredients that motivate members in the hope to deliver what is needed to motivate individuals. They consequently have less time to create circumstances in which members can figure out how to motivate themselves.

In the desire to figure out what members want, organizations find it increasingly difficult to say what they provide. Members find themselves confronted with a fragmented picture of what the organization provides. They can see what they saw when they joined, but it is inaccessible to them as there can’t be enough supporting infrastructure for all the fragments.

When joining an organization individuals search for ways to become part of the group. They want to know how they can belong. However, when everyone focuses on addressing the individual, culture is left to develop on its own. It becomes a culture that doesn’t provide individuals with enough feedback. Nothing is helping them learn how to belong to something great than themselves.





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