I happened to read again Plato’s Ethical Theory some days ago and I can’t not share his marvelous collaborative perspective. His simplest question was:
What makes a person good or a society just?
And in brief he asserted:
In each of us the soul animates the body. The soul has three separate parts, called Faculties. An individual is good when the three parts of the person’s soul exist in harmony and are not in conflict.
To get an idea we can have a look at a group structure. Every society must have three groups of people: Workers, Soldiers and Leaders with defining characteristics.
- Workers produce all the things we need for everyday life; they are focused on desires and appetites, interested in satisfying their needs.
- Soldiers need to defend what workers produce and find themselves often in dangerous situations; they are emotional and have a lot of high spirit.
- Leaders think rationally and use their reason or intellect to make decisions and lead the affairs.
Thus, an Individual can be Good or a Society Just only if the Workers and Soldiers learn moderation and self control. Because how can a society flourish if the Workers and Soldiers do not control their desires and emotions? If they are not under control, Workers will sleep or play too much and not work and Soldiers need to channel their high spirits in a certain direction and precisely to be brave and courageous. While Leaders should be wise and make good decisions to train the other two groups.
If you have all that you will have a Good Person and a Just Society!
In my late research – the Company Body - in a Collaborative Organization we have more than three parts to stay in Equilibrium.
We need a
Dreamer + Feeler + Thinker + Hunter + Speaker + Checker (double) + Advisor (double) + Energizer + Processor + Mover (double) + Reacher (double) + Holder (double) + Maker (double) + Hooker (double) + Backer (double) … better look at the top pick above …
which are all dependent on three main Working Principles.
- What do Organizations depend on?
People, for instance?
To take an example, the parts of a Human Body form a System although they have no independent ‘will’ or ‘consciousness’. Similarly, the People forming an Organization make of it another System but, conversely, they are distinguished by ‘will’ and ‘consciousness’. These two systems related to each other are respectively a Sub-system (Person) and a Super-System (Organization). What equals the two are Interdependence & Value Recognition. A Person is in nature a complete and ‘independent’ system and this consciousness leads us often to not take into due consideration our ‘interdependence’ on other systems within an Organization. On the other hand, an Organization is another independent Super-system which, whenever considers people ‘interchangeable’, doesn’t recognize unique value to its mutually interacting parts and undermines its own structure.
Hence, the problems in communication and sense of belonging and motivation we deal with in current management and organizations are directly related to the full understanding of these two factors: Interdependence & Recognition.
- Why is conflict between Parts so common?
Going on in the example above, each part of a Human Body pretends a preferential treatment. Relax when tired or short of energy, attention if neglected or need to be healed when hurt. And, the Brain, the locomotive of the Human Body’s train is, in principle, well disposed to give each part what it asks for. The situation becomes complicated if all the parts are given special privileges simultaneously. If, for example, we happen to love chocolate, our Mouth is continually eating some. But then, when one of our Teeth starts hurting and craving for pain relief, our Brain, by making some mysterious calculi, decides to give it a painkiller. Our Tooth stops complaining and our Body happily goes on its way. Though, this reveals to be a temporary happy condition. The same Tooth, some time after starts demanding attention again. And our Brain, copying the previous best practice solution, gives it newly another painkiller. In the end it is time to see a dentist and remove the decay provoked by too much sugar! Everything is fine again. Well, not really: painkiller after painkiller what a bad Stomachache while the Brain was committing to satisfy, in the meantime, the needs of the other Body Parts. Thus, we can see how the conflict is intrinsic in the Parts themselves since they are not independent, but complementary, carrying out their own functions and simultaneously working as a Whole with the other parts.
Likewise, each Person in an Organization has different personality, skills and needs. They can be ‘pivoted’ in broader categories of prototypes of ‘personality’ ‘skills’ and ‘needs’, nonetheless they remain potentially ‘in conflict’ since different and the price of dealing with such a ‘conflict’ is always high. Some people to hire are exceptional but too expensive. And some others simply have the basic necessary skills for a specific position. We are willing to pay an exaggerated sum for what we need independently on real value when we think we absolutely have this need in emergency situations. Illusion or real need?
Well, when a Human Body experiences excessive stress – whether from internal worry or external circumstance, such as a conflictual workplace for example – a bodily reaction is triggered, called the ‘fight or flight’ response, originally discovered by the physiologist Walter Cannon. It represents a genetic wisdom designed to protect us from bodily harm. When the ‘fight or flight’ response is activated, a Human Body undergoes a series of dramatic changes. By its very nature, the ‘fight or flight’ system bypasses rational mind. Feelings are distorted, exaggerated. Focus is narrowed to those things thought to be desperately needed. Then value becomes the lens through which People (and Organizations) see the world. The higher the value, when the ‘fight or flight’ response mechanism is activated, the higher the price we are willing to pay for getting it. And this dramatically and equally affects organization costs and people’s life choices.
- Where is the difference between an Organization whose commitment-maximizing logic aims to utmost productivity and the Human Body of a winning runner whose effort-maximizing logic aims to reach first the finish line?
In an athlete’s Body there is no internal competition: arms, lungs, feet, heart, brain, eyes, muscles, bones, cells – the Whole Body – collaborate and run together. Can you imagine the ‘scenario’ if Heart and Lungs or Stomach and Liver didn’t collaborate … ?
Nonetheless, competition is everywhere. All living organisms must constantly compete with each other for the resources and mates necessary to survive. Evolution by natural selection, as first postulated by Charles Darwin. Although, the same Darwin also said that “In the long history of humankind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
- Why do we so often forget that We are Our Organization? And what changes if we do forget this?
Personal Happiness and Work Efficiency, for instance?
The more the water, the higher the boat @almadakaj
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