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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Mind, Body & Spirit of an Organization

The other day I was having a conversation with a coworker about what had gone wrong with his grand vision for a technology platform we are implementing.  He was frustrated because he had employed excellent architecture and even did the legwork to implement it to the point at which the concept was put into action.  Nonetheless, he was meeting resistance.


This gentleman (we will call him Abe) is a very pragmatic fellow and a brilliant technologist.  His ideas always seem to me to be well thought out and backed by a solid scientific and logical foundation.  This one was no exception.  Where did Abe go wrong?


If ideas represent the mind of an organization and implementation the body, then what is the spirit?  I would contend that every organization has a culture that transcends the mind and the body.  It is this aspect of an organization that forms its spirit.


Like many spiritual pursuits, organizational culture shares a certain amount of ambiguity that requires both knowledge and faith.  It requires one to have a deep understanding of the past in order to be able to properly interpret current events.


That’s why within an organization, there are those people who have been around a long time who are the keepers of the faith.  Sure, there may be some “non-believers” who have resisted the corporate culture for a long time, but most people eventually see the righteousness of the path of culture.


When the spirit conflicts with the mind and body, it usually wins.  Logical arguments don’t hold up well in the face of spiritual pursuits.  It is best to accept them and find a way to work within the confines of the spiritual tenets of your organization’s particular denomination.

This was the advice I gave to Abe.  Abe worships at the altar of the mind -- a true humanist.  However, the people he needs to convince of the righteousness of his path are believers.  They see the world differently and Abe will need to live in their world if he wants to influence it.
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