Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park leveled this caution to the scientists resurrecting the dinosaurs about their inability to control organic evolution. That line struck me as I read Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant. Their book explores how corporations and large organizations are trapped in antiquated management practices that are more than 100 years old. These “Best Practices” were developed as we industrialized America and overlaid the same assembly line thinking to how we treat employees, customers and the community.
It’s all about command and control. Centralized thinking. On a “Need to know” basis. “You’re an important cog in our machine.” Etc.
Then, someone conceived the Web to help people communicate, and the social evolutionary genie was let out of its bottle. Social media has taken on a life of its own, giving voice to and inspiring people around the world helping us all to transcend the command and control structures of corporations, bureaucracies, even entire countries (See Arab Spring). And it’s unstoppable, blooming like the algae in my swimming pool that no amount of chlorine can appear to quell. From my review of Humanize:
“The tendrils of its power and influence creeps like a vine on a lattice, and it gently consumes the rigid structures and hierarchy that our Jurassic companies have used for a century to control livelihoods.”
Humanize explores how the DNA of social media – being open, trustworthy, generative and courageous – are the very building blocks today’s corporations must embrace to redefine themselves and flourish in a more social world. This got me thinking. So I jotted down the following list that captures the cold mechanical underpinnings of your typical corporation, juxtaposed to the softer side of social media and its evolving human engagement.
How would you compare the two?