There is a growing disillusionment in our institutions today. We all want change, but we’re afraid to experiment. Kellner-Rogers has looked to nature for insights into creating more efficient organizations, noting that “Diversity in a healthy, living ecosystem is not an ethical or moral choice, but an absolute requirement for health.” Biology, as well, “shows us that in any kind of complex system, chaos is the way in which the system moves itself into a new expression of order, allowing the system to deal with greater complexity in the environment.” He says it’s time for managers to give up hierarchy and illusions of control and get their employees involved, starting from the vision process itself. If corporations make money when their employees are only contributing 10% of what they’ve got, imagine the profits–and the fulfillment–if people brought 100% to that job every day.
Kellner-Rogers is a partner with Margaret Wheatley in the consulting and education firm Kellner-Rogers & Wheatley. The two lead the Berkana Institute, a non-profit educational and research foundation seeking to discover new educational forms. They co-authored A Simpler Way: On the New Self-Organizing Paradigm for Organizations (Berrett-Koehler 1996).
Topics Explored in this Dialogue:
- The role of chaos in change
- Looking at nature’s living systems for solutions to our own
- What most of us want–and can’t find–in our jobs
- What happens when people are allowed to manage themselves
- How to initiate change in your organization
- The role of intuition in corporate success
- Deconstructing the organization chart
- Creating a shared world of significance
- The illusion of control in organizations
Program Number: 2653 Host: Mark Walstrom Interview Date: 11/24/1996