Organisations are grounded in one, single directional paradigm: value creation for fuelling growth. Organisations are here to continuously advance the material world in order to keep on growing. Other paradigms or purposes, however prominently articulated, are secondary. Any organisation, be it religious, idealistic, not-for-profit, for profit or venture capitalist, is without exception susceptible to the value creation paradigm. Growth and value creation are prominent to the point where standing still is perceived as going backward. No organisation exists which states: “Our organisation will no longer grow” or which states: “Our organisation has created enough value”.
An organisation is a transpersonal, energetic constellation – it can only live its paradigm with people bringing it alive through their energy. As such, an organisation is a grouping of people who individually and together signed up to achieve the organisation’s purpose. At the same time, organisations only make use of the capabilities of people necessary to advance its paradigm of value creation. Other capabilities are not used to the point of not being welcome: people are appreciated when they deliver their role and don’t operate outside it.
Friction – Healthy Friction
Value creation can only be achieved through friction. In essence, friction is the collision of differences of experience, expertise and perspective between people involved in the organisation. Imagine everyone would have the same experience, the same perspective and the same knowledge: nothing new would come, no growth in value creation. Friction is built into the organisation through clustering people in functions, processes, geographies and hierarchical levels. Friction is fostered by unifying everyone behind one overall purpose, strategy and objective, whilst at the same moment giving every cluster, and within the cluster, every person, their own task, responsibility, targets and bonuses for achievement. Friction is healthy friction when the behaviour between people involved remains constructive, working to the advantage of relationships & results. If not, it is unhealthy friction.
Friction – Unhealthy Friction
The pitfall is for the friction to become unhealthy. Unhealthy friction distorts relationships & results. This is usually manifested by one human being trying to dominate the other(s). We humans know thousands of variations to do so. Leaders contribute to this by not defining the space and boundaries within which the friction can take place. This gives space to people being selfish, not inclusive, sticking to their original perspective, entering discussions with opinions or convictions, protecting their egos above the cause. Or it affects people who feel anxious, who cannot deal with the stress of differences of perspectives, of doubting the existing reality, of not being able to control the output upfront. As a consequence, one-plus-one will not be three. One-plus-one becomes at maximum two, and mostly one (and-a-half).
Unhealthy friction is often countered by increased power, igniting in response equally dysfunctional patterns of behaviour, together spiralling down the relations. The only way out – getting back to value creation – is by defining the freedom in a framework, and by growing the organisation wide, the capability to deal with the necessary forces of healthy friction.