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The Smart, Well-Informed and Wise Organization Published: Sunday, May 18, 2008 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel (Coco) Morales

Norbert Weiner, the great mathematician behind the concept of cybernetics, suggested in 1964 that the technological revolutions impacting and connecting the globe would put supreme demands on the profoundness of our characters and intelligences.  The future offers little hope for those who expect that our mechanical slaves will offer us a world in which we may rest from thinking.  In times when many people are searching for diversion, meaning no thinking at all, the world of the future will be an ever more demanding challenge to our sense of civic virtue and to our multiple intelligences, not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited by our robot slaves.

An organization can only be smart, well-informed, and wise, if its people are wise and interconnected.  A word of cautiousness.  Fixed patterns of interconnection will not do the job.

The right combination of minds changes as fast as the organization can think through old problems and get on the new ones.  Each change requires learning new patterns of behaviors and new competencies.  Thus, organizational learning is the essence of the management of our times.  Like my good friend Bartty Gamundi, asks me every time we meet:  What are you reading, researching, applying, and learning that is new these days?

The single advantage of the agile and flexible organizations over the bureaucratic design is their ability to learn fast.  Network organizations have more brains actively engaged in learning in rapidly evolving organizational patterns of behavior.  But the key point here is whether you are passionate by learning or if you face this challenge as another burdensome task.  Needless to say, in order to be effective it has to be an exciting adventure of knowing. In the learning and knowledge oriented organization this learning passion takes place at different levels. 1) Each person learns and acquires better capabilities and has to be ready to show what he/she got. 2) Each person improves the numbers and quality of his/her relationships. 3)  As the organization gets connected up in better ways (NO ONE IS EXCLUDED), a type of learning occurs in every single person, but most of all in the space between people, creating in this way a real learning and knowledge environment.  A democratic environment is the best setting for learning and for knowledge creation.

In the authority oriented organization, many of the connections are designed from above with little knowledge or time to think about particulars of the new jobs and people involved.  Once the design is finished it is left in place for sometime, making the organization static and inflexible. 

In the smart, well-informed and wise organization, the design of the organization changes as fast as people pick up the phone.  Warning:  With each sale or new business in the internal market economy the validity of the traditional connections is tested against the challenges of competing vendors.  Good news: Each variation in customer’s needs creates the opportunity to broaden the pattern, look up for old relationships, or discover some person with the real competencies to exceed the customer’s expanding expectations.

To the degree the organization becomes more smart and wise more strategic and operational work can be done without paper work and traditionals.

 


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