Fostering transcendent experiences isn’t a technical problem. We do not call forth the best from people, including ourselves, by naked force, by threat, or by subtle manipulation. We do not promote sustainable high-quality thought and action by just pulling some strings. Well then, how do we do it? We do it not just for one reason, but for a complex of reasons, such as believing in a purpose or goal for the activity, for admiration and loyalty to the leader, maybe for sense of being part of and contributing to a tradition, or maybe for the fact that we made a promise.
The point is that a whole and complex system of values is at play in our awareness and wanting to contribute and do a superb job. This realization is not unusual, because human beings are rarely purely single-minded. The essence of conscious human behavior is its multifunctionality. Human beings routinely keep several balls in the air at once or kill several birds with one stone.
So our motives, values and reasons are complex. We know that our immediate colleagues’ reasons are complex. And that our sense of what the overall experience is for, its purpose is complex. While there may be one or two official goals many kinds of excellence are frequently display in a given situation, not just one.
Whenever human beings accomplish something spectacular, it is each person’s thoroughly subjective experience of a unique, particular situation. But when the same subjective experience begins to show up over and over in connection with a particular mode of life and performance of human grouping we are on to something that is more than personal and subjective. It is about an existential in human experience.
What is this? It is a form of grouping that provides its members with an intense, positive, memorable experience, an experience that is for each utterly real yet somewhat ineffable, that is both simple and mysterious, that is clearly happening but that cannot be said to be consciously orchestrated.
The argument is that when this special social psychology emerges we are observing the birth of a formidable valuing system. It is an ongoing process wherein this entity we call an organization is managing to be a place where members are having the positive experiences that can be called spectacular. There are five categories or dimensions related to the transcendent experiences people have in organizations: 1. The economic, which has to do with managing resources, using them wisely, making profit, cutting costs, being conscious of resources; 2. The technical, which has to do with the way the organization does its work; 3. The support, which means the help, impact, teamwork, communication, solidarity and collaboration that people display between themselves; 4. The adaptative, which points to all the things the organization does to be a good citizen and add value to the community and the environment; 5. The transcendent that refers to all the acts for creating meaning for the people, those are satisfying to human consciousness and human feelings.
The transcendent-culture dimension of work is a kind of ministry and helps to explain the more spiritual events of organizational reality.
Copyright 2003 QBS, Inc.