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Seeing the Future of Organizations, Future Work, and Future Workers

Seeing the Future of Organizations, Future Work, and Future Workers

01-Organizations Are Moist

They are no longer rigid machines that use you and me like screws on an assembly line. They are emotional, they are complex, even chaotic, yet they are very tangible and appealing.

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Moisture brings nourishment, nourishment to various different species on this land. The more diverse, the more prosperous, the more vibrant; in my view, this is the process of organizing (as a verb). Because such organizations never have an overly stable structure.

When you can look at organizations from this perspective, they come to life. It’s what the trendy terms of today call ecological organizations, organic organizations, and so on. No matter what you call them, one thing is clear: “Predict + Control” will become completely ineffective; “Perceive + Respond” is the future that lies ahead.

02 – Organizing without Organization

Based on linear thinking, traditional management believes that as long as you hire a capable group of people and have them strictly follow established rules and plans, you can achieve the expected results, and any deviations or disruptions that occur in the process are just “accidents.” In reality, it is the chaotic non-linear relationships within organizations and the diverse complexities of individuals that create inevitable “accidents.”

I often think that from this perspective, companies are such boring institutions, uniform and everywhere you go, you can’t escape the highly stable control relationships of superiors and subordinates.

Today, technological advancements and the enthusiasm of young people in the new era have made it possible for new types of groups to form. A WeChat group, a website, a live stream, a forum, and so on are all constantly encouraging workers from different professional backgrounds to move away from these fair and open platforms. There seems to be no fixed organizational structure, but each group shares common goals and collaborates together. This is the power of organizing without organization.

Existing organizations continue to meticulously plan, design organizational structures, and see people as objects or static resources neatly arranged one by one. It may look neat and tidy, with everyone in their place. If nothing unexpected happens, people within the organization might think they haven’t done anything wrong and might even believe that tomorrow will be the same as today and yesterday.

Meanwhile, the power of organizing without organization is on the rise. The formation of organizations and teams is now easily accessible and can be triggered at any time. Most of the obstacles hindering organizational action are collapsing by the minute. Self-organization, eco-organic advocated by Teal organizations, boundaryless organizations, open organizations, and so on – these emerging new organizational models are moving from obscurity to standardization. I believe they will then grow in scale. The power generated by these new organizational forms is shaking the position of the traditional hierarchy upheld and maintained by conventional companies. Because freedom, emerging innovation, a sense of purpose, and benevolent management are what people aspire to, and therefore, it’s what organizations aspire to as well.

03 – Evolution Itself Has No Purpose

When you realize that we have transitioned from finite games to the era of infinite games, it means that this journey will never have an endpoint. Winning, defeating competitors, is not the purpose; being vibrantly alive becomes the purpose itself.

This holds true for any business as well. Nowadays, you often hear entrepreneurs describing “growing bigger and stronger” as their company’s vision. These colossal companies provide people with an immense sense of security, and if you possess the ability to navigate bureaucratic politics, you can attain high positions and the glory that comes with it.

The allure of humanity lies in its continuous exploration, curiosity about the unknown, and courage. So we begin to question, what do we want after fame, wealth, and victory? We will inevitably face the next step, and today will eventually become outdated, won’t it?

So what does organizational evolution mean? In my view, it means that organizations no longer come from revolutions, nor do they adapt to the present through periodic large-scale restructuring. Instead, it involves daily subtle adjustments, pervasive adjustments, not controlled by a central brain, but naturally growing, with prosperity and decline. Achieving this is practically impossible if you live within a hierarchical organization. Everything in a hierarchy is designed for those at the top of the pyramid; their success and achievements are the success and achievements of the hierarchy itself.

Adaptability is a new term entering our lexicon. What is adaptability? It’s the ability to continuously adjust to the current environment. In the VUCA world, adapting to the present is more reliable than sheer power. Young people are also gradually shifting away from venerating those mammoth-sized companies; small, agile, and flourishing organizations, I believe, will become increasingly prevalent.

04 – Interesting

I don’t know if you’ve become tired and confused due to the 996 work culture, or if you’ve found yourself perplexed by your boss’s peculiar words and actions. What does work include? Commuting on crowded subways, a fixed monthly salary, promotions, liking your coworkers, disliking your coworkers… In any case, none of these will be part of my job.

In my view, uninteresting work is only suitable for uninteresting people, happening in uninteresting companies, and they can continue being uninteresting like that. What concerns me more now is how I can help those interesting people who are currently in an uninteresting company doing uninteresting work.

True happiness is when you wholeheartedly immerse yourself in something, setting yourself aside, and the byproduct you receive. You’re not directly pursuing happiness; instead, you’re making yourself richer and more complex. In this process of becoming more complex, you find joy, and that state is happiness. – “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience”

Can an organization create such an environment where people have interesting work, for themselves, for their team, and for the world?

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