Going beyond growth

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A differentiation needs to be made between growth and development. Growth consists of an increase in substance, usually manifested by a proliferation of the structures already present. It is essentially continuous and quantitative in character, but can proceed in the absence of new structures only up to a point. Development on the other hand consists of an increase in structure, which is manifested by emergence of new structural forms and very often has a qualitative character. It can be discontinuous in nature marked by a series of jumps from one level of organisation to the next, but essentially is a response by the growing system to an increase in scale.

Many would agree that amongst the pervasive problems confronted by present day organisations, are the following elements: increasing complexity, accelerated change, rapid technological advances, high dependence on expert advise, tunnel vision, reliance on standardised strategies. Some organisations deal with this successfully, others crumble. Increasing complexity is difficult to map; accelerated change leaves people breathless; rapid technological advances call for extraordinary resources; dependence on expert advice is seen ,by many, as a weakness; tunnel vision is at the cost of the helicopter vision; and reliance on standardised strategies eliminates contextual imperatives.

Clearly such an organisation is a malfunctioning organisation. The symptoms quickly come to the fore. Employee spirits are dulled by lack of opportunity. Management is geared to optimise their  own chance of survival. There is a declining access to decision-makers. Increasing number and uncertainty of crisis events leave several in the organisation with a sense of insecurity. There is learnt and studied helplessness. In an environment of declining performance and growing deterioration, imaginative accounting is resorted to.

A management man needs to be aware of such situations and insulate himself from becoming a part of such a scene .One needs to contribute to making of a positive organisation, systems and associations .An adaptive organisation is the best.It is open to ideas and perceptions also from the outside.

A positive organisation keeps an eye on the present and likely future trends, learn from other's experiences and does not convert yourself to an experimental menu A positive organisation is quick to respond, but restrained in reaction .There are some major approaches to the management of organisations: Classical, Scientific, Behavioural, Socio-Technical, Operations Research Oriented, Information Systems Oriented, Systems Oriented and more. It may be unnecessary to swear by any one of them and sanguine to realise that all these approaches singly or put together in various combinations, are what a situation may require.

Ultimately the indicator of the modern times is variety and rapidity.This needs flexibility coupled with a set of core values of integrity and non-malleability. Resilience which is the ability to absorb and bounce back from external shocks is a permutation that has to go hand in hand with homeo statis, (which is the maintenance of constancy of the internal environment). The truth of life experience is symbiosis. For those who recognise this beautiful word would be aware that symbiosis is said to exist between two subsystems when neither can exist without the other.
As life unfolds itself with it’s various hues and colours, as people confront the law of entropy (which is a measure of disorder, randomness, inability to do work), they will breath every moment with the consciousness of the fact that living systems have the capability of the decreasing entropy. Everyone should forever be a part of the growth and development process.
Earlier on I have drawn your attention to the need to grasp processes of growth and development and the ability to distinguish between the two. It needs to be remembered that there are various sources of growth and they are very often cut short by a crisis or ellie of some variety. Illustratively, creativity is a source of growth. It is often terminated by a crisis of leadership. Ability to give direction is a source of growth. It is terminated by a crisis of autonomy. Delegation makes for growth. It is stymied by a crisis of control. Co-ordination is killed by red tape and collaboration by employee burn out. The answer lies in the search of an adaptive organisation.

This requires looking for organisations that encourage loosening up. It requires a search of organisations which has variety and avoids strict controls. The challenge for such organisations would be in matching all this with a bottom line of standards and esconing it in an environment of quality. Anticipation of potential crisis in these organisations is matched by their pre-planned management. In this lies the essence of their capacity to cope with change.

Growth demands change. Environmental processes demand change, optimisation of technological variables demand change, emerging economic variables demand change, maintenance of position of excellence demands change, objectives demand change. In short, life itself demands change. Change comes because the structure of knowledge changes as do it's content.

Attitudes need sharpening and behaviour needs modifications, just in the same way as cognitive systems require transformation. Various patented solutions are in the air for managing change. They include BPR; TQM; Keisen; mergers and take-overs; restructuring; diversification. They all stand owned and disowned in various measures. Ultimately it is the individuals funeral or salvation. He must learn to choose, choose consciously, choose wisely and be responsible for his choices. He must have learnt the technique of lateral thinking to enable all this.

There is a need to realise that there is a life beyond lateral thinking. I would urge all to go beyond lateral thinking and also do longitudinal thinking.

Each one of us, is a product of some heritage variables - our genes, our environmental conditioning, early childhood experiences. I have known of adults, who over 30 years of their life could not get themselves to learn how to close a lid, close a bottle or for that matter put a cap on any object. Such is the terrifying experience of the "inherited variable", which goes into making of all of us. Organisations are no different.

The answer lies in breaking down our variable of  tradition selectively and fusing the positive component in it with the modern. The banal has to be rejected and positive retained.

The most important thing to recognise on the issue of the fusion of  modernity and  tradition, is to register that neither  modernity nor tradition, are any longer local phenomenon. In the era of globalisation, whether labour or capital travels or not, concepts certainly travel and have a universal dimension. This is natural because information revolution has strengthened and accelerated communication of ideas and concepts.

In view of the fact that, management is the art of the practitioner, globally people have been looking for ideas, which work, and strategies which produce results. The discipline itself is a quest for effectiveness.

Gradually, it is being recognised that effectiveness as managers is rooted in effectiveness as persons just as much as effectiveness of the systems is rooted in the vibrant nature of the context. To contend with change, which is the law of life, is the basic issue, and this every human being faces. This every organisation faces. This requires special craft.

The human being, faces fewer levels of change than what the manager does. 'Management Wisdom' is arrived at partly from empiricism & partly reinterpretation and application of the certain conventional disciplines in their scholastic traditions.

As a system Assyrian historical records, Indian thoughts on management in government, the Egyptian management practices, the Arab sophistication in decision making processes have a compendium of management strategies that have been periodically researched on and often eluded to, but rarely have they been built into a real world dynamic HRD architecture.

The charisma of the electronic revolution the dazzle of the armorial superiority of post industrial West & the sheer decisiveness of hard currency  operations have made the  protagonist of traditional  wisdom  not only  defensive but at  times apologetic. This has left both the modernists & the traditionalist somewhat isolated in watertight compartment in the world of management. Neither has been able to wield sufficient power in the absence of a synergistic integration. In the meantime, modernity itself has developed its own tradition and the modernity of tradition has similarly tendered to be overlooked.

Such an awareness helps to keep education alive and enables one to navigate through future, with the compass of longitudinal thinking .One should try to combine in oneself elements of modernity and tradition. Joining organisations that show a capacity to change with continuity  ,helps in this process. Tradition provides answers to many vexing questions of the present.

Modernity contributes amongst other things with a generous dose of technology. Both tradition and modernity supplement each other. This requires going beyond lateral thinking and developing the competencies of longitudinal thinking.

Going beyond growth can be attempted, if one has clarity of thinking and right priorities.

Read 86 times Last modified on Wednesday, 19 April 2017 06:35