powerplay in #organisationdesign or the extremity of a true icon

An implicit parameter in the design of organisation is smoothness. All changes and ideas, all forms and ways of interaction, all structures and systems, all communication and training, all should have an unspoken, undefined smoothness. You might call it professionalism, good management or emphatic leadership. In organisational design there is a boundary that will not be crossed. The boundary of extremity. The idea is extremity is not good for business, extremity alienates, extremity prohibits control, extremity is out-of-bounds.

But there are exceptions.

On of them is the extremity of a true icon. The value of the icon, a symbol of meaning and purpose, goes hand in hand with its extremity.  The Eiffel tower stands for Paris. In the 1880’s, when it was build, it was very extreme, extreme in its height, extreme in its form, extreme in its efficient use of material. Only by its extremity it had the power to become the icon of Paris. Other examples are the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao or the ‘Nachtwacht’ in de Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

In organisational design, one might create an icon to guide the mindset and behaviour of the people involved. It should have symbolic power. But the true power of a meaningful (and beautiful) icon also relates to its extremity.

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