Have a look at the advertisements in an international business magazine: it’s all about success, luxury and comfort. Read through management literature and the aim of management seems to be: seamless cooperation, unlimited possibilities, smooth leadership. Sugar sweet images of an easy to chew and enjoyable corporate life . Business leaders are portrayed as fighting hero’s, but there always is that sweet victory at the end of the corporate battle.
But is this oh so comfortable picture, the most interesting, the most rewarding, the most challenging and satisfying, the most insightful, the most beautiful?
Is there another picture, one of the edge of comfort? On the border of what we don’t like, where we are confronted with what is contrary to our (good) taste and believes, where we are physically and mentally not so comfortable anymore.
In art, on the edge is more or less the norm. Great art asks the questions we do not want to ask, confronts us with the our preferences. That is fine (for some), as long as it is outside our organisational thinking.
Are there elements of organisational design, that puts people on the edge? Allowing confronting visions, stimulating new perspective, new dialogues? Not as an end in itself, but as a kind of inevitable way to ask other questions and find new answers. As a way forward to strengthen the basics of organizations and create true beauty.
I find this edge an interesting thought. In organisation design, it is mostly uncharted territory and where that edge is and what form it has, remain to be discovered. It certainly requires excellent helmsmanship to avoid a destructive ride into the abyss, and bring unforeseen possibilities.
A not so comfortable statue by Maurizio Cattelan called ‘Him’