Unleashing energy in organisations

Following on from my previous posts on knowledge energies, I was interested to read this statement in a guest blog on the Cognitive Edge site.

Each network develops structure as a complex of agreements, procedures, institutions, culture and material circumstances, which channels interaction. Without structure there is no added value. Structure is the tissue which gives shape to living processes. Maintaining structure requires energy, but the balance is positive if more energy is released by the interaction enabled by the structure.

Having worked in multiple bureaucracies, I have seen how too much structure can stifle interaction and deplete energy. Work suffers as a result as people act like machines, doing what they are told without using their own initiative. There is little meaning attached to the work, little passion.

I was also interested to read another energy equation recently in Theory U (page 423). My KM equation is, of course, E=m c squared where the energy created is a result of the personal meaning in the work and the connections between people and between people and technology systems. Thie Theory U equation was E = D m where personal energy is a function of making a difference and something that matters to me. The m is the same in both – that of meaning. Their D is one of autonomy – in being able to do something that has some effect.

It’s fairly simple really – provide some loose structure, get some talented people, give them meaningful work, connect them with each other and let them loose on something where they feel they can make a difference.


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