Great Pirates for Organizations

I just finished reading Buckminster Fuller's book, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. Definitely an interesting point of view to say the least. It was full of the mindset about a comprehensive approach to building a world where humans are all taken care of and all experience the reality of abundance through having a holistic view of what life should be, then setting up the systems and computer automation to do the specialized things that make our world work.

A bit out there (unless you're Elon Musk), but it is something that hit me pretty hard.

"Bucky" talks about the Great Pirates that used to rule the world by being the only beings who were able to witness the whole of the world. They then set up kingdoms with Kings to do their bidding within their vision. The people in the kingdoms saw the King as the highest vision for reality, but in fact was completely wrong. In fact the Great Pirates were in complete control. This difference in view point between these Great Pirates (holistic) and the Kings (specialized) never really occurred to me but definitely hit home. We see King's ruling in their own specialized kingdom, while the Great Pirates were the ones creating trade and setting up new ports to expand their view of the world. A great power nonetheless.

Unfortunately, the Great Pirates eventually disappeared and we've been stuck in a specialized world without a sense of a holistic direction. 

Now how did this strike me? Outside of any spiritual or metaphysical references, I saw extreme parallels in how companies and organizations are structured. The deeper I get within organizational planning and business modeling, I see that the idea of specialization gets further and further fragmented as business units are created. Traditional organizational structures are created as functional departments to solve for a specific business outcome. These departments are further splintered into functional roles. Folks go to work day in and day out with a functional auction to achieve. Anything outside of that is scary... that's called change. 

But what's missing in this model, if we go back to Bucky, is the ownership of a holistic view. Sure there are CEO manifestos and mission statements, but at what point do those come to life? The holistic point of view should come to life at each functional level using specialization as an asset for a higher purpose not as a prison or human-powered machine.

This will not only give organizations a competitive advantage in the rapidly changing business environment, but also add value to the broader of society.

CEOs need to become the Great Pirates of our companies and organizations. Setting a course for the reality of our businesses and a purpose for all the humanity it touches.

There is too much specialization in our world. We need more Great Pirates.

Paul MiserComment