When in Warsaw recently I was talking to one of my clients about what the organisational model of the future might look like. It is clear that we are becoming more interconnected economically, something the current financial crisis is highlighting, and that we are learning how to manage this local and global world that we live in. The internet has allowed us to conduct business in a more connected or networked way and there seems to be an increase in people working in a more independent relationship to organisations. People no longer have the loyalty to organisations that used to prevail. Instead they are loyal to their own development and to their particular skills, talents or needs and this journey is central rather than the job or organisation as used to be the case. Indeed organisations are less loyal to individuals if they no longer require their skills or talents. Organisations are also increasingly shedding the need to be master of all skills and instead hiring other firms to provide services that are not their core ability. The large global law firms now have “best friend” relationships with local firms in jurisdictions where they cannot practice. Out sourcing is a regular part of business life and my own experience is that free lance consultants form an increasing part of the marketplace. Organisations are realising that they do not need such a tightly controlled relationship with individuals so there is an increase in interim working, flexible working etc. Also individuals work often from home or across different countries. This does not apply only to those in more privileged jobs but across the spectrum; for example Taxi drivers now regularly hire their car on a lease from a company which specialises in maintaining the car and will provide a new one if your current one needs work, thus even this is fragmented and specialised and taxi drivers are often part of federated syndicates which provide some independence but the value of a network.
Where is all this heading? I am looking at the new age of Aquarius-Leo (cf. The Golden City by MC Philp) and realising it is about this very phenomenon of how we arrange the relationship between individual talent and the broader group or global society. Europe is wrestling with this question; how do you network a group of individual countries together to the benefit of each of the individual countries? Sadly, I’m not sure it is working because it is trying to go for the Aquarian end of the spectrum and Leo is popping up as the shadow, with each individual nation state secretly looking to its individual interests.
What occurred to me when I thought about this new networked world of linking individual talents is that Life is already designed this way. Each of us has a unique contribution that we are making as an individual to the collective society and its evolution. Perhaps with the advent of the age of Aquarius-Leo this will stop operating unconsciously and we will become more conscious of it so we will actively look to work out how we bring out the talents of the individual and network them into the collective.
Reflecting on this, I realised it very much reflected what I am trying to do in terms of schooling. How do we move away from the model of restrictive school institutions to a more virtual, networked relationship to schooling where each individual can flourish and develop their unique talents? When I worked in Islington Local Education Authority, I ran into trouble because I was unhappy with the measurement system. I was told that since I was on secondment from business I should be happy with measurement and that the point of the measurement was to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds. I pointed out that I wasn’t against measurement but rather against narrow measurement which distorted things. If they could measure the value for me of kindness, friendship, modesty etc. then I was very happy to measure but if it is was only a narrow set of criteria like academic subjects then the effect of measurement was not to help children but rather to cement their sense of failure and rejection. I wanted everyone celebrated for who they uniquely were.
I wonder if this age of Leo-Aquarius is the seed point for a collective consciousness where we begin to see the workings of Life and how it is organising us and the world and we have the opportunity to work more consciously with this. Certainly Chrissy Philp’s work on the model of the brain suggests so. We are beginning to get a glimpse of the programme which is embedded in our brains.
I also wonder, as we move from a feminine age to a masculine age, whether we are beginning to shift away from the material to the intangible or creative. It is like we have exhausted for now the possibilities of the tangible and its promise that we will understand the world and everything by breaking it down into its smallest components and now we need something more. Business is shifting away from simply manufactuing goods to looking at brand, value, social networking, software as being the currency. Indeed organisations like Wikipedia which is supported entirely by voluntary contributions have grown up. I also notice that individuals are spending more and more of their personal money on those things which contribute to their individual growth – physical activities like yoga, self-development programmes and activities, education etc. in a way which is unprecedented. I don’t suppose we will ever escape the need for physical resources but one could envisage a society of the future where our knowledge, wisdom and understanding represent our main currency and wealth.
At the moment the pursuit of money is dominant in society and even noble actions for our collective benefit need to be justified in the name of making money – “We should do charitable work, because it’s a good thing and it will raise our profile in the community, our market presence and revenue”. In a conversation with my friend Steve, he pointed out that one of the UK’s biggest businesses he was working with was putting major pressure on suppliers to cut their rates because it was having such a bad year. What came out was that the bad year was still going to be 2% better than last year which was 14% better than the year before. The reason it was seen as such a bad year was that it was so far behind the budget. My friend Steve wondered why nobody was questioning whether the budget was at fault rather than the performance of the business? I think the current economic crisis is really a re-adjustment. It is the exhaustion of money as the object – a disease which has been allowed to run its course. We are all complicit in this, yet I wonder what is behind this disease? It is taken for granted that money is the purpose of any business activity and we are all busy trying to manipulate and sell to each other. We all recognise that we would not want others to treat us this way and would be horrified by it yet we all subscribe to the importance of marketing, selling and getting the best price we can. If there is just us, then manipulating and selling and marketing is manipulating ourselves. What if, we conducted business as if everyone we were interacting with was our best friend? The current crisis is very much about this. Everyone has been trying to make money out of everyone else and now the losers like Greece, Ireland and Italy are going to cause everyone to lo