Our Battle (Just some thoughts on what is changing and why)

I connected some random thoughts and I would love to know your opinion.


We think we are very modern and enlightened. And this might be true to a certain extend, but in many ways we are stuck in the eighteen hundreds. We are only now leaving the industrial revolution behind us. And in this period we designed the organizational systems we are now struggling with. All large companies and organizations where based on exploitation of people and/or resources... and they still are.

In "the West" people have experienced a very long period without any plaques, hunger and wars. People have been educated and have more free time than ever before. This has allowed us to develop a common and widely shared vision on what life should be like, what we are entitled to, what is fairness, honesty, freedom and how we should govern ourselves.

This vision obviously collides with the way businesses treat us and the planet we live on. We don't accept the way organizations threat us, lie to us in advertisements, poison us if there are no laws stoping them. We don't like how managers earn stupendous amounts of money but are too ignorant to give their customers good service or even acceptable service…. or service at all… and coincidentaly traditional resources are disappearing. Any way you look at it, we hit rock-bottom.

But our systems and the incentives money, influence, power, status-quo are still in place and still dictate the way organizations and the people working in organizations behave.

The new are will be one where new incentives, values, will have to start replacing the old ones. I think this is the battle we are fighting now. What do you think?

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Comment by José António Baldaia on September 13, 2011 at 13:21


It is very interesting this discussion in a principle of the century in which several generations seek to collaborate and at the same time confronting themselves.

Although for many people the values are what is recognized by the surrounding society as something positive, for me the values are what guides me and that I wanted my children to follow. But this may not necessarily be the best perspective. 

The values such as honesty, freedom, respect, compassion, altruism, etc. are in their core common to any "society" or generation; however they seem to have a different meaning according to the context in which they lived.

Marco van Hout question what did the baby boomers and why they were gone for comfort leaving behind the ideals, and I, being one of them, looking back I see a battle which was won but not the war. It was the context that gave visibility to those ideals. This war continues but with fewer warriors.


Businesses are beginning to wake up slowly to the implementation of actions with meaning and purpose but still very slowly. The values in the newer generations are still submerged in exaggerated consumerism and in the absence of social sense that only really visible at the level of small communities.


I think this war or, this battle in the war of values, will pick up WINS as the convergence of values between generations in various cultures for converging.

The rewards for the work or for which is done have now a significantly different approach at the level of recognition of individuals as part of the organizations, but still is money the differentiator. I don't disagree with the financial reward as a way to distinguish the effort of each one, but I disagree with how these evaluation criteria are defined and applied.

Perhaps consumers or users end up being drivers and a new policy of reward rather than corporate shareholders or stock players!

At least that's where I hope to participate! :-)


Comment by Marco van Hout on September 13, 2011 at 11:12
I think it is an interesting discussion Arne. I think the battle was already partly fought by another generation, in the Sixties. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see that many of those people have again conformed themselves to fit in the existing profit and power oriented world. It will be interesting to see what happened, why they moved away from their ideals (to a certain extend) and how we can learn from that. I think we have come a long way already if you compare organizations to the ones in let's say the Fifties. Nevertheless, it could also be that it is human nature to compete, and no matter what the incentives or values, they will tilt towards competition, power and influence. But hey, I don't want to be negative, so of course I am agreeing with you that this battle should be fought and won! ;-)
Comment by Sara Coene on September 13, 2011 at 10:49


This is exactly the battle we are fighting today. Existing organizations are struggling with this, some still ignorant about what's happening, some searching and some already in changing mode. It will take a lot of effort and paradigm shifts from leaders in each area of business & governments to deal with this. A bit of cleaning here and there won't be sufficient anymore.

We'll need some great examples coming in the first place from new companies, who can more easily design their business taking into account all modern insights and technologies and who can choose who they hire & how they collaborate.

It will probably and unfortunately also take a few more economical crises and recessions before we get there.

But at the same time we'll need many people who see the broader picture and have lots of positive energy, balanced values & beliefs for better businesses, better services, better collaboration, ...



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